In this episode, Pete talks with Dixie Grace, a former planning engineer turned entrepreneur who has "brought back" the boiled peanut (a long time classic Southern snack) to the Northeast, an area where they're notoriously difficult to find . . . but not anymore! Raised by a single parent, she comes from a family of entrepreneurs, with her grandmother owning beauty salons and her mother being involved in various business ventures.
Dixie shares her journey of creating artisanal boiled peanuts and the surprising customer reactions she encountered, leading to a remarkable 97% conversion rate. We explore her decision-making process in scaling her business and the innovative approach she's taking to bring her product to a wider market.
Dixie's energy and enthusiasm are contagious! Pete offers up some advice to help her get her product into health clubs and commercializing it. Grace also talks about the myriad of health benefits, historical significance, and surprising international popularity of boiled peanuts.
On 'going viral,' she states, "When I got such a reaction with people stopping their cars to come get boiled peanuts it was either, one they had a nostalgic attraction to it because they had them in Brazil or Thailand or down south . . . and it's beautiful to see because you see them remembering something that feels good to them, or you witness somebody discovering something brand new that tastes so good and then they buy it! I have a 97% conversion rate."
Some key moments:
- Craveable boiled peanuts, a 400-year-old "secret."
- African slaves brought peanuts to America.
- Secretly developed and sourced premium ingredients creatively.
- High protein, fiber, and energy packed product.
- Commercially viable product, confirmed by higher authority.
- Seek advice, pivot, and stay on course.
A few key takeaways:
1. Nostalgia and discovery play a significant role in consumer behavior, as demonstrated by Grace's high conversion rate of 97% when selling boiled peanuts.
2. Creating a unique and innovative product, such as Dixie Grace's artisanal boiled peanuts with a New York twist, can open up new markets and customer segments, even for traditional items.
3. Seeking out expert guidance and diverse perspectives is essential for scaling a business, as illustrated by Grace's decision to work with the Cornell Food Innovation Center and explore product development programs at Rutgers and Cornell.
4. Prioritizing quality and sustainability, such as offering eco-friendly packaging and targeting on-the-go consumers seeking protein, can differentiate a product in the market and attract health-conscious consumers.
5. Transitioning from a different career background to entrepreneurship requires confidence, adaptability, and a willingness to take calculated risks.
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