The Saucy Newfoundland Company — the creation of Mark Tierney, Crystal McCall, Brad Small and Julia Allingham — was born out of the Startup Weekend Western NL held at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland during the first weekend in April.
Hosted by Startup NL and Navigate, the weekend saw participants join forces to take an idea and turn it into a business in 54 hours.
At the end of the weekend The Saucy Newfoundland Company came out the winner and the four partners decided to take their idea and roll with it — or spread with it.
What united them that weekend was a shared love of food.
Tierney and McCall both pitched food ideas during the initial session and somewhere along the process were joined by Small and Allingham. By the end of the first night they had come up with the idea for a sauce company and went home to make sauces. By the next morning, the group had homemade sauces ready for sampling.
The feedback was good and there was a lot of interest in their product. By the end of the weekend they had six products — including sauces, a spread and a ketchup — that they could take to production. All have a Newfoundland flare or flavor to them, including the mustard pickle sauce.
“It was a joke of an idea and then when we actually made it, by the third or fourth rendition it ended up being a pretty amazing product,” said Tierney.
Since the weekend the four have been working on their recipes with McCall in the lead. The others all have had input into the process, and of course the tasting, and according to Tierney “they’ve only gotten better.”
After Startup the group launched a crowd-funding campaign through Indiegogo to raise some of the funds needed to buy equipment to start the business.
They’ve also been getting some great advice from people who make sauces and spreads, chefs and food industry professionals. “Hardly anyone says no,” says Tierney, who adds anyone starting a business should seek out and ask for help.
With the recipes perfected, The Saucy Newfoundland Company is now looking to rent a commercial kitchen to cook them up in and start getting the orders they’ve already gotten out to customers.
Tierney said they hope to be able to start filling the orders by early summer. The plan is to sell direct to the consumer from the company’s website, which is currently being up updated, but they aren’t ruling out the possibility of some wholesale sales.
And they’re not stopping with just sauces and spreads. The company will soon release a cookbook, featuring mostly Newfoundland-inspired dishes using Saucy sauces. And fans can also pick up a Saucy T-shirt, sweatshirt or infant’s onesie, some with the “Tell yer mudder!” slogan.
“We’re trying to make it fun,” said Tierney. “It’s a good lifestyle-type business.”
The Saucy Newfoundland Company team
Mark Tierney — Corner Brook
Tierney is a development officer with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and has some involvement working with entrepreneurs. It was suggested that he attend Startup Weekend as a participant.
He’s been interested in food and cooking since his youth days on the skiing, cycling and triathlon circuits. Cooking in the evenings and trying to outdo the meal a friend cooked the night before. “If you’re going to consume lots of calories you want to consume ones that are tasty.”
Crystal McCall — originally from Ontario, living in Corner Brook for about three years
McCall is a research laboratory co-ordinator at Grenfell Campus and has a background in agriculture and environmental science.
McCall went to the Startup Weekend to get some expertise and help in how she might start forming a business. Her original idea was for pre-made meals, but the logistics made it something she couldn’t undertake right now.
“I never thought that over that weekend we would start a business. It’s overwhelming, but in a fantastic way.”
McCall says their products are great, not only for people here, but for Newfoundlanders away who are missing some of those flavours.
Brad Small — Corner Brook
A carpenter by trade, Small is McCall’s significant other and went along with her to the Startup Weekend out of interest.
He thought it would be more of an education-type event and was a little surprised that it turned into a competition.
“So I kind of got dragged in a little bit more than what I was expecting, so just rolling with it now,” he said.
He said their products are different than anything seen on the market now and all of them have a Newfoundland twist.
Julia Allingham — Corner Brook, originally from Deadman’s Cove
Allignham is an instructional resource teacher at C.C. Loughlin. Her interest in starting a business is what led her to the Startup Weekend.
She said she had some ideas going in, but wasn’t ready to pitch them. But she liked what she heard and joined forces with Tierney, McCall and Small. Since then she said it’s been all up hill.
“I think it’s because we created sort of an energetic culture and people wanted to be part of it.”
She said it excited them. “And food always, always gets people excited.”
NL Partridgeberry BBQ Sauce
NL Screeching Hot Sauce
NL Crowberry Balsamic
NL Blueberry Honey Spread
NL Lassie Ketchup
NL Pickled Mustard Sauce
The pickled mustard sauce is inspired by the mustard pickle shortage of 2016, but contains no pickles
The four Saucy team members have never all been in the kitchen at the same time