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Well, there is just a little bit of content there. But until we decide whether that'll really be our name, we probably won't add more.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 1 year later...
On 3/5/2019 at 7:34 PM, Pan said:

Well, there is just a little bit of content there. But until we decide whether that'll really be our name, we probably won't add more.

 

Pan did you ever get your company going?

How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?

Charles De Gaulle, in "Les Mots du General", 1962

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  • 3 months later...

Hi, everybody! I hope all of you are well and coping well in these crazy times!

 

md8232, thanks for asking, and I'm sorry for the late answer. We still have yet to start sales.

 

I’ll cut to the chase and then give more of an update. The short version is that we are now looking to launch as a snacks-and-hot-sauce subscription box company, and therefore, I would love your recommendations of snacks with a pretty long shelf life (so not goods that you pick up at your local bakery and eat the same day - think at least around 9 months’ shelf life before opening) that you miss when you’re not in a country you used to live in (other than the U.S., though we’re open to artisanal American snacks, too, if they’re not available in supermarkets). Specific brands I can look up are most helpful, because I would need to try a sample before considering a wholesale order.

 

The longer version is: When we were close to launching as a hot sauce subscription box company, we looked at our competition again and saw that, although no-one based in the U.S. had nearly as good a lineup as we did (and I say that because I have tried the hot sauces they are selling and we didn’t consider some of them special enough to sell), that market seemed saturated (donk79 already mentioned this as an issue in January, 2018). And since we had already started looking at snacks as a nice extra to provide for our subscribers, we decided to shift gears and make this a snacks-and-hot sauce subscription box company. We have tried some excellent snacks and figure to focus on items with a spicy or at least savory component, not for example purely sweet snacks (for example, I tried a fantastic take on a trail mix that includes organic almonds, craisins and rosemary; Indonesian cashews with lime leaves and chili; fudge with chipotle and ancho; and habanero pralines). However, we don’t yet have enough snacks for a year’s worth of deliveries, so any ideas you can give me would be most welcome!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Snacks and hot sauce isnt a natural pairing to me. Almost dissonant.

What sort of snack might you offer?

Maybe I'm catching on the word, snack. You need a higher end descriptor.

Edited by gfweb (log)
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I'd look to eastern Asia where there are all sorts of interesting snacks. One of our local grocers had a special on these and it didn't take me long to become addicted

Tao Kae Noi Tempura Seaweed Snack 40g | BIG W

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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I like the concept of pairing savory snacks/hot sauce by region...so you could pair Asian products, then pair Mexican products. If you don’t have easy access to ethnic markets, or a curiosity.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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21 hours ago, gfweb said:

Snacks and hot sauce isnt a natural pairing to me. Almost dissonant.

What sort of snack might you offer?

Maybe I'm catching on the word, snack. You need a higher end descriptor.

 

A Singaporean snack manufacturer also thought it was discordant because she kept thinking I was suggesting dipping her vegetable chips in hot sauce (I am not), but my feeling is that you don't eat the snacks with the hot sauce. Snacks are something you can start eating right away when you open the subscription box, and the hot sauce is something you use with whatever you're cooking or a number of things you might be ordering in.

 

Interesting idea that I need a different descriptor, and definitely worth considering. I will bring this up with my partner. I'm not sure whether we need a different word or not, given that our target audience is (and has to be) Millennials who have discerning taste that tends toward the spicy and tangy, have some disposable income and desire convenience; though I might call them gourmets, they're not likely to be formal, so that makes me unsure.

 

Types of snacks we've found great and are likely to appear in our subscription boxes include:

 

Two types of fudge made from delicious dark chocolate with habaneros and jalapenos or chipotle and anchos, different kinds of spicy or savory nuts (Cajun-style, bloody mary, margarita, dill pickle, rosemary, lime leaf and chili, spiced rum, etc., etc.), chocolate-covered golden berries from Peru, habanero pralines, and maybe some kinds of savory chips (e.g., satay-flavored).

 

I should say, the reason we were going to go with hot sauces only, rather than some savory and some hot sauces, is that we did some field market surveys and found that there was much more interest in hot sauces than in sauces like mustards, which although we would include only really fantastic ones we tried, people we surveyed found the idea of mustard more ordinary (thought it's true that our results could have been a bit skewed by surveying in San Francisco). But I think our target audience will appreciate having something to munch on after they unpack the hot sauces. I could be wrong, but it seems clear that no other company is trying this combination so far, or at least I haven't found them.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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haresfur, I love that kind of product! This brand has heavy penetration into the U.S. market already, though, quite widely available on Amazon.

 

BeeZee, the idea of regional pairing is surely interesting. At this point, though, I'd be perfectly satisfied with having a year's worth of artisanal snacks with a spicy or savory aspect of their taste to include with hot sauces. As long as the products are special, that would be enough to satisfy me and I figure it would be enough to satisfy customers.

 

To give you all some idea: I think that we normally wouldn't include products that are easily available in supermarkets (including Whole Foods). It's OK if they're sold in a few specialty markets, and it might be OK if they are available on Amazon but with only a few units left there or priced outlandishly high (which occasionally happens). I don't think it's a non-starter if they can be found in specifically East Asian, South Asian or Mexican (e.g.) markets, though the more widely available they are in the U.S., the less special they are, and the less reason not to just go to the supermarket to get them.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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From first glance it seems you are somewhat pigeonholing yourself into a very niche market.  Your audience must like hot sauces and unique/funky snacks? 

 

What about separating the two and offering either or?  Or for those who prefer - both?

 

 

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There are a couple of issues. First, the market for hot sauce subscription boxes is saturated, and the market for snack subscription boxes is also probably saturated, but no-one's tried to market a mixed subscription box including both. Second, it's expensive to get this kind of business started, and I think that subscribers are likely to find 2 hot sauces and 3 snacks, if we can swing that, a better value than 3 hot sauces, for a couple of reasons: First, they'll simply be more products. Second, even if we deliver quarterly, a lot of people won't finish 3 hot sauces before the next delivery comes - 12 hot sauces a year is a lot of hot sauces even for many hot sauce-lovers! We're OK with basically breaking even at first, but we can't afford to lose money on every delivery while competing with companies that get lots of free product in exchange for promotions (we've been told that's how at least one established subscription box company is able to charge as little as they do) or are already established enough to purchase several pallets' worth of each product and get a huge volume discount. We plan on getting there but have to make things work with 120 some-odd subscribers and then be ready for 10,000 later.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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