We are thrilled to be connecting with Kelly Schexnaildre again. Kelly is the owner of Merfs Condiments and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Kelly below.
Kelly, it’s been too long since we last connected. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with our community again. Some readers might have missed our prior conversations, so maybe you can kick things off for us with a quick intro?
I was born and raised in South Louisiana, and I started cooking at 8 years of age. I have always had a passion for exceptional food, and all the experience and community it offers. I relocated to Denver, Colorado in May 2010, and I am an avid gardener who uses fresh, organic, and local ingredients in all my dishes whenever possible. I started making condiments about 8 years ago, and through experimentation and creativity, discovered that I love it. My idea for Merfs Condiments came to fruition in January 2014, and Merfs’ current line-up consists of 8 different hot sauces ranging in flavor from fruity and mildly spicy to savory and extremely spicy. The goal is to continue to offer condiments that are affordable and made from fresh, quality ingredients. Keep a lookout for some new sauces dropping in late 2021!
You were recently certified as a Primal Health Coach. What does that mean and why did you pursue this certification?
In January 2019, I was the heaviest I’d ever been, and feeling sick and tired all time. I had finally reached a health bottom, and it was time for a total lifestyle transformation. I discovered Primal Blueprint through my brother, Tom, and we embarked on a journey to change our lives. Primal Blueprint is a modified Paleo diet; it consists of eating only meats, vegetables, low glycemic fruit, and healthy fats. I have lost over 20 pounds and 3 pants sizes. I have completely cured my asthma, endometriosis, and all the little aches and pains that come with getting older. I am in the best shape of my life through consistent exercise that includes sprint drills, lifting heavy weights, yoga, walking, and plenty of stretching. Primal Blueprint completely changed my entire life. I realized in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic that I’d like to carry this knowledge and this message to others through health coaching. I signed up for the program, and graduated in December 2020. I offer individual 21 day reset programs and 3-month coaching programs. I can teach you how to revolutionize your whole life for optimal health and boundless energy! Check out my website at www.primalwomxn.com.
Can you talk to us about why you’ve switched all your products from using sugar to monkfruit sweetener?
Sugar is addictive. That’s why your body craves it. And that’s why so many food manufacturers sprinkle it into their products. It drives you to buy more of the foods you crave. When sugar is ingested, it prompts the pancreas to release insulin (a master hormone that presides over transporting nutrients, including ingested cards, proteins, and fats through the blood stream to target cells and organs). Constant sugar and carb intake causes excessive insulin production, and it’s the worst health problem in modern life. It promotes fat storage, systemic inflammation (type 2 diabetes, asthma, arthritis, IBS) and interferes with health immune and hormonal function. Monk fruit extract is rated a zero on the glycemic index and has zero calories and zero carbs so it won’t spike blood sugar. There is no insulin response in the body to monkfruit sweetener; therefore, we rid ourselves of the harmful effects of excess insulin production. Merfs is committed to offering healthy, fresh condiments. Sugar is no longer in line with our company ethos. We want everyone to live awesome!
You’ve moved some of your operations to Georgia, so we’re interested to hear the backstory and what you are thinking about in terms of the Southeast for 2021.
Merfs Condiments was started in Denver, Colorado in January 2014. During the COVID19 pandemic, Merfs was gravely affected by restaurant shutdowns. In order to reduce costs, Merfs closed down the Colorado manufacturing facility and switched to co-packing. Merfs also needed to diversify revenue streams and expand into new markets so I moved some operations to Georgia in an effort to start expanding in the Southeastern United States. So far, so good. We’ve got over 100 new grocery stores and growing! Merfs wants to be a national spicy condiment company, and we’re on our way there!
So, you gave up your manufacturing facility in Denver and switched to co-packing. For folks who might not know as much about the process and industry can you walk us through what that means and why you chose to make the change?
Merfs manufactured all of its own products in house for the first 6.5 years. It was incredibly important to me to be able to control manufacturing to ensure the highest quality end product. It also allowed me to tightly control cost and offer a great price to my wholesale and retail customers. Operating a manufacturing facility means long hours and a lot of hot, sweaty work. I could never totally remove myself from production to focus on the most important aspect of the business: selling hot sauce. It became glaringly apparent to me after COVID19 hit that it was imperative to change the structure of my business, both to reduce overhead costs and free me up to focus on diversifying our revenue channels. Merfs has found two co-packers: Hillside Orchards in Tiger, GA, and C Vision Foods in Colorado Springs, CO. We have outstanding relationships with these two companies, and we look forward too many years of delicious hot sauce!
It was so great to reconnect. One last question – how can our readers connect with you, learn more or support you?
Y’all can follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @merfscondiments. Our website is www.merfscondiments.com. Or send us an email with any questions you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.merfscondiments.com
- Facebook: merfscondiments
- Linkedin: kellyschexnaildre
- Twitter: merfscondiments
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