How did Papi Chulo Salsa come to be?
Several years ago I had been seriously injured my back and couldn’t walk, stand or sit for more than 12 minutes, so I was bed-ridden for almost 2 years. I had a lot of time to reassess my life and my future. I decided to dedicate myself to work diligently work on this salsa recipe I had started many years prior to my injury.
How did you arrive at the name “Papi Chulo Salsa”? What does it mean?
Papi Chulo means “Hot Daddy, Sexy Daddy” and in some countries “Pimp Daddy”. I first heard the expression from my next door neighbor, “I’m Papi Chulo”! Then I heard it used again by other Latinos. So I bought the rights to the name “Papi Chulo Salsa” and had it trademarked. But first I had to really get creative and design a label that would be unlike any other jar on the shelves.
What has been your most favorite challenge?
Improving upon perfection successfully. Just when you think it can’t get any better and the hundreds of people that helped with blind taste test agree, you get another idea in your head and you try it out and compare the new taste to the prior taste. The blind taste panel is comprised of A, B, C and D. For this I used all the personnel at my bank and every other week I would have them force rank the samples and have them write down as to why they like or dislike the samples.
My second most favorite challenge is to have a product so extraordinary delicious that a grocer is willing to make physical space on their shelf for Papi Chulo Salsa.
Of your many successes, which has been the biggest?
Becoming ORGANIC was the best thing we could have ever done. The floavor and quality went through the roof. Plus we are able to buy from local CERTIFIED ORGANIC farmers. This insures freshness, quality, wholesomeness and supports the local economy. So when you buy Papi Chulo Salsa, you are supporting the small business owner, family farms and the local economy.
What has been your greatest advice?
I have 3:
1 -My physician and friend in Sacramento , Juan Carlos, told me, “if you don’t market this, I will”.
2 –My consultant advised me that I need to cut my overhead by $0.50 a jar. Finding a different source for my jars was arduous but I did it. I also found a printer who would drastically reduce my cost for the labels. I actually reduced my cost by $0.85 per jar and am now able to seek a distributor who in turn market to a brick and mortar, an account they already have. This will make my marketing so much easier.
3 –Go ORGANIC. Organic cannot be found in any grocery stores till now. In fact, I googled “organic salsa” and found only one, in Miami, FL.
In this competitive market, what makes Papi Chulo Salsa stand out?
Number one is our flavor. Nobody makes as delicious salsa like Papi Chulo Salsa, not even a Latina grandmother. It’s to die for and the best salsa money can buy.
Was there any big “ah ha” moment?
A couple of months ago I decided to roast ALL my chiles. A weekly customer who buys 3-4 jars every week at my Farmer’s Market told me that my “HOT” salsa was not as hot as it used to be. I thought that was absurd and told him “no way”. He said yeah, for the last 2 weeks it hasn’t been nearly as hot. Well for the last 2 weeks I had been roasting 100% of my chiles because the flavor was thru the ceiling. I remedied that and kept the best of both worlds.
What is your next step? Where do you see yourself going?
I need to find some distributors and make contact and present our brand.
In the next 5 years I want Papi Chulo Salsa available throughout California (Bay Area, Sacramento and Los Angeles). In ten years I would like to be coast-to-coast and peppered in between.
Will you be expanding the Papi Chulo brand?
I have created a Papi Chulo Crema which is a sour cream based dip unlike no other. I will put it against any specialty dip on the market. It’s that good.
I also have a couple of products I will be experimenting in my test kitchen before the year is out. I want to make the best Salsa Verde available so I can put the Papi Chulo Salsa name on it. It will be fresh but must have refrigerator space because it will be made with avocados.
What advice can you offer a person who wants to start a new business?
Do your research. Find out what certificates and licenses you will need, they differ county to county. What will the certificates cost? Find out how to do your COG and projected P&L. Find out how to write a comprehensive business plan, then submit it to a professional who can scrutinize it and give you advice before going to the bank or applying for an SBA loan, because you will need money. There are many resources you can look into for professional advice.
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