Believe it or not, 8 Myles would not be here today if it weren’t for Twitter, yes, Twitter! Myles always knew he wanted to start a business but he wasn’t sure what kind. He was living in Pennsylvania when he learned about a casting call for a cooking show called “America’s Best Cook.” As any resourceful millennial would, he sent out a tweet asking for advice: should he apply to be on the show? All it took was the support of one follower responding positively to push him to do it. His experiences on the show inspired the recipe for his first sauce.
8 Myles started making sauces in March of 2016, joined the Union Kitchen Accelerator in January of 2018, and pivoted to create frozen Mac ‘N Cheese in February of 2018. Since then, he has expanded his business throughout the Washington, DC region to sell at almost ten retail partners with over 20 store locations. 8 Myles provides the comfort and convenience customers crave.
Read more on how Myles has engaged with retailers and customers throughout the region, allowing him to grow his business:
What does your typical day look like? How do you balance production with sales?
My typical day starts around 6:30 am, checking emails for both jobs, first I go to my job as a construction project manager from 7am — 5pm. Throughout the day I’m checking my 8 Myles phone too for emails, conference calls, etc. After 5 I heard toward production at the kitchen from 6–10ish. Days I’m not doing production I’m doing business planning. Saturday and Sunday are typically filled with demos and dropping off samples to different stores.
It’s tough. I recently hired a part-time staff member to help manage this. I’ll shadow his work and do mine at the same time but some days I have to take off a full day to go over sales. I always feel like I’m not selling as much as I could be because I’m not hitting as many stores as I’d like to.
How do you pitch a buyer? Any funny/good stories?
I typically go in with samples and sales sheets and try to do it around lunchtime while they’re hungry. I go into details about my products and the company. I also show them a video we did where we blindfolded 10 people and had them try 8 Myles, Panera, and Amy’s and 9/10 preferred 8 Myles.
It’s always hard to catch the buyer in the store, normally the process takes a long time, you pitch it, they review it, and then you have to keep reaching out, but one time I pitched to someone around 11 am and they called me to onboard before I even got home.
What makes a successful demo?
The time slot is crucial! Proactiveness too. When I first started demoing years ago I was pretty passive. I quickly learned how to approach others, and how to be personable.
Do you have any good demo stories? Any bad stories?
Oh man, one time we were doing a demo and it was super windy and at one point the tent just picked up and literally flew away. A lot of funny demo stories also start with customer suggestions.
How do you handle people not liking your product?
So it’s funny, most people do. The only people who don’t like it are usually people who don’t like mac or have allergies. There was one time during a demo though where the crockpot wasn’t working and the mac was still slightly frozen.
What’s the best reaction you’ve received about your product?
The best is when they’re shocked and they’re like holy crap where is this, where I can buy it. When it’s so impactful that they just need it now. When someone says they can’t believe it’s frozen or “I need this every day.”
JANUARY 29, 2019 UNIONKITCHENDC.COM