Client Interview: Steven Reid of Humble Roots
Date Posted: 08/31/2015 | By:
We caught up with Steven Reid of the new company called Humble Roots. We spoke after a day of his preparing for a cooking competition. This is one hard working chef! He told us that he starts work at 4am everyday. Steven is up way early in Greenville, South Carolina!
Us: What made you decide to get into the pimento cheese spread business?
Steven: It all started with my grandma’s original recipe and her love of cooking. She and my other grandma taught us how to cook. Since I was a little kid I used to make up crazy stuff. I started working in restaurants at age 13. We found the recipe in a book at her house about 15 years ago. We started making it immediately. I like spicy stuff, so I just did a jalapeño one. Then I just made up the smoked Gouda goat off the cuff.
I started a restaurant that was supposed to be a food truck. It was fun, but didn’t last. At some point I had to close it down. Took me a little while, but customers still wanted the pimento spread, so I talked to the girls who were working at the restaurant and decided to sell at the farmer’s markets.
That’s it in a nutshell. It started as a family recipe. And I’ve always loved cooking for a living, so I turned it into a company.
Us: How does this compare to the restaurant business?
Steven: Oh, I love it, man. I love restaurants, but the manufacturing industry is so much more fun. You get to meet all kinds of people, and that’s what I’m really about. I love meeting new people, getting to know them, learning from them, getting information from them. I’m always looking for new ways to do stuff. Restaurants get you bogged down. They are not a good atmosphere to work in. Makes me feel trapped in a place.
Us: Tell me about your grandma.
Steven: Oh you know, she was an old southern lady. She cooked, man! She had her own farm and she cooked everything. You know, she passed away when I was 6, so I didn’t cook with her, exactly, but her influence went pretty far.
Us: When did you open?
Steven: We opened about four months ago, and it’s been real busy since then.
Us: How did you come up with the label design?
Steven:It all started when I was sitting in the restaurant thinking of a name. I was sitting at the table. I had just gone through a break-up, and I always remembered the girl who I was dating at that time telling me that I need to be a little less cocky as a chef and a little more humble. It was just off the swamp rabbit trail near here, and I was thinking “humble” and “swamp rabbit” and then roots just came to me. Roots going back to my grandmother. And the carrot – I thought, it’s a root vegetable.
So it’s something that started pretty small and has just grown and grown.
Us: How did you find Leapin’ Lizard?
Steven: I was looking all over on the web. I needed a label and I needed it fast. We had finally been approved by the Department of Agriculture, and with that, we got the OK to come into the market. I had a label design, but I didn’t have a label mock-up. I needed to get into the farmer’s market. It was a pretty long shot that I was gonna get in.
Todd was the first or second person I talked to. Their company pops up as one of the first Google searches. I liked that he was in Colorado. I talked to him pretty early in the morning and he guessed that I was in the south. And he comes from Georgia so we bonded about that. Just really cool guys over there at Leapin Lizard. We developed a relationship real quickly.
Their prices were a little higher than I wanted them to be, but that’s just because I didn’t know what to expect. But it was so worth it for the customer service. And they really just bend over backwards for you. If you need any changes, they’ll do them really quickly. I just went with them. It was a gut thing. I felt like they were actually in business to help other businesses. They really helped us start up.
People say we have the best packaging out there. I’ve recommended Leapin’ Lizard to a lot of people. And South Carolina has something like the highest number of specialty food makers. Going with Leapin’ Lizard has been a really integral part of my whole operation. If I had gone with someone else I probably wouldn’t have gotten off the ground. This is after doing business for less than six months. And they’ll be super flexible. I’ll say, can you invoice me for next week, after the market opens? And they’re fine with it. Todd’s just a really sweet man.
Us: What’s the best way to get the spread?
Steven:Well we are online at www.humblerootscheeses.com or humblerootshospitality.com. We’ve found that we can freeze our cheeses and ship them. In South Carolina itself, you can get it at a few different stores all around the state. We’re letting people know that we can ship it as well. But we’re not ready to really push that yet. We just realized that we can freeze and overnight it almost anywhere in the country. You can just email me. . . we’ll talk and figure it out.
Us: How’s it going?
Steven:We’re real happy with how it’s going. Working at the farmers markets is great. People just dump information on us! We just meet the right people and they give us the information we need. We’ve been really lucky. It really seems like everything is going in the right direction. Spreading our roots.