Jeanne David – Outer Aisle Gourmet
Santa Barbara Business Show 006: Outer Aisle Gourmet
Announcer: Welcome to Santa Barbara Business Show where we brush the tar off our feet and sit down with local business owners and thought leaders. Now here’s your host, Doug Holt.
Doug Holt: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Santa Barbara Business Show. I am your host Doug Holt. And I’m excited today to have a really great entrepreneur, a lot of you may know her, Jeanne David. Jeanne has a new product and something interesting to me is that it’s in the wellness field and really, really enjoyed what she has.
You might have seen her products at Boochie’s or Isabella Gourmet around town, as well as other retailers. It’s Outer Aisle Gourmet. And what’s really interesting about Jeanne’s product is the way that they actually are able to take a vegetarian and gluten-free healthy food and that it doesn’t taste like cardboard. So I was really impressed when I found this and really delighted and I wanted to have Jeanne on the show so I could hear from her and how she is taking her business and her company, it’s a family-run company and actually taking it to a national scale right here in Santa Barbara.
So very excited to have her on the show. I think you’re really going to enjoy hearing what she has to say as an entrepreneur and as a business owner and things that she’s done to grow and scale her business here in Santa Barbara. And I think she’s also got a great exciting announcements to bring to us. So without further adieu, let’s go ahead and bring it to Jeanne.
Hi, Jeanne. Thank you so much for being with us today.
Jeanne David: Hi, Doug. Thanks so much for having me on the show.
Doug Holt: Absolutely, I’ve been looking forward to this. For those listeners that haven’t had a chance to meet you and is probably a few of them, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you are?
Jeanne David: Well, most recently, my most recent formal job was executive director of the Arthritis Foundation and I’ve got a sickness and health background and had created those jobs. A lot of our friends decided, “Continue to taste and try and beg it for…” So we decided to bring it to market. I was owing this my executive director position and began working doing on thee and I’ve been doing that for the last 18 months building the foundation for the company.
Doug Holt: And what company is that?
Jeanne David: Outer Aisle Gourmet.
Doug Holt: I had been lucky enough and a lot of people probably listening to the show that had been around Santa Barbara have heard the buzz about your products, but tell us a little bit about those.
Jeanne David: Well they are the one really out of some personal things that my husband and I did on a health note, we took the processed carbs out of our diet as we were in at 40’s beginning to gain 2 lbs. a year. We decided we better get a handle on things before too long. So we took the processed carbs out of our diet and then realized that we missed having brat or that thing that we could put turkey and avocado on or whatever it was. I mean, we have certainly did not pizza, that was just total in a way.
So we came up with these products, the products of vegetable-based sandwich thins. So no processed carbs, no empty carbs, nutrient-densed. We were really working on getting more vegetables in our diet and so just a lot with us to kind of kill two birds with one stone by having this bread substitute but also cutting vegetables as a base of it. So the fiber and the carb, the low carb keeping our glycemic index level was helped harder of what we wanted. So we have the veggie sandwich thins and the pizza crusts were the two’s that we’re going to market with currently and leave that probably 12 total products in our line at this point. Have some other ideas still on the works.
Doug Holt: And I had been fortunate enough to have both of these products and they’re absolutely amazing. And I’m not just saying that, it fooled me for sure of what I was eating. And I’m also trying to be health conscious and I would never have guessed that I was eating something different. What made you decide that you had to come up with this unusual concept and made it so good? When did the idea start for doing this and actually coming to full vision for a full product?
Jeanne David: The idea started almost 2 years ago really. It was about 18 months ago. And again, really just out of our own personal need and desire. There was no broad out there that we would eat because of the carb content on it and just the emptiness of it, we didn’t feel like we wanted to use those calories in that way. And again, we were really trying to get more vegetables in our diet. May if you’re looking for 5 servings of vegetables a day, really, when you start focusing on that and vegetables, not lettuce, you know, nutrients and vegetables, it can be cumbersome.
