Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Duane Slyder, Founder of Seasonal Roots, located in Richmond, Virginia, United States.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Seasonal Roots was founded as The Farm Table in 2011 and rebranded to Seasonal Roots in 2016.
Seasonal Roots is an online farmers market where customers choose fresh foods and artisan goods that are then delivered from “Dirt to Doorstep” within days of picking to retain nutritional value.
Menu items include fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, yogurt, baked goods, meat, seafood, dips/spreads, vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options, and artisan foods.
The company delivers to homes throughout the Fredericksburg, Greater Richmond, Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia, Williamsburg, and Montgomery County, Maryland areas. The items are personally delivered by Market Managers who live within the community and build relationships with the customers they serve.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up in rural Nebraska and Virginia, helping to raise cattle and horses, and grow produce in our family’s garden. Later, as a husband and father living in the suburbs, I was curious about where the food I fed my family came from. I learned that most grocery store produce is shipped in from far away – selected for high yield and long shelf life, not for flavor or nutrition.
I recognized an opportunity to support local farmers using sustainable practices and enjoy better tasting, more nutritious food. My vision came to life by creating an online farmers market offering fresh, local produce and unique artisan goods that we know today as Seasonal Roots.
I developed a business model that isn’t just good for our local farmers and artisans, but for us, as a community. By supporting people who have dedicated their lives to growing the most flavorful, nutrient-dense produce and humanely raising happy, healthy animals for meat, eggs, and dairy, we all benefit.
While food is the primary focus of Seasonal Roots, I believe that people are – and always will be – the heart of Seasonal Roots.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The difference that Seasonal Roots makes to the members - we deliver too - hits me profoundly when I think about it. We deliver thousands of orders a week and get such great comments from everyone on our job. It's humbling to make a difference in so many lives.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a startup, there is always something that I have to do but have no experience or skill at. I am a truck driver, a software engineer, a controller, or a graphics designer at times. Business owners wear many hats.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- There are only two marketing strategies in my book - niche and low cost. I prefer to be competing with a niche business, so I can have decent margins. A low-cost business is always attacking expenses, and that's not fun.
- It is the talented people you start the business with who make or break you.
- Some days surviving is enough. It takes patience to get to a point where the business is past survival and onto thriving. Not easy but worth it.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I think the script for our video expresses best who we are:
People. It’s what makes our world go round.
Like the seasons, we’re connected.
You. Me. Us.
Summer’s sun leads to fall’s harvest.
And winter’s snow provides spring’s bounty.
At Seasonal Roots, we believe because life is seasonal…
We should live seasonally.
There’s power in our interconnectedness.
From the local farmers who grow our food…
To the artisans who share their skills and crafts…
And to us, the people lucky enough to enjoy it all.
Day after day.
Season after season.
We know that change is good.
That delicious things come to those who wait.
And that living better starts with eating better.
Which leads us to love better too.
And isn’t that what life is all about?
United by the land we walk…
The community we live in…
And the food we eat.
Life is full of goodness…
If you know where to look.
Let us help you discover it.
We are Seasonal Roots.
Your Online Farmers Market.
Delivering seasonal goodness from dirt to doorstep.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.