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Julz Creations Story

Written by Julz Creations Owner Julie Singer 

Hello, I’m Julie (or Julz if you prefer the casual. I do.).  In the summer of 2019, I finally completed all of the paperwork to sell my hot sauces commercially as Julz’s Creations, LLC.  It’s been a busy summer and fall and I’m still learning as I go!

I should back up a bit and give you my background. I’m originally from the Midwest and growing up, all we really focused on growing was tomatoes.  Once I got to grad school and a real house, I started a bigger backyard garden, expanding beyond tomatoes, to cucumbers, squash, corn, herbs, and peppers.  I got my MA and PhD in Social Psychology at this time, so gardening became a nice reprieve from the stress.

After grad school, I moved to Durham, North Carolina, and again planted a big garden. I soon became overrun with hot peppers. I had more than I knew what to do with.  I started making hot sauces (and then pickles, jams, mustard…etc.) for friends and family as Christmas presents.  I kept hearing how good everything tasted and how I should sell it.  But…I knew it was a lot of work to do this commercially (and I underestimated this amount!) so I put it off. 

I worked in program evaluation in the criminal justice world and was still busy with this day job.  But then…circumstances changed.  I suddenly had no day job.  I tried pursuing consulting, but this is a finicky field. So I started looking into manufacturing hot sauces and pickles for real. And thus the new stressful journey began!

I grew up as a hot sauce wimp, but in my 20s and 30s have become quite the aficionado.  Our go-to hot condiments at home are Sriracha, El Yucateco green habanero (what we just call “the green stuff”) and Sichuan chili flakes when we make spicy Sichuan Chinese and want to numb our tongues.  Of course, we have numerous other bottles for different occasions, and my husband still gravitates toward the super hots more than me.

I’ve been to hot sauce stores and tried several different kinds of hot sauces (and extracts) and my number one pet peeve is this: sauces that only exist to pound on your tongue with a sledgehammer.  No other flavor, nothing else going on. Just straight pain.  My number one priority in making my own hot sauces was to give them some depth of flavor, something that will complement your food and make it tastier.  And my feedback so far has been just that:  people say, yeah, this is spicy, but it’s got good flavor.  That comment makes me so happy.

Beyond wanting great flavor, I wanted to utilize North Carolina produce in my products as much as I can.  There are so many great farms and farmers in my area that I want to support. This limits me seasonally, but luckily in the southeast the growing season is a bit longer than the Midwest.

I’m still learning as I go and hopefully learning from my mistakes but am excited to be an entrepreneur.  My community in Durham is so supportive of us small businesses starting out and succeeding. 

Social - @JulzCreations
Durham, North Carolina
Sarah Marshall, a born and raised Oregonian, creates an array of handmade hot sauces that reflect her deep connection to her home. Sarah and her husband Dirk have been making and selling spicy sauces in Portland, Oregon since 2011. Hear their story on the Craft Hot Sauce Podcast.
About 12 years ago I became interested in growing food for myself and my wife. I convinced our building manager in Bronxville, New York to let me install some raised beds in the outdoor common areas. After a few successful seasons growing vegetables, I saw that one of the crops that lingered into the Fall in the Northeast was chilies.
Left Lane Pepper Company is a car- and driving-themed brand parked at the intersection of hot sauce lovers and car enthusiasts. Story written by co-owners Bernadette “Bernie” Domingo and John Stech, both based in New York City. 

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