DCS: HEB here we come!

Hola DCS family,

It’s been a while! Two months since our last update and we promise it’s only been this long due to the lab time needed to solidify and finalize our partnership with our new friends and vendor … HEB! Exciting stuff huh?!

You will officially be able to buy DCS on HEB store shelves on April 4th. We have a lot to do between now and then to make this launch happen, so this update is pretty short. Mainly, I want to highlight two big things going on in our world:

  1. HEB details
  2. DCS Sponsorship at Mockingbird Fest at Hemisfair park March 5th (the only place we will  be selling salsa between now and the HEB launch)

Let’s Dive in!

HEB:

We had the pleasure of speaking with Mark at HEB in November after our wonderful friend Julie Cohen wrote and released the DCS article in the Sunday SA Express News. They really loved the story of how we started, fell down, picked ourselves back up and continued to figure out how to make this salsa business happen! Susie, Kelly, Ernest, and I went down that same week to meet them and introduce our unique grilled salsa. They really liked it and wanted to help us bring our story and our salsa to their customers. Please keep in mind that we had just launched online sales and were still trying to put together pitch ideas for retailers!

Moving from making salsa in small batches to very large ones, and thinking of how to get it to all the stores they were planning to release in, required a lot help. The team at HEB (specifically Mark and Jennifer) have provided that help the past 8 weeks – working with us and their co-packer to solidify all the operations and logistics needed to make the April 4th launch date a reality. We still have a little ways to go, and have had to make some adjustments to allow for scale, but we’ve kept the ability to continue to “Grill” our ingredients on the DCS5000 and maintain the DCS taste y’all know and love!

Mockingbird Fest:

(All the details of the event here http://bit.ly/1WcOTin)

DCS will be set up in the Yanaguana Gardens at Hemisfair Park on March 5th, 2016 from 10am-6pm, with a tentScreen shot 2016-02-10 at 10.47.09 AM and boxes of tasty delicious Dom’s Chop Salsa for sale. This is the only day between now and the HEB April 4th launch date that we will be selling salsa. We would love to see our DCS family members visit us at the event and purchase their favorite flavor of DCS! We will also be one of the sponsors representing the music for the day, and will be set up right by open music area so you can salsa eat and salsa dance if you like at the same time! 🙂 The event is free, and will have amazing food and beer from local breweries including one of my absolute favorites Ranger Creek! Come down have fun and visit with us!

We wouldn’t be here friends and family without all of your love and support. We humbly thank you again for continuing to push us on this endeavor, and we will keep climbing! 🙂

That’s all I have for now, but will definitely be letting everyone know more details on the what, when, and where happenings in the DCS world!

Dom & the DCS Team

 

DCS: We’ve launched!

Hello DCS Family,

Exciting stuff happening in the last month! First, I want to throw a huge high-five to Julie Cohen (@julieannacohen) at the SA Express-News. We truly want to thank her for spending time with us over the last couple months, capturing our story and sharing it with everyone in San Antonio. We love this city (and of course our Spurs!), and could not have asked for a better telling of it. Julie, you and your team are awesome!

If you haven’t seen it, and are interested in how DCS got off the ground – check it out here!

Let’s dive in to updates!

DCS Launch: Online ordering on our website to start!

It was a mad dash to get test batching completed last month at our co-packer, but we were able to get all processes in place to ensure DCS is made the same way. W00t! With the news article releasing Nov 8th, we decided to make online ordering available online for anyone in the U.S. before we started approaching retailers to carry it on shelves.

The Good: We’ve had several orders over the past week and a half for San Antonio and surrounding area come in, and have had a chance to talk directly with some of our customers about the salsa! We’ve also had a few out of state folks that were excited to have it shipped to them!

The Bad: Shipping is a bit expensive for anyone outside of Texas because of the weight/jar and we are not shipping enough to get some of the discounts large fulfillment centers provide. We will be working over the next couple months to find the right fulfillment center for our product, and hopefully solve this with flat rate shipping pricing soon. Appreciate the patience!

First Vendor:

Rackspace Hosting is officially Dom’s Chop Salsa’s first customer! It only seems right that the company, family, and friends that helped us pursue this venture will be our first customer. Rackspace has signed Five Senses Foods, LLC to provide DCS to the Customer Experience Center where they will gift it to customers that visit in person, and allow Rackers to send as gifts! We are blessed and thankful for this support, and look forward to having our little ol’ South Texas salsa as gifts in the hands of our Rackspace customers! Huge thank you to Rackers William Alberts, Steve Priolo, Melissa Gray, Heidi Fisher, and the CEC team for making this happen!

