Voss Soss - The Story...
In a land far, far away...many moons ago... Sorry, wrong story!
Voss Soss, or as it has become known to my friends, simply 'Soss' has humble roots. The original recipe was one that my Mom and Dad used on ribs when I grew up in Tennessee. It is a sweet and tangy flavor, some described it as a combination of a Carolina and Memphis BBQ Sauce.
In 1998, I moved to Wichita Falls, Texas to start a life of my own. I am a computer technician and have spent the last 10 years working in public education. I've always had a thing for cooking barbeque and making the sauce that my parents gave me the recipe for, and it was an immediate hit with my new friends and family. I have been told countless times "You should bottle this!" over the years. I always liked the compliments, but never paid it much attention... until last year.
In June of 2013, I had become one of many fans of a radio station in Fort Worth, Texas (95.9 FM The Ranch) that plays Red Dirt and Texas style music. The group of fans that would get on the website and talk about music and food and whatever else came to mind, are called by the station 'Wallbangers'. We decided to get together on a camping trip for a weekend. I hauled all my stuff down there, and put my smoker on a trailer and cooked all weekend for my new friends. I took along several old squeeze ketchup bottles filled with 'Soss'. There was almost an argument on who was going to take whatever was left, home.
So, I started canning it, for my friends. Some of which lived out of state. Some wanted something spicier, so I smoked some peppers and threw into it. So the new flavor 'Spicy' was born. Some wanted it hotter.. I ordered some Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Peppers) along with the smoked peppers. Personally, I like spicy food, but not HOT foods.. so I called this 'Holy Chit!' because it was HOT... to me anyway. Still, there are some out there that must have asbestos tongues and lined stomachs, because they still wanted it hotter.. so I dumped a lot of ghost pepper powder into the newest mixture, and after I got through drinking a lot of milk to cool the burn... Devil Tears was born. (that was also the only time I cooked that without a respirator!)
The name "Voss Soss" was actually the mid-day DJ's idea (Thanks Malone!) since Boss Sauce was already taken, she made a play on my name.. and it stuck!
Over the last year.. word of mouth has spread. I have shipped this to people in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Arizona, Washington State, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Arkansas, etc. and have canned probably close to, if not more than 1000 pints in my kitchen. The people I have shipped to have reimbursed me for the cost of the Soss and shipping, but I am not 'selling' it. (See note below) I am at a point where I cannot keep up with demand, so I have decided to make a go at it and work with a contract packager to produce and bottle the 'Soss'.
Here is an interview that the local news (KFDX) did about myself and another local Kickstarter user (She accidentally called me Mike.. but after the story aired she realized it and apologized.. Haha!)
Another Interview, done by our Local newspaper. The Times Record News (www.timesrecordnews.com)
Note: Texas State Law prohibits me to produce, can and sell the sauce out of my home. The sauce must be produced in an inspected kitchen or through a licensed production company. I have found/worked with a production company that can produce and bottle the sauce while staying true to my concept of quality ingredients.
What the funds will be used for:
- Research and Development. - Unfortunately, going bigger sometimes means you have to take what is commercially available to make your product. While I will be insisting that all ingredients that are available that are used in the original recipes are used, some will not be, and I will work closely with a test kitchen and food expert to get the taste just right! (Cost for all 4 flavors ~ $1300)
- UPC Codes - who knew those little black and white lines cost so much? (Cost ~ $500)
- Artwork/Logo - because I can't draw.. and I need something catchy so it doesn't get lost in the crowd. (Cost ~$300)
- Getting all the proper things trademarked, etc - can't have anyone infringing on the Soss..(Cost ~ $600+)
- Permits - Food manufacturing permits, and distribution permits (Cost ~$500-1000)
- First manufactured batches - this will include the costs for me to pay the bottler for cooking, packing, labeling, and palletizing. Will pay for ingredients, labels, and bottles, as well as the labor rate. (TBD - but possibly $2500 +)
- Miscellaneous - This will include all the little things I have possibly overlooked in my pages full of notes.. but could possibly include website development, marketing, travel expenses back and forth from Wichita Falls to the DFW area (Cost ~ $750 - 1000)
As you can see, all this adds up quickly, and the local demand is out there. I would like to get this marketed and out to the public. Marketing is a cost that I'm not able to figure in yet.. but will involve farmer's markets, BBQ Competitions, street festivals, and other type events where I can get the name and taste out there.
Video Update 8-6-2014
Since this was a recipe handed to me by my Mom and Dad, I want everyone to know that my mother was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2007. IPF is a terminal lung disease, which is basically scarring of the insides of the lungs, slowly suffocating the person. After diagnosis, people are told that the average person is dead within 3-5 years. As you can see, my mother is in year 7, and is not doing well at all. While all we can do is pray for her comfort during this time, I would like them to find a cure. So, I would like to donate a portion of my profits to a foundation or a research center that is working to find a cure, or at least a treatment for this. This is a documentary of sorts that might help explain the disease http://www.everybreathcountsfilm.com/
Risks and challenges
As with any project, the devil is in the details. This will be no exception. While I hope that everything goes smoothly, there are likely to be delays with ingredients being just right, order delays, cost of supplies going up, unexpected needed permits, etc.
I will work with whatever situation, and think 'outside the box' to overcome them. This is one of the qualities I possess in being a computer technician, I don't try to let things frustrate me to the point I give up (yes, I get frustrated) but instead I let it fuel my creativity and thought process of how I am going to get from point A to point B with a problem.
- (60 days)