So that’s really where the whole project started. And so, I was like, “Wow, on the revolution as the bread industry.” I mean, bread is like one of our huge staples in our diet and it’s causing havoc in the health of our country because what the carbs do in our system, breaking down a sugar. So yeah, that had just became such a passion for us.
Doug Holt: Such a unique product to have here in Santa Barbara, how was the business community been for you?
Jeanne David: It’s been great. Everybody has been so supportive from our banker having a product launch for us and just everybody has bought the product. The business is that I’m kind of calling my paper guy who did some contour tiers and he has been through the process a little bit with whole food so he has given me some help along the way and he’s gone before me. And I want to do the same for people coming behind me as we’re moving to Whole Foods and kind of go through their process. So it’s been great, a lot of collaboration of business community here. It’s fantastic for small businesses.
Doug Holt: You mentioned Whole Foods and we talked about that a little bit off-air but that’s a really exciting news for you and for our company in Santa Barbara and the business community here. So tell us a little bit more about what’s going on.
Jeanne David: Well when we conceived this, we really decided it wasn’t really necessarily a little local products that we wanted to have. If we were going to do this, we wanted to go really national distribution model and so that’s what we’ve been doing up from day one is really building a strong solid foundation and an infrastructure that would support kind of an expansive growth pattern, so that’s what we’re set for.
Whole Foods contacted us which was amazing. So looking forward to as really amazing in Santa Barbara and she contacted us, you have heard a few of her bios and heard about the product and wanted to get it in our store, so that’s perfect. We began going through that process which can be quite cumbersome. I just stacked with her and poured the right salt like I’ve been through survival of the fittest. And we just finished our final facility audit on Tuesday. Actually, we’re set to go in on March 1st.
So the reason that that’s exciting to us, not that the other stores aren’t, we loved Isabella Gourmet, it was our first run and will continue to be kind of our flagship store for Santa Barbara. But for us, what’s attractive is again because we set up, have a national distribution model as our goal, Whole Foods really allows you to do that to begin getting into their other stores and get distribution and then donation-wide. And we feel like their market is a good market for our product.
Doug Holt: And that’s fantastic. And then I know there’s other, we don’t have to mention them all right now but I know it’s growing. If there’s other places throughout Santa Barbara that also sell the product, I know you guys were expanding that you’ve shared with me. What are some of the entrepreneurial challenges that you faced when you thought, “Hey, I have kind of a better mouse trap. I have a better bread that actually allows you to have your vegetables and the satisfaction of a quality product, where are the challenges you’ve kind of faced along that way?
Jeanne David: There’s always challenges and it start out anything you got to do. I would tell people, “If you knew what you were getting into, you would never have started it. In the beginnings of things unless you don’t know that” and really, it’s kind of like every day is a new day and every obstacle, I look at it as, “Okay, this is just an obstacle that we just have to figure out a way to overcome.”
So there’s been lots, a vegetable-based product that ours is and a baked plant-based product like ours is has definitely had so unique challenges. Being the first one to market with our product unique as this, the packaging of it a little as a whole science. So because our product is more [09:10] like Brad, Brad is a dry product when you go to package it. So it definitely how the challenge is, I don’t know that you want me to go into each individual one but the main thing I say is it always it’s going to start-up. We have investors come to the table as soon as we kind of did our product lunch. So that was a tremendous blast thing. So obviously, funding is always an issue for start-ups, so we’ve had people believed in our products from the beginning and we’ve been taking each hubs cool as it comes and just finding a way to overcome it.
Doug Holt: Of all the start-ups and you guys obviously have with the tremendous growth that’s been happening that I have seen in town. And I know that a lot of our audience are business owners and executives and a common thing of course is two-fold. One is, “How do I get my kids to get more vegetables in their diet?” But also as a busy entrepreneur, “How do I find a way to eat healthy?” And is that something you guys start out to actually accomplish those goals and answer those problems?
