After the 12 days of Christmas, my hometown New Orleans celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th) as the first day of Carnival season. I had my own epiphany about a year ago and couldn't think of a better date to launch our Kickstarter funding campaign for our “bayou” hot sauce recipes.
Thanks to all of our Kickstarter Backers, we hit our target funding goal of $25,000 just 15 days later — on January 22nd, “National Hot Sauce Day”. What an auspicious day to announce that our four “Bayou” hot sauces will be manufactured.
What did you notice about your backers? What are they looking for in your hot sauces?
Our backers range from brazen “chiliheads”, hot sauce collectors, and fiery food fanatics to those folks that don’t even particularly crave hot sauce (at least as they know it). The common ground is that people are connecting with the authenticity and uniqueness of the Bayou Gotham® brand, the story behind it, and the passion put forth in bringing it to the masses. It’s truly a culinary quest filled with “heat ‘n’ soul”, and they all jumped along for the ride.
Was any geographic area particularly tied to your backers?
The regions of Louisiana and New York City make up a solid majority of our backers as expected. However, there’s great interest across the United States as a whole — with backers spanning from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon… from South Florida to Southern California and every state in between. We’ve also struck a chord internationally abroad with backers from Aruba, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom.
What pledge and (reward) was the most popular?
The most popular reward is the “Bayou Multipack”, and it’s not even close. 46% of our backers chose this reward which gets them “the sauce and nothing but the sauce”. They will receive all four of our “Bayou” hot sauces with a pledge of $40 or more, plus $10 shipping.
Can people still “back” you on Kickstarter?
Not at this time. Our first kickstarter campaign ended on February 10, 2020.
What are the next steps, what will you do with the funds raised?
Under Kickstarter’s guidance, I carefully set our funding goal to $25,000 which is the bare minimum needed to manufacture the first four sauces — the “Bayou” sauces. The allocation of our funding goes like this:
• 75% — Product Manufacturing & Label Printing
• 12.5% — Kickstarter’s Fee (5%), Stripe Credit Card Fee (3%), US / NY State / NYC taxes (4.5%)
• 10% — Shipping & Fulfillment expenses
• 2.5% — Merchandise included in the Backer Rewards (t-shirts, books, stickers, etc)
We were overfunded by 31%, which will be a good thing, but it doesn’t mean we turn a profit. It means more “Bayou” sauces to manufacture, more merchandise (such as t-shirts and recipe books) to make, more fulfillment and shipping costs, and more fees and taxes to pay. Money that is left over will go toward building better shipping boxes for the four-packs and will allow us to get an early jumpstart on the research and development of the “Gotham” hot sauces — four fiery flavors showcasing the NYC neighborhoods I’ve called home.
What do you see in the near future?
We’ve placed the order for our first manufacturing run and also the printing run of our unique labels. That will be followed by the fulfillment of the backer rewards. The labels will be printed in February. Product Manufacturing will happen in mid-late March. We should conclude fulfilling backer rewards in April and May.
Will you have an online store? How will consumers be able to get your hot sauces?
Yes. We will begin taking orders for Bayou Gotham® hot sauces and merchandise after we fulfill all of our obligations to our Kickstarter Backers. We would not be able to launch this brand without their incredible enthusiasm and generous support, so they are first priority. If you’re anxious to get your hands on our hot sauces, please join our Kickstarter campaign! Otherwise, you’ll have to wait a just a little bit longer to purchase them online.
What other plans do you have for Bayou Gotham Hot Sauces?
Aside from the additional four “Gotham” hot sauces and other various product extensions — we’re planning to get our products into national distribution and available on hot sauce enthusiast websites. We will then seek opportunities for them in the food and hot sauce expos, various festivals, regional grocery store chains, international and specialty markets, restaurants, and wherever there is a demand for our delicious products. As a side passion-project, I’m developing a podcast called “Heat ‘n’ Soul with Scotty Peppers” where I’ll be discussing all things fun and spicy with featured guests.
Who do you want to thank?
I’d like to thank my wife Christy who has given me love, support, and grace throughout this journey. Her encouragement and patience shine most radiant during the times when I’m overwhelmingly engulfed in unreasonable doubt. I want to thank my family members and friends who’ve also shown incredible enthusiasm from the beginning — always offering feedback and advice — and constantly creating invaluable connections with those that can assist me in this process. I want to thank all of the Kickstarter Backers, especially the ones that helped us reach our goal so quickly. And lastly, I’d like to thank my grandparents Mike and Virginia Bellina and Roger and Carmelite Baumer. Their enduring legacies and entrepreneurial spirits have been passed down for generations in my family. I know they are proud of my accomplishments, so making hot sauce with fresh ingredients is my way of showing the world how proud I am of them.