Five years ago, Cherie Metcalfe started a business selling salts, laid out on a duvet cover at a local market. Her goal was simply to contribute to the family income, without having to return to the late night life of cooking in a hospitality business.
"I never had any money to put into the business. Every dollar I've put in started from money I earned from selling salts off a duvet cover at a market stall."
It’s been a fully packed five years, with Cherie building an engaged community online, with thousands tuning into her Instagram stories every day (where she cooks using her products), or pouring over her mouth-watering photo, showing how you can use her rubs, salts, sauces and butters.
From that humble beginning at the markets, Pepper and Me has grown into four businesses, operating from their own building, and operating with a team of twelve. Cherie has managed to build a business focused around her love of cooking, food and people. Along with Pepper and Me, she runs the Pepper and Me club, a recipe sharing membership site, KitCo which sells ovenware, and Cain and Abel Knives, her newest business venture.
"Everything I do is part of a greater aim to connect people with food. I love people, and I love food. So that's what I do. "
Cherie has always invested time and energy into her organic marketing, building a community of people who love her, and her brand. In sharing about her life and her business, she’s been able to grow beyond the market stalls, selling directly and into stores.
User-generated content has always been important to Cherie, and her desire to help pay people who developed recipes using her product led to the launch of the Pepper and Me club.
As an avid user of her products, I can say they are seriously good. I haven’t cooked a bad meal with any of them. That definitely has contributed to the success of the business, as it’s easier to get people to buy again when the products are good!
However, it’s Cherie’s time and effort into showing people what she does, sharing moments of the day providing content and connecting with her community that has truly built her business.
"I put the time and effort into showing people what I do, sharing moments of my day, I show up, I provide content and my community then connect and support me when I share our products."
In this podcast we talk about how the business has changed, what’s changed since the early days, how she now prioritises her marketing, and whether this was all part of a big, organised plan. Cherie is real, inspiring and so motivating to anyone wanting to build a business out of a passion.
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