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Start Your Business Success Stories

Candying Jalapeños Gave Way to a New Career for This Husband-Wife Team

Sara and Corey Meyer of Little Bird Kitchen
Credit: Little Bird Kitchen

As parents of three with full-time jobs, we knew we needed hobbies away from the cacophony at home. My husband Corey was working as an EMT and baking for fun. I was a sound tech at a New York City TV station by day, and recipe blogger by night.

In 2012, armed with a diverse palate, I began experimenting with recipes for my new blog. After figuring out how to make Corey's favorite treat, chocolate covered orange peels, I began candying everything that I could find. Corey joked that we had to keep the kids out of the kitchen.

Leftover jalapeños in the refrigerator became our claim to fame. Corey told me that I was nuts, and like any great wife, I ignored him and candied away.

What's one to do with a house full of candied jalapeños? Cover them in chocolate and bring them to work, of course! Two different co-workers wanted to purchase the treats which caused me to say, "I think we have a business!"

The beginning was hard. After upgrading from our home kitchen, we moved into a food incubator in Long Island City, New York, called the Entrepreneur Space. We continued to juggle our full-time jobs, taking care of our kids, and working overnight shifts in the Entrepreneur Space to make our jalapeño treats.

Receiving mentorship at the food incubator was the most important part of our entrepreneurial journey. We learned about packaging, pricing, quality control – all the things we knew nothing about prior to starting Little Bird Kitchen.

One thing that was certain: consumers were loving our products. After thorough research, we discovered that when people begin to try flavors outside of their comfort zone, they turn to spicy. Little Bird Kitchen's chocolates, powder and syrup allow the user to control how much heat they get for a customized culinary experience. We stuck with jalapeños because they allow other flavors to come through before the heat hits at the end.

Armed with this new knowledge of the food industry, and lots of candied jalapeños, we made our way to Long Island to move the business into its own facility. The move has been a turning point for Little Bird Kitchen. The amount of workspace is more than we have ever had before, and the possibilities are endless.

Since then, Little Bird Kitchen has revamped packaging, participated in large trade shows along with small, niche shows, experimented with winning (and losing) recipes, and turned jalapeños into a trend.

About the author: Sara Meyer is a co-founder of Little Bird Kitchen. She is currently spending time in the kitchen working on new products and seasonal offerings.