Jeanne David: Absolutely, you really hitting it right on the note. I mean our tagline for our plan is “Vegetables in disguise.” So we knew that young moms or any moms who wanted to get more vegetables in their kids would love the fact that they could give their kid this sandwich thin, they don’t know that its vegetables at all and they’re just eating it. I have a great friend of mine who has a 2-year-old who will sit there and eat the whole pack if she left some. A whole pack is which is a pack of 6 and they’ve just had 6 servings of vegetables. And so, it’s pretty unique and pretty mind-boggling because when you’re eating it, it does not taste like vegetables but it’s 75% cauliflower.
And so, it’s not like cauliflower-flavored or vegetable-flavored like the other products out in the market, they’ve got vege chips and things like that which really just have some vegetable not even pure ray and had a vegetable spices in it and these are actually, the content of them is vegetable. So that’s amazing!
The other convenient thing that’s when you’re trying to eat healthy and you’re on-the-go, it’s really hard to make a salad and bring that to work whereas, you can have this and grab them. The sandwich thins are 40 calories a piece. The pizza crust is just 100 calories a piece. So two of the sandwich thins and some turkey and half an avocado on it just sets you for 4 hours and gives you what you need nutritionally. You feel very faciated because you’re eating a nutrient-densed product as opposed to anti-calories like bread would give you.
So it’s very interesting how satisfying it is. I tell people all the time, I just take one piece a bread and put turkey in halves and avocado in there and I’m done for 4 hours and it’s so satisfying. So again, it was born out of our need for this product.
Doug Holt: I mean, I can attest to that. My wife as I’ve told you is gluten-intolerance. So she can’t have gluten in her diet or she’ll get violently sick and that’s kind of a constant battle for us is most gluten-free products is I think is horrible at someone that gets a lot of the gluten. This is the first time we can actually share our product together and have the same meal that both of us don’t feel like we’re missing out. We can have a kind of a cheat meal-make pizza but actually have a healthy pizza where you feel faciate and you’d feel good about yourself afterwards, so it’s been an amazing opening for us.
Jeanne David: Yeah. The whole gluten-free thing is really interesting. It’s a huge market segment obviously and sector. We definitely will go after that sector but it’s been 2 years now and what people are beginning to realize that gluten-free is really important if you’re still [13:12] and medically need to not have gluten in your diet. But other than that, people have felt, “Oh, ’cause it’s gluten-free it’s healthy.” But what we found is that all of these products have so many carbs still. They’re still loaded with carbs, they’ve just taken out the gluten.
And so, you still have the empty carbs there that spiked your blood sugar that have the insulin come in to bring it down and that’s what our products are really specifically target to is to keep the glycemic index level all day in your body so you’re not having the up and the down of your blood sugar which is the basis for information in the system.
Doug Holt: I’m amazed when I look at gluten-free products, how much sugar they have in there and its worst and drink in a can of soda mostly likely. You try to eat something healthy and then you’re just loading your body with horrible food for the most part.
Jeanne David: Right.
Doug Holt: It absolutely shocked me.
Jeanne David: Right. And carbs as well, even if the nutrition panel on the back doesn’t say sugar maybe 2 or 3 whatever it is, that is the carb count is high, most of us know that that means that its being converted into sugar in our body. So the carb count is huge to avoid that issue.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. Well, let me tell you kind of a curveball here and it’s a question I’d like to ask a lot of people. Let’s say, you’re walking State Street, you take a left on Coda and all of a sudden, there’s a time machine there. And Jeanne, you’re able to go back in that time machine and talk to yourself when you first came up with this idea. When your family is sitting around, you have this concept, you have this amazing product, what advice now would you give yourself then?
Jeanne David: Hmm. I would say, probably to enjoy the journey more and not the so intense and focused about it. When you are start-up, there’s so many things that you got so overwhelmed with and stressed about. So I would say, looking back, just enjoy those time, take each day as it comes and really kind of hold each day as you have it and not stress about the journey.
Doug Holt: Great advice. That’s actually of something very common we hear from almost all the start-ups and people are listening to the show have heard that too. So have you been able to do that at this point?
Jeanne David: I think I’m better at it now and I’m 18 months out from really the inception. I thought the concepts for a couple of weeks actually. The whole concept came to me. I mean I had pretty much the full line within a week and just thought that because I brought another product to market previously and I knew that.
