My First Year Of Business: Stoke the Fire Hot Sauce
Welcome back to part 4 of our series!
Sarah and Stu, owners of the locally made hot sauce we know and love (and can’t get enough of), share some insights on their business journey.
The Beginning of Stoke the Fire Hot Sauce
Sarah and Stu started their business as an effort to increase food security and bring celebration to the local food community in Revelstoke. They started out doing this through the annual Garlic Festival. For those who have been, the mention of this festival probably brings back memories of trying snacks from local food vendors, swaying to live music, and shopping the front yard market.
Somewhere through the years, Stu became fascinated with growing super hot peppers. The only natural next step? Creating a line of seed-to-bottle hot sauces. So in 2021, after over seven years as Track Street Growers, Sarah and Stu decided to rebrand as Stoke the Fire Hot Sauce. The intention of this rebrand was to highlight their hot sauce line and since doing this, the business has really started to heat up.
When changing over to Stoke the Fire, Sarah and Stu searched for and attended every available digital business workshop possible. Additionally, they worked closely with a Basin Business Advisors mentor to dial in the cost of goods and production. Both Sarah and Stu found that learning from a mentor who is well versed in agricultural/food business has been vital to the success of their business. It was essential to understand the unique setup in seed-to-bottle food manufacturing and they feel lucky to have found a mentor available to share the process with them.
Moving Into Wholesale
The community of Revelstoke has been significant support in Stoke the Fire’s transition into wholesale. The community has been incredibly supportive and has given Sarah and Stu the momentum to move outwards from one of their strongest sales channels – the local farmer’s market. When moving into wholesale, Sarah and Stu found it a smooth and natural adjustment because of their focus on the community, brand-building, and the love of value-added agriculture.
Tracking Inventory for Stoke the Fire
After moving into wholesale, Sarah and Stu found themselves getting even more familiar with the workings of their company.
Learning to track inventory is a learning curve all businesses go through at some point. When starting out, Sarah and Stu jumped in and let the learning come as the business progressed. They had been doing market research for a few years under the scope of the Garlic Festival, so they had an idea of how the inventory would move. Basically, getting the business up and running was the priority and figuring out how to track it came secondary.
However, over the last year-and-a-half, Sarah has taken advantage of any resources she could find to crack down on inventory management. Sarah’s background in art makes her new to the business world and encourages her to hone in on learning how a business runs. Inventory is found in every step of the process, meaning Sarah is constantly finding a new level to track and organize it. Inventory is tied into one comprehensive food safety system for a small food manufacturing business – it’s not just about what sits on the shelf or market booth.
Luckily, with organizational help from Sync Accounting, Sarah feels she has space to keep developing her business skills. After all, there is always something to learn when talking about the finer points of inventory.
Creating a Community
The pair are constantly learning about their business and working hard to continue to help it run smoothly. As Stoke the Fire grows, Sarah and Stu are dedicated to forming meaningful and secure partnerships with local farms and solid relationships with fellow growers. “Knowing where your food comes from” is a primary driver in their company vision, and they take this value seriously. Sarah and Stu hope this train of thought becomes more commonplace throughout the food manufacturing industry as we navigate the changes in our world.
Want to taste this sustainable and fire-y hot sauce for yourself? Head to their web page or find their bottles in various shops around Revelstoke and the surrounding area.
If you have questions about inventory or just want to stop by and chat, we’re here to help you find answers.