The BIG Question: When will Dom’s Chop Salsa be on Store shelves?

I’ve received several phone calls over the past week and a half from folks here in SA wanting to get their hands on our tasty salsa from a store shelf here locally. Trust us, we want this too! That said we’ve been fortunate to have had contact with a local store that wants to help bring our salsa to everyone! 🙂 I would love to share more detail, and when the time is right we definitely will. For now, we have a lot ahead to make this happen, but know that we’re working non-stop to get it done! Fingers crossed my friends!

We’ve come a long way in the 8 months since deciding to make our small DCS business into a full-blown manufactured food goods company, and we still have a journey ahead. We cannot say thank you enough for all the support we’ve received, and continue to receive every day. It’s overwhelming, humbling, and motivating and will continue to push it as far as we can take it.

We’ll keep everyone updated on progress once a month as we have so far, and if you need me for anything at all please do not hesitate to call or text me at 210-748-7915 or email me at grillin@domschopsalsa.com.

We luv ya’ll! Thank you!

Dom & Team DCS

DCS: Almost to the finish line!

Hola DCS Family!

We want to thank everyone for their support and patience while we work through the very large checklist we’ve got to get DCS to release! Our progress as a team has been good, but I personally feel I’ve not been able to prioritize a few important things and want to quickly address below:

  • I’ve not done as good a job communicating updates as I could be and am going to work to fix this.
  • We are truly blessed to have an awesome network of friends and family that have offered to help us sell DCS through contacts they have at various stores and locations, and we have not done a good job following up on this. This is being prioritized and we will start reaching out soon to those that offered help!
  • Lastly, due to unforeseen circumstances we had to push back our DCS official release to October 30th. Susie, Ernest, Kelly and I are all working hard to complete the final items on our checklist and feel good about this date moving forward!

Here’s what we’ve been working on and/or are pushing to get complete by the October 17th pre-release date!

Labels:

  • Each flavor now has its own UPC code for partnerships with local retail stores. This was fun to knock out – http://www.gs1us.org/get-started
  • The picture for this update is the final label Ernest knocked out and we are ready for print! Big shout out to Jason Bollinger and Kevin Uplinger for their review in this process on nutritional facts.
  • We are using April at International Printing & Packaging for label production, and they have been great in helping us meet our test batch dates next week!

DCS 5000: Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 10.48.50 AM

  • We ran into a bit of delay with the company supplying the custom conveyor belt systems and they did not arrive to BR Pits to install until last Wednesday. We are still looking good for test batching next week and I am excited to see the first 200 jars of each flavor roll off the production line!
  • Here’s a pic of the DCS 5000 without the conveyor belts and lids…It’s a beast!!

DCS Website:

  • Kelly and Ernest have been be working on the eCommerce, salsa subscription, shipping functionality and layout this week and it looks great! They should have everything completed and ready for jars to be sold online to all of you by the end of October.
  • Order sizes online will be 3, 6, and 12 jars packs, with the ability to order salsa on a subscription basis. Our first ever SaaS (Salsa as a Service)

DCS Launch Event:

This will be a dual celebration event as we will have our longtime friends, and DCS addicts, The Cinderleaf hosting their 20th Anniversary that evening with a live performance. This is one best bands in San Antonio and we love that the manager at Rebar, Chris, was able to let us co-host the event.

We are excited to recognize some of our IndieGoGo campaign contributors with awesome DCS gifts and we will also have salsa available for purchase! 600 jars of the DCS good stuff (200 of each flavor – Mild, Medium, and Hot).  Fingers crossed – we will also have some of our newly designed t-shirts available for sale. Rock out in DCS gear!

Here are the deets:

  • Rebar on Broadway on October 17th
  • 7 – 8p.m.: Meet & greet, have some drinks and get the new labeled DCS in your hands!
  • 8 – 8:20p.m.: The DCS story from Team DCS – Dom, Susie, Ernest & Kelly
  • 8:20 – 9p.m.: IndieGoGo Family & Friends recognition
  • 9 – 10p.m.: Festivities conclude and move to the outdoor patio bar. Last chance to buy your grilled salsa!
  • 10p.m. – ?: The Cinderleaf takes the stage and rocks your salsa infused socks off!

