A deliciously delightful Q & A with the founder of Prickly Pig BBQ Sauce

I was able to pin down Karen, the super busy owner and maker of Prickly Pig BBQ Sauce for a Q & A.  Prickly Pig BBQ sauce is a favorite in my house. Yes, we use it for meat, but also tofu, salads, and as a dipping sauce! 

Karen is a joy to be around and I absolutely love it when she stops in for a visit. For the Q & A she talks about the origins of the name Prickly Pig, the ups and downs of owning a business, and what it takes to do a crowd funding campaign.

What made you want to start a BBQ sauce company? 
Prickly Pig began with a pork sandwich at a party in the Haight, San Francisco but now resides in Oakland, CA. It became a ritual: for years a group of us celebrated each and every occasion with a slow roasted pork sandwich party. Friends kept showing up to eat and we got creative with the sauce by adding it to everything. After years of people loving the sauce and telling me I should make a business of it, in 2012, I finally decided they were right! I just knew if the sauce made us this happy, others would enjoy it as well! 

How did you come up with the name Prickly Pig?
Prickly Pig is based on a nickname of mine. The Prickly part that is! Since the original use of the barbecue sauce was on slow roasted pork sandwiches, Pig naturally fit! 

Is there a person in your life that has been a big influence? 
My parents have influenced me greatly. Even in the face of their own difficult life situations they really encouraged me to do what I was passionate about. Along with my friends, my parents have let me just be me! 

What has been the hardest thing about running your own business? What has been the most rewarding? 
The hardest thing about running my own business is deciding where to apply my focus. Everything like recipes, labels, production/logistics, and distribution all have to coincide to create a high quality, finished product. Meanwhile, I have to manage cash flow to make sure the product can actually be made! The most rewarding part is to see my vision, my recipes come to life on the shelf. I love to see people get excited about Prickly Pig Barbecue Sauce and formulate their own creative use of the sauce. I hope the sauce will do for people what it did for me, create wonderful shared memories with friends and family!

You're in the middle of a kickstarter campaign, do you have any advice/wisdom to share with other small businesses looking to do crowdfunding?
Kickstarter is my second round of crowdfunding. Last summer I successfully funded a Kiva Zip loan to purchase a machine that automatically fills the barbecue sauce bottles. The Kiva Zip loan gave me confidence in my product while also building a strong local network. So far, Kickstarter has been fun yet stressful. My advice is to do the very best you can in outlining your story and then just launch it! It's not easy. It's stressful. It remains to be seen if it will fully fund but I would try a 100 times over to succeed. I believe in my Prickly Pig Barbecue Sauce and that shows in my kickstarter project! If you're serious about your product then leave no stone unturned. 

Anything you want to add?
My motto: It's not what you know, it's what you want to know. That's how I get stuff done. 


To contribute to The Prickly Pig Kickstarter and to see the super cute video click HERE





kerri johnson

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