I’m always asking customers and non-customers what they’d like to see from Gnarly Pepper. The feedback is honest, and it saves a lot of time in the end when trying to develop the next best thing.
Gnarly Pepper owner, Sara Gotch decided to leap into the entrepreneurial world after a few trips outside the country. Her love for travel and food became more apparent, and she followed her heart. With her background in Graphic Design, her creative advantage rose to the occasion within her food blending/chemistry formulations through Gnarly Pepper. She also runs a small freelance graphic design company called LOVOTO. Sara’s flexibility to travel and be available for clients is what attracts her the most on her journey. Sara is involved in her local Siouxland Chamber of Commerce and is an active member in the young professional group; Sioux City Growth Organization. Sara and her fiancé Zach, currently travel the US with his job as a cardiac sonographer. From east to west coast, Sara is able to pump and promote her products to new area locations every 10-13 weeks. Sara is an outgoing woman that strives to be a role model for other startups. Being apart of an entrepreneurial community alongside food networking organizations, Sara has made some strong contacts and mentors that will sincerely help keep her on track for her much intended global, grocery success.
Where did the idea for Gnarly Pepper come from?
Being a condiment lover, a Greek yogurt junkie, alongside the craving of an amazing tuna salad… The realization of how much Mayonnaise was needed to make a tuna salad, chicken salad, pasta salad etc… kind of broke my brain. The question rose: What if we could have the same great taste of Mayo, but not all the calories — The Like Mayo formulation was born — in pairing it with plain Greek yogurt. Veggie Dip and Onion Dip were added as a retail realm, and all three combined mimic Ranch.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day depends on what hat I’m wearing that day. Being the owner of Gnarly Pepper, I handle all book keeping, social media, design, sales etc. I usually start the day off with filtering stores/ shops to call for wholesale. I interact with at least 20 accounts on Instagram/ Facebook about our products being the better alternative. I swift through recipes and see how I can incorporate Gnalry Pepper products to make it healthier/ gluten free or vegan.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Bringing ideas to life has a lot to do with chatting and networking to make that idea a reality. Whether starting out or with new ideas you want to incorporate in the company, speaking and getting feedback from your mentors, customers etc, is always the best first step to bring that idea to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Being in the food business, the diet trends excite me the most — currently the keto diet. Also, a trend in the food market space is really booming — many grocery stores now offer an experience, meals and drinks — not just a purchase and leave mentality.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit I have is universal intelligence. I visualize, on probably and hourly bases, of where I see my company going and imagining its success. In return, to reach those goals, it gives me more confidence for the cold calls, the email blasts etc…
What advice would you give your younger self?
If you’re waiting, you’re losing. Never trust that people will reply in a timely manner, move on and get ALL the contacts to a related issue/need, if they reply eventually, great — but now you have a database full for what you’re needing. The waiting game is real, and it super sucks.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Truth: You don’t need a part-time job. Nobody could understand how I quit my job and went full force into my company. Money is super tight, and I am fortunate to have a bit in savings (planned) alongside a fiancé that is supportive, but having others tell you, “That’s great, but you need like a job…” You do, your company. If you veer away, you might lose sight of your goals.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Customer discoveries. I’m always asking customers and non-customers what they’d like to see from Gnarly Pepper. The feedback is honest, and it saves a lot of time in the end when trying to develop the next best thing (maybe even tied into trends) — and the best part is, most people LOVEEEE to talk. 🙂
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Customer discoveries, not to repeat this too much, but with this strategy, I am able to understand what my customers want for a preferred product size, flavors etc.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Researching costs of manufacturing. I overcame it by sticking to my guns on not lowering my unit costs and staying on the higher end of grocery. For a future order, I plan to make some changes — only to better the company for years to come.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Plastic Alternative company — new, eco-friendly ways for any and all plastic items.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Google Home — While I’m working, I can ask spelling questions, locations, phone numbers, etc REALLLLLY fast.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Quickbooks Online — I make notes on last sales, do recalls every 3 months or so and it tracks all invoices. My brain would explode if that was all paper trail.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T.Harv Eker —> if you want to be a millionaire or not, it gives great insight on the ‘universal intelligence’ — If you want to make your business successful, you have to THINK and KNOW you deserve it.
What is your favorite quote?
“It’s impossible,” said pride. “It’s risky,” said experience. “It’s pointless,” said reason. “Give it a try,” whispered the Heart. — Unknown
• If you’re waiting, you’re losing. — Don’t wait for others to reply while you’re reaching certain goals.
• Conduct customer discoveries on a monthly basis — Learn from your customers/clients. Get the best rounded idea before you even dive into it.
• For product based companies, interact with other brands and hashtags — creating a community provides a network of followers and buyers. Promoting alone is a longer road.
Gnarly Pepper on Instagram: @gnarlypepper
Gnarly Pepper on Facebook:
SARA GOTCH on LinkedIN:
Gnarly Pepper on Twitter: @gnarly_pepper
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.