Statistically, the first Monday after January 1st is the worst day of the year. It’s the first day of the first full work week of 2014. Many are digging out of an extended holiday bender that has fully set into a luscious hangover. But Kori and I are fortunate that our heads are mainly buzzing from the exciting ‘Chups developments during the last weeks of 2013.
After receiving our business license almost exactly one year ago, we’ve experienced 12 months of growth that felt, at times, hectic, glacial, exciting, stressful, and sometimes even successful. All of it encompassed by realizing just how huge the gap is between a good idea and a viable product. But without the work we did over the previous 12 months, we wouldn’t have been prepared for the third week of December:
Monday 12/15: We received an email from a friend who is an editor at very well-respected food publication. We’d sent the magazine staff a sample pack of ‘Chups to try sometime in November and fortunately they liked ‘Chups enough to want to feature them in an upcoming issue. This news was almost wholly unexpected. Of course we were thrilled for ‘Chups to even be considered by such an influential magazine. We let this euphoria persist for several minutes before realizing how much work is left to be done.
Tuesday 12/16: Kori and I attended the Fenway Strategies holiday party at Jack Rose in Adams Morgan. Halfway through I noticed one of our major inspirations, José Andrés, holding court with a number of attendees. As the party died down, I introduced myself and Kori and we explained our ‘Chups business to him. A twenty minute conversation ensued, in which we talked ketchup, branding, and the reasons behind our pursuits. We left him with the last ‘Chups business card in my wallet and an amazing story to tell our friends and family.
Wednesday 12/17: We woke up pinching ourselves, remembering details from the previous night. A short time later Mr. Andrés’s assistant followed up with us requesting some samples of ‘Chups. (Our collective dream had actually happened!) Kori replied and made plans to bring them by their offices at the end of the week.
Thursday 12/18: No big deal, I just spent the evening making several fresh batches of our homemade fruit ketchups for José Andrés to try. Wait, what?
Friday 12/19: Kori delivered six of our ‘Chups varieties (Cherry, Peach, Mango, Blueberry, Plum, and Cranberry) to the Think Food Group offices in downtown DC. Instead of dropping them off, she was invited up to the offices to see the team in action. Mr. Andrés met with her for 20 minutes, poured over several original early-American cookbooks with different ketchup recipes, and finally sampled them himself. (Fortunately I wasn’t there, or else I would still be recovering from my coronary.) Thankfully he enjoyed them and brought his executive chef over to meet Kori. They made tentative plans to have a team tasting before Kori departed.
The events of this week put us on a great trajectory going into 2014. As we set to launch our Kickstarter campaign on the 15th, we are so excited to share with the world our passionate mission for influencing the ketchup market and bringing a new food product to your tables.
One year ago I would never have guessed we could progress so far in 12 months. Many people work years to gain that kind of exposure and interest from such influential people. We were thankful to have been prepared to handle such a week, but no small amount of luck and serendipity was on our side. I almost felt compensated for not having won the $650 million Mega Millions drawing that week.
Please get ready to blast your friends and family with our Kickstarter link, and sorry ahead of time for bombarding you with requests to share. But won’t it be really cool to say you were an early adopter when ‘Chups is being served in every McDonald’s?! (Hey, they need a new ketchup provider!) Dream big, right?