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Community Highlights: Meet Eric Smith of Little House of Tempeh

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eric Smith.

Hi Eric, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Tempeh is a food that I can easily trace back to the first time I tried it. It was about 18 years ago, and it was a tempeh Reuben sandwich. I loved it and incorporated it into my cooking for years before fully digging in and learning more about what tempeh is, and what the process of making it from scratch is like. I made my first batch of fresh tempeh sometime around 2015 and the difference between that batch and what I was used to purchasing at the store was amazing.

After many numerous homemade batches and some gentle encouragement from family and friends, I launched Little House of Tempeh in 2020. It’s been a wild ride so far, and we are enormously thankful to be where we are. We have connected with so many incredibly inspiring businesses and shared our product with so many amazing customers. We can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
As smooth as the road sometimes seems, there will always be the inevitable bump that leaves you wondering “what did I just run over?”. Owning business forces you outside of your scope of knowledge often, ensuring that once you think you’ve expanded that scope to its limit, you’ll need to make a little more room for something else.

I do see great value in that. It can sometimes be a challenge to know where to give your time when so much requires attention. Licensing, taxes, deliveries, travel, sales, marketing, social media, accounting, inventory… and oh yeah, making the tempeh is important too. I think the allocation of time and energy is where I have struggled most. Always a student!

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Little House of Tempeh?
Little House of Tempeh specializes in fresh, unpasteurized tempeh made with all organic ingredients. We main thing that differentiates us from what folks might be used to out of tempeh is that we make our tempeh using different beans and seeds rather than just soybeans. There is a bounty of reasons why we see this as beneficial.

From the customer’s perspective, it offers a fresh take on a classic product. More and more we are seeing people with soy allergies/intolerances, or just simply trying to cut down a little bit on their soy intake. We see our product as a little more inclusive. Beyond that, it allows us to be a little more creative!

We get to experiment with various flavors and textures, which keeps things interesting. We have narrowed down the few varieties our customers seem to like the best, though we will always continue experimenting! We have a lot of fun new things in the works for the new year and cannot wait to share.

Networking and finding a mentor can positively impact one’s life and career. Any advice?
There is no limit to the importance of having people in your corner. I am fortunate to have several close friends who own successful businesses and are happy to bounce ideas back and forth. I look up to these people this way, and I think it has helped me grow a lot on my journey.

Networking is so valuable, but it can also be exhausting. You never really know who you may meet/be talking to. When it comes to networking, as long as you approach it honestly and do what feels natural, then you can’t go wrong.

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