With this one, I was just so passionate about the health benefits as the products and how I really felt like it could start this huge trend in our country. And how exciting would that be to change that, to really be part of this paradigm-shift going on to the outer aisle of the grocery store which is where our name comes from and that’s why we picked the name we did when we finally landed on a name because we want to be that umbrella at this paradigm-shift going on in food today.
It might be Paleo, Mediterranean, it might be DASH, it’s lots of different things but we want to be that umbrella for the whole movement away from processed foods and to the outer aisle of the grocery store, just shopping back, getting back down to basics.
Doug Holt: Which I absolutely love. And being in the fitness industry for as long as I have, I’m very familiar with the Outer Aisle concept but most of the people listening probably aren’t, so can you explain a little bit more about what that is?
Jeanne David: So the Outer Aisle concept is if you go on to a grocery store, it is known that the perimeter of the store tends or referred to as the “outer aisle” is where you want to shop if you’re looking for the basics, a healthy food in the store. The middle of the store is your processed food, that’s boxes, cans, all of the processed food that goes into our diet.
And frankly, if you really want to eat healthy, you just skip the whole middle of the store and get back to basically protein and food and vegetables those based of your diet, you can have some people Boochie’s, some people don’t or that’s part of that mix. Some people do meat, some people don’t but the protein and the basic foods and vegetable foods what the Outer Aisle is about.
Doug Holt: That’s fantastic. You’ve been gracious of your time, I know you’re busy. But if there’s someone listening who has kids, who’s having a hard time getting vegetables in their diets, is there any recommendations that you can give them?
Jeanne David: My gosh, buy our products and you’ll have a blast with them. Your kids will beg to have dinner on our products. We were doing pizzas obviously with them. The case to thee is on two other pizza crust, we use [18:11] a lot and that’s such as a hit with the kids. You can make some fresh guacamole with just a fresh avocado, top it with that and your kid is actually eating vegetables and some goat gouda. So it’s really a fun product and people are doing things like pancakes in the morning with that, breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, it’s just so many different things that’s really exciting to see all the different creations that our customers are doing. So for kids, yes, they love it and they will never know. If you don’t tell them cauliflower is in it, they will never know. Nobody has ever guessed actually that it was made of cauliflower in a blind taste test and nobody has ever guessed it.
Doug Holt: I had no idea. My wife put it passed me. So I was very happy when I found out though.
Jeanne David: Yeah.
Doug Holt: It’s just a good way getting that in there.
Jeanne David: Yes.
Doug Holt: Jeanne, if someone wants to find out more about you and more about Outer Aisle, where would they go?
Jeanne David: Well, you go to our website, OuterAisleGourment.com and there’s contact information there.
Doug Holt: Okay, fantastic. And then is there any last thing advice you’d want to give to any entrepreneurs or people out there that are looking at starting their own business or from the Santa Barbara community?
Jeanne David: I would say, one day at a time. Just overcome each obstacle as they come and the big thing to me about challenges, challenges are just there to make you learn and grow. So what is it that a challenge is preventing? You asked, and look at it as an opportunity to grow and learn something new and to stretch yourself a little bit in that growth.
Doug Holt: Fantastic. Jeanne, thank you so much for being with us again. I’m really excited to see and hear about you guys in Whole Foods and I’m sure we’ll be stopping by.
Jeanne David: Thanks so much, Doug. I really appreciate your time and having me on the program.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. Again, I want to thank Jeanne for being on the show with us today. And for those of you interested in getting Outer Aisle Gourmet products, you can go to OuterAisleGourment.com. You’ll also going to find them in local retail stores throughout Santa Barbara. And as always, please check the shown notes. You can get all the links and things that we mentioned in there. Just go to BrandedInnovation.com/SantaBarbara. You can get some show notes from this show as well as other shows and see what’s going on in the community. That’s a wrap for us today and make it a great week.
Announcer: That’s a wrap. For show notes and details on this episode, go to BrandedInnovation.com/SantaBarbara and don’t forget to leave us a review in iTunes if you love the show. We’ll see you next time on State Street.