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Meet Sherri Mitchell of Chef Sherri Sauces

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sherri Mitchell.

Hi Sherri, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Chef Sherri Sauces was created out of a passion to help people create delicious dishes with real ingredients without much effort. After spending a decade in the health and wellness field, I realized that my ability to reach people on a large scale was limited and a strong desire was building in me to help change the health of the country through better food choices. As a certified nutrition coach and personal trainer, I repeatedly heard from clients how they wanted to eat healthier but either lacked the time, skills, or both. Consequently, they often turned to highly-processed pre-made meals, fast food, chemical-laden ingredients, or would just skip eating. I knew I could help and set about finding a way. Initially I launched a catering business that focused on weekly meal prep for people but, again, that made them reliant on me for their food. I wanted a way that people could be self-reliant with only some assistance from me; in short, I wanted to “Make mealtimes easy!” but also healthy and delicious. A recurring praise from my catering clients was always raves about my sauces, and pretty soon that seed began to grow into a plan of action.

Even though I had been perfecting my cooking for over twenty years, I still felt an official culinary education would be beneficial so I attended culinary school at Johnson and Wales (Denver campus). While in school I began tweaking sauce recipes I’d created over the years, and then had fellow chefs chime in with their thoughts. I soon had consensus on the final offerings and then set about preparing to bring them to market. Unfortunately, that was right as Covid hit. I’ve never been one to sit back and wait to see what happens, so I decided to continue forging ahead with my plans. It has definitely been a tough first year in some ways, but it has also forced me to slow down my plans which in turn has allowed me to fully develop systems and processes. Prior to this summer all of my sales were through my website, but I’m now also at a few local farmers markets (which I absolutely love because of the personal interactions and relationships I’m able to build).

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
For entrepreneurs, there’s no such thing as a smooth road during the best of times and certainly not during Covid! But my struggles are no different than what everyone else has been going through, which gives a strange sense of comfort. Because I launched at the beginning of 2020, I missed the cutoff date to qualify for any PPP or other financial assistance offered to businesses; that was probably the most difficult chapter for me, as I had budgeted my finances thinking that I’d be at farmers markets last summer and really getting to spread the word about my sauces. Fortunately though I have a strong and supportive base of friends and former clients who were believers in me and my product, and within six months I had already sold close to 1000 bottle​s of my sauces. For that – and them – I will always be eternally grateful.

Other challenges have included either in obtaining needed supplies (especially jars and lids!), or obtaining them at reasonable prices. This pandemic has really thrown a wrench in so many production lines and when you’re a small fish in a large ocean of needs, you really have to be scrappy to survive. Fortunately, perseverance is my middle name 🙂

The final big challenge has not being able to network with new contacts; Zoom only goes so far in building relationships. With restrictions easing over the past few months, I have been able to meet people in person and have consequently seen a large growth in my business and potential business. I am incredibly excited to see what this next year will bring!

As you know, we’re big fans of Chef Sherri Sauces. For our readers who might not be as familiar with your products, what can you tell them about the brand?
My ultimate goal with Chef Sherri Sauces (and other offerings to follow!) is to improve the health of the nation. That’s why my focus is on quality, not profit. It’s easy to make a cheap sauce, but it’s not nearly as tasty nor as good for you. My belief is that it’s better to spend money proactively and preventatively with good food choices vs. on future medical bills and medicine needed due to poor health from neglect. By taking care of ourselves now, we will age better and therefore be able to have a more active and enjoyable life. I keep my prices as low as I can within the market conditions because I want to reach as many people as possible. My hope is that as my business continues to grow and I can make even larger batches at a time, thereby taking advantage of bulk pricing, I’ll be able to pass on the savings.

My driving force is to help people. That’s also why 5% of my profits will be donated to charity every year. It’s also important to me to support other Colorado small business while I grow, which is why I seek local suppliers first. I get my spices, peanut butter, and honey from within Colorado. My co-packer is in Denver. My labels are made in Centennial. And I’m always looking for ways to bring along other CO partners if possible. The way I see it, if I support other small businesses then as I grow, I help them grow too.

​With my sauces being focused on quality, it’s probably no surprise that I use organic and non-GMO ingredients as much as possible, don’t use artificial ingredients or chemicals, and really strive to let the natural flavors be the stars of the show. They’re also all gluten-free, low sugar, low salt, and vegan. I’m often asked which one is most popular and there is such a slim difference in numbers sold that it’s pretty impossible to say. They’re all loved for their own reasons!

What I’m most proud of are the reactions I get from people after they try my sauces. It’s gratifying not only because they are enjoyed, but because of the impact I’m having on their health. Colorado is a fantastic state to have a business like mine as living healthy is a high priority for many, and I hope to continue spilling the “sauce love” over to the entire country; I have already shipped sauces to 43 states and hope to have reached all 50 states by the end of this year.

Pricing:

  • 4oz jars are available individually at farmers markets for $5 or as a sample pack online for $30
  • 12oz jars are $10 each
  • I have flat-rate shipping within Colorado ($10); the rest of the CONUS is $12
  • I offer free local pickup at Southlands Mall
  • Retail locations and farmers market details are available on my website under the “Shop” menu option

Contact Info:

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