NCDA&CS food business specialist Annette Dunlap offers resources that agribusiness owners and food entrepreneurs can use to grow and manage their business. Annette is available for free one-on-one consultations and can assist business owners with financial and market planning through the agribusiness development section. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this interview, Annette talks with Kissie Stroup, owner of Little Black Dressing Co. The company, based in High Point, produces four flavors of salad dressings using recipes from Stroup’s grandmother. In the video, Stroup talks about launching her company and the challenges of being in a competitive food-business category.
When Stroup started Little Black Dressing Co. in 2010, she visited restaurants and specialty stores to sell her product. In 2014, Little Black Dressing Co. was one of a selected group of N.C. companies to be featured at the U.S. Open in Pinehurst. Stroup said that opportunity gave her product validity with larger grocery stores.
“I think most grocery stores may like your product, like the taste, but they don’t know whether to pick you up because they don’t know your longevity. For them to put you in their SKU and set you up in their store, they want to make sure you’re here forever,” said Stroup.
Since the tournament, Little Black Dressing Co. has continued to add stores to its lineup. This year, the company plans to expand slowly into other markets. But, Stroup doesn’t want to lose sight of providing a quality product to her existing customers.
“If they give me a chance to go in their grocery store, I feel like I’m an employee of theirs, and that I have to give back as much or more to make them proud of picking me,” she said.
You can learn more about Little Black Dressing Co. at littleblackdressingco.com. And, if you’re interested in learning how to get your product to market, check out the upcoming Food Business Conference in Burlington on April 7. The conference offers workshops and panel discussions from food-business professionals. Registration is due March 26.