Written by Cooper's Small Batch Founders John and Michelle
Cooper’s Small Batch (CSB) was founded by Chef John and Michelle Davidson, husband and wife team. Their journey began in 2007, opening a successful restaurant in Denver, CO. The hotspot delighted foodies with homemade New York style bagels, paninis, salads, and the ever-theatrical liquid nitrogen ice cream. The restaurant was beloved by locals and tourists alike.
As the restaurant thrived, Cooper’s Small Batch was developed out of necessity; Chef John struggled to find food-friendly sauces to complement the menu. He found that typical hot sauces had overwhelming notes of vinegar, high percentage of salt content or too spicy that just a couple drops burnt the palate. That’s when John took to the kitchen and Cooper’s Small Batch-named after their son was born.
In the beginning, CSB was exclusively sold and enjoyed by customers at their restaurant and at farmers markets more as a hobby to save for their children’s college fund. In 2017, Michelle took a hard look at her career path in the corporate world of sales/marketing, and decided it was time to take a leap of faith and convince John to start their own business together and bring the hot sauce that customers loved at the restaurant to the market as a gourmet giftable condiment company.
In 2018, Cooper’s Small Batch was rebranded, keeping in mind that with so many hot sauces companies on the market, thought must be emphasized on three (3) factors to launch their hot sauce.
- Packaging to engage consumers with hand touched elements strategically designed to help serve as a silent salesman.
- Bold and unapologetic flavor profiles to set themselves apart from other brands in the market. Such as, their white-hot sauce Leche Diablesa made with Coconut Milk.
- Putting emphasis on a Food-Focused. Flavor-Driven product--Chef created with depths of flavor + spice to compliment a dish not overwhelm the palate.
John and Michelle’s voyage does not come without daily challenges; labeling mistakes, expensive equipment, scaling facility space, partnering with retailers, discovering new distribution channels, learning how to be successful on the E-commerce platform and using social media to drive online business. Each challenge tests their patience, grit and entrepreneurial spirit.
Our advice to hobbyists who’d like to scale up; do it organically, slow and steady wins the race. Don’t give away the house to make deals happen. Expect to be paid what your product is worth. In the beginning hiccups will happen. Get your product in front of the people, such as farmers markets, festivals, consumer feedback is real value. Try to nail down a recipe but be willing to change it if the need arises. Believe in your brand and commit 100% to build your empire your way!
This year (2020) Cooper’s Small Batch has won several awards for their hot sauce. John and Michelle are very proud and humbled to receive recognition among the spicy community. They show no signs of slowing down; focusing on servicing current customers with exceptional customer support, innovating flavor-driven products, and strategically partnering with like-minded customers across the US.