We hope you can come join us in the celebration and we can’t wait to see you there!

Have an awesome week folks!

Dom

Balance: The Struggle is Real

Hola DCS Family!

First things first, I have to give a huge high five, hug, and thank you to my team DCS members Susie Mendiola, Kelly Long, and Ernest Flores. Without your hard work, we wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are now – One Love!

Everyone who knows me personally knows I’m an open book so I wanted to share some personal thoughts that I haven’t had time to get on paper until now. Don’t worry – business updates coming later this week. 🙂

The big thing for me lately? It’s all about balance.

Susie and I have full time careers plus two of the best kids in the world: Josh in 10th grade and Isabella in 4th. Every week we have practices to get them to, tournaments and games to attend, homework to help finish, a house to maintain, family members to visit, Sunday mornings at St. Anthony, and … you get the picture.  That doesn’t include the unplanned/planned things that come along every week that keep you running non-stop from the start of morning to hitting the pillow at night. Does this sound familiar? I’m sure it does!

This is the normal routine for most of you trying to balance the time blocks in any given day while maintaining sanity when something comes in like a wrecking ball and knocks everything out of whack. Aww naw! Good ol’ fashion real life. Add starting and maintaining a salsa business to the list and it’s a busy time in the Mendiola household!

I mention this because it’s easy to have your day fly by and realize that even though you were able to hit 100% of the “need to complete” items, you only hit 40% of the “want to start” items. This has been a struggle for us – sometimes it’s hard to fit the DCS start-up into the “need to complete” checklist for the day. And this isn’t unique to me and Susie Q … all of our DCS team members juggle the same.

We prioritize family and careers first. What extra time we can grab, we put into this product. Time is really the only cost we’ve paid since deciding to release DCS as a certified product. Time is easily more valuable than any dollar amount but sometimes it’s easy to say “I have 30 minutes free and should work on DCS … but I really just want to binge on Netflix”. You laugh, but I’ve been there and you have too! No shame y’all. We all need to find balance. Sometimes we make great progress on DCS in a given week, and sometimes other things stack up and we make very little. So, we’ve found some things that work.

1. Enjoy who you work with. This is critical. Part of what pushes me is that this team enjoys working with each other. We all bring different skills, talents and personality to the table and it works. It makes locking ourselves in a room for 8 hours a lot easier to handle.

2. Motivate each other. When I get a text on the weekend with a to-do item checked off the list, I want to jump in and work on mine. We hold each other accountable and push each other to do better.

3. Do something different. DCS is so unrelated to other things we all have going on it becomes something exciting for our brains to focus on in a new way. It keeps us stimulated and going!

4. Stay positive. There’s a lot going on and sometimes it starts to feel overwhelming. When that happens, I go to my DCS happy place and remember how important this is. It really makes a difference.

We truly thank everyone for their support and patience while we work through the large checklist we have to DCS release. Thank you again for taking the time to give my personal stuffs a read. Now, I have some House of Cards to catch up on. 😉

Dom

DCS: State of the Union

Hello DCS Family!

It’s been an exciting past couple weeks and the fun continues. First and foremost, we want to thank everyone who has helped spread the word of DCS and our IndieGoGo fundraiser! Your shares, likes, comments, reviews, and contributions are truly appreciated, and have been instrumental in getting us this far. Keep spreading the word my friends…you’re doing awesome.

We’ve consolidated everything into 3 simple buckets and want to provide updates on where we are in our path to launch.

Business and Financial:

Investor news – Susie and I knew we were going to need a small business loan beyond IndieGogo and as long time Rackers approached Graham Weston with the opportunity to help mentor us in this process. We want to give a huge THANK YOU to Graham for his partnership moving forward through launch and beyond!

Vendors/Distributors – Thanks to fellow Racker Crystal Koepke we sent our initial pitch sheet and jars of DCS to the salsa purchasing agent at HEB. We are excited at the possible partnership with one of the largest distributors in Texas.  The path continues and we will be going through required channels in submitting DCS with additional suppliers. The following are the list of stores we starting with.

  • Central Market
  • Whole Foods
  • World Market
  • Trader Joes
  • Specs
  • Buccees
  • Tops Markets (New York grocery store interested in DCS)
  • San Antonio Local Farmers Markets – Pearl, etc.
  • If you can think of anyone else – reach out!

Marketing:

Website – Our site received