Tierra Brava Hot Sauce Story.
Permanently, I keep promoting our products, trying to find distributors, brokers, and retail stores to sell our products.
I attend and exhibit our products at different trade shows, some of them in the United States, such as the Fancy Food Trade shows held in San Francisco and New York. Other trade shows in the US as Natural Expo East and West, and other trade shows such SIAL Canada, FOODEX in Japan, ANUGA in Cologne and SIAL in Paris. When promoting our products, most of the people to whom I talk, their most common question is: What’s Tierra Brava Hot Sauce Story?
Even though our products have excellent credentials, flavour and right image, and we have the experience, the permanent question is: What’s your story?
So, here is our story of how we become on Tierra Brava Hot Sauce. Here is our journey on how we have managed to be here, how we have struggled and fight for my dream, keep the pace, share it with my loved ones, and share it with my whole team, who, by the way, all my family, friends and collaborators have always been with me hand by hand so we can deliver the best. Thank you all!
The Tierra Brava Hot Sauce Story started by the year 2006, I was talking with my mother about the Xmas family reunion, regularly all the family parties and gatherings were hosted at my parents’ house.
My mom, as well as my grandmother and grand-grandmother, loved to cook. Even my sisters, my kids, nephew and nieces like it too. Cooking has always been a passion in our family. My mother used to cook for all the family, over 80 people every Xmas and also every weekend our house was crowded with friends and family, all enjoying and loving my mom’s cooking abilities.
Some of my memories tell me that most of our weekend there was always someone at our house asking my mom to please do that delicious chilaquiles with the red salsa, or even molletes with green or red salsa... some of our friends just called to say “Hi!, Can we stop by to have dinner? Can you do those special enchiladas with that delicious salsa? …
These are only a few examples of how my mom loved to cook. She was always was there at our house to receive everybody, friends and family.
So, there we were by December 2005 my mother and I talking about how our big family and friends were always looking to come to our house and spend the nights enjoying the food she cooked, like her salsas, sauces, and authentic Mexican dishes she and my grandmother always prepared.
On the other side, I was looking to create a new business. Some years before I started my first business, and I had enough experience giving advice and consulting on how to export, how to develop excellent products, with export quality to companies looking to explore international opportunities. When my mom and I were talking about the food she cooked, there I said to my mom: let’s do your salsas! Let’s create a brand and put the salsas in bottles, sell them and share worldwide these unique recipes that everybody loves! That was just a rough idea, and my mind couldn’t stop.
I started looking for a brand. I wanted to call it Carmelita’s (honouring my mother) but that brand was already taken, another try was La Abuela (Grandmother’s), and it was also taken, then I said, O.K. if we are going to offer this unique salsas to the world and want to represent Mexico and its people, the lets name is Tierra Brava! (Brave Land) I look-up for the brand, and it was available. I liked it very much and decided to register the brand in Mexico, the US and some other countries.
When I was thinking about the image of our brand, thought about something Mexican, something that can be identified as Mexico and want to keep an elegant design. For over more than four months, I kept thinking on images and was brainstorming with illustrations, that is when I decided to use a rooster as an image. I shared my thoughts and idea with my second sister, and she helped me create the logo. I only said to her I wanted something elegant and colourful, something that people can remember as Mexican and after many ideas and revisions, the colourful tail rooster was born.
Once we have the rooster design and a registered trademark, my sister and I started working on the ideas for the labels. We were going to start with two different salsas: green and red homemade style salsas. At the same time, I started looking for suppliers. I needed suppliers for a jar, a bottle, a cap, and a label. I thought that was it!
Having the first meeting with one supplier, he asked me: Are you doing yourself your products or are you working with a copacker? Its seems that a copacker would be the best solution for you at the moment, and so he introduced me with my first copacker. Sometime later, I started doing Chipotle hot sauce because it was more comfortable at that time for me to do it with the help of a copacker.
That was a good start, but oh, boy! It was also a real headache. We developed two more recipes, not from the family book recipes, and start doing promotion. With three products to show, I decided to do promotion a the Foodex Trade show in Japan. We rocked! I came back from Japan with a lot of things to do, lots of things to change so we can be prepared and sell big. By that time, my copacker said that was too much work to do, and he had no intention to change his process unless I can assure him and pay upfront large production orders.
Just when I was coming back from Japan, we send our first PO to a US distributor, we were so happy to accomplish, but then we got bad news. Our products were held and refuse by the FDA because our copacker didn’t have the necessary records to export all our products, only one out of three products were accepted by the FDA to cross into the US and the other two, we needed to or destroy them or bring them back to Mexico. It took me years to make the first sale to the US, and I needed to bring back all the product we sent. With all the product I had, I need to make local sales, or I would be keeping quite a big inventory. My first sale to the first distributor we had in the US was a complete mess. My copacker made me tons of promises, and I trusted him, I thought he had me covered.
After five years, I ended my business relationship with that copacker and started looking for other copackers.
Taking control and rescuing my conversations with mom.
I realize that I needed to be in control of every step I wanted to take considering all the food regulations that every food processor must comply. That is when I decided to take a new action: I was selling Tierra Brava under my name, and the best options were to create a company get all needed credentials for the company and get serious. That was going to be the first step to consolidate the business. A second step was to rescue the family salsa recipes that on an early basis, my mom and I always talked about.
By the year 2011, I created the company Lempat Foods and almost started from zero. My mother and I started working in her kitchen.
When exploring how to make the salsas, how to get the same final product that my mom always carried out in her kitchen and get that same flavour, consistency, color and taste, wow, we went through a lot of headaches.
My mom and I rescued the family recipes, made on her kitchen so many tests to bring the salsas and hot sauces in and semi-industrial way. It is so different to cook for a big group of family and friends than to make large scale volume to take them to the retail and foodservice industry. We wanted to keep the recipes as original as possible, by no adding colorants or preservatives. That took us some time to do it, but we made it possible!
Every time we needed to make samples, my mom waited for me after work and did a lot of samples and test up to 11 pm or later. We worked hard many, many times. Then we decided to do that during the day. At that time if we wanted to do samples, the only place where we both can work and have enough space, was at my mothers’ kitchen.
While doing samples at my mother’s kitchen, we started working with another copacker, we did it well, but eventually, our product was the last to be done. We ended up working with two more copackers and with all of them worked right even though, doing our products with each of them represented a considerable effort, and also a day by day struggle because there is always a surprise!
Since 2006, every year that went through, we learned and valued our good copackers, our clients, and our efforts. Our goal since our beggings has been to have our facilities, to do our job with love, care and passion, with the same passion my mother showed me in life and at the kitchen where she was always happy to be no matter the time. She waited for me at 8 pm or later to do samples, to share with me some of her recipes and to share with me her kindness and infinite love for friendship, for parenting and of course for food.
Our journey and story of Tierra Brava and Lempat Foods is based on the principles of doing the best food for the ones you love, is preparing the best sauce, is looking for the best ingredients and finally to offer the best product to the people you care. Those are the principles my mother taught me and always shared with me and my sisters and brother. Our story, as much as others I know, has about everything: drama, love and caring, education, honor, disputes, and dreams. Our story is based on how can we offer the best and authentic Mexican products that my mother showed my sisters and me to do and enjoy with family and friends, no matter where they are located.
After so many efforts, so many tests on my mothers’ kitchen, now, we have our facilities, and we offer more than ten different hot sauces, most of them inspired by mother and the family book recipes. Tierra Brava brand has been sold in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Maldives.
We have been trying to expand, and so far, we’ve done great work. My mother never had a share of Lempat Foods, and she worked with me elbow to elbow to achieve my dream and our long conversations. She always stood for me and allowed me to share the family recipes in my business. Even though my mother passed away almost two years ago, I love to share our story and how our business journey has been for nearly 14 years. On every hot sauce and salsas, we made, there is a special touch of my mother, her passion for cooking and for sharing with others brought as a result, Lempat Foods selling Tierra Brava.
For all the people that every time asks me: What your story? Thank you so much to all of you! Every time I share our story, you help me remind me of my origins, my dreams, my family and especially, my mother!
Thank you for asking about our journey, more especially thank you so much for bringing to me so many good memories I had with my mother, sometimes its good to look back.
I genuinely hope that Tierra Brava Hot Sauce is what you are looking for an authentic Mexican salsa, go ahead and have Tierra Brava. Buy, distribute, retail and have at your business Tierra Brava hot sauce.
We await to serve you,
Pedro Pierdant, Founder and Creator of Tierra Brava Hot Sauce.
PS. Mom thank you so much for all you did for me, for your love, caring, and for always be there for me. I love you. PPM.