Interview with Sarah, Founder of Marshall’s Haute Sauce
Interview with Sarah,
Founder of Marshall’s Haute Sauce
Interview by Terra Olsen
Tell me about yourself.
I am a true canning nerd. I love food, farmers markets, and preserving things the old-fashioned way. I have always loved small businesses, farmers, and local products. It feels like it was destined for me to start this company. I put everything I love into my bottles, and bring them to the people. I am also part of a canning club called Portland Preservation Society, which meets monthly to exchange canned goods.
Tell me about your company.
Marshall’s Haute Sauce is a company based on commitment to high-end local products. Our sauces are unique and we use as many local products as we can. It’s truly based on preserving local food; this is unique for a sauce company, since sauces today are mass-produced using processed ingredients and additives. We use vinegar and fresh citrus to preserve them. We have met some amazing farmers this year who grow peppers especially for us and many times pick them that morning. When you witness the love and care that goes into growing that produce, making it taste good is easy.
Where did the idea for Marshall’s Haute Sauce come from?
I grew up on a hippie commune called Stump Acres. I learned how to can and preserve food from my Mom. I was raised to believe in the ‘garden to plate’ process and have continued it in my adult life. My husband came up with the name and has continued to inspire and support the business in every way. We make small unique special edition sauces based on local and home availability. We strive to produce a delicious unique product that we can share with others.
What inspired you to start Marshall’s Haute Sauce?
I had been doing social work for eight years. Canning and preserving food became my stress release; I would come home from really tough days and spend time in the garden and kitchen. I managed group homes until I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had developed a few sauce recipes that people were really into and decided to give it a go.
How did you go about starting the company?
I took some business classes at a local non-profit while at the same time taking an online course to get licensed to bottle products. When I started all I really had were recipes and a vision of my branding. I formulated a plan and luckily have some amazing and talented friends and family who helped me put it into place. We just had our one-year anniversary, and so much has happened in this first year. We were hoping to be in a couple of stores and maybe get into farmers markets. We are now in over 30 stores and have been a part of 5 different farmers markets this season.
What has been your biggest challenge (and/or sacrifice)?
My biggest challenge has been keeping up with demand. It’s tough when you have a small business because my husband and I really do EVERYTHING. We select the produce, wash it, prep it, bottle it, hand stamp the labels, put the labels on, box them up, deliver them, and sell them. That is a lot for two people to do. The sacrifice is time—our lives have become sauce, from the time I wake up until I go to bed which is usually around 3 am.
What top three skills do you think an entrepreneur needs to be successful?
Commitment, dedication, and love. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love it. I am happiest when someone tastes one of my sauces and declares it “the best.” Starting and running this business has become all consuming, but I am committed and get excited about each new challenge.
Where do you want to take Marshall’s Haute sauce in the future?
I want to keep putting out a great product for people to enjoy. I need to figure out a way to produce more products without changing the quality of the sauce. I would like to open a storefront with a production space in the back.
What advice would you give to other aspiring lady entrepreneurs?
I think a lot of people have ideas but they see too many obstacles. My advice is to come up with a plan and just do it. Take each challenge on, one at a time. Anytime someone comes up to me at a market and says they want to start a business I give them my card and tell them to ask me any questions. It’s tough to figure it all out, but totally worth it.
Have you or someone you know started a business that we should feature on HYN? If so, please contact Terra at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about them.