Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kelly Schexnaildre, founder of Merfs Condiments, located in Denver, CO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Merfs Condiments is a spicy food company that manufactures and sells a diverse portfolio of sauces within the United States and Canada. Merfs' customers are restaurants, grocery stores, and foodies ages 25-44 who are passionate about spicy food. We think every meal is an opportunity to make a friend or learn something new. Bring joy to mealtime and live spicy!

Tell us about yourself

After a life spent working in restaurants, I turned 25 and started thinking about what I'd like to do with the rest of my life. At the time, I had a large garden in my backyard, and I was fond of making condiments of all kinds: relish, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, jam, hot sauce, and ketchup. I love blending flavors and mixing all sorts of seemingly weird combinations. It was through this experimentation that the idea for Merfs was born.

I'm passionate about creating bold flavors with fresh ingredients. I'm constantly thinking about new products and opportunities to elevate the brand. Food is everything, and I absolutely love it.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is steering Merfs through COVID19, despite catastrophic losses to Merfs sources of revenue. It took cunning, ingenuity, and a willingness to ride out the storm without panicking. We're on the upswing now.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is the day-to-day uncertainty, especially in the first few years. I had to really dig deep within myself to keep going despite that fear. I wanted to overcome the uncertainty by building the business in a way that would ensure its survival. I managed to do just that-- until COVID came along.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

If you're interested in starting a business, get ready to be uncomfortable.

  1. Be prepared to work at least 80 hours a week for the first three years.
  2. Get comfortable with not knowing everything. More than half of starting a new business is learning things you don't know (and can't) until you're in it.
  3. Get enough sleep. Sleep is the number one way to keep yourself healthy and sane. If you don't sleep, you won't be motivated, productive, or friendly.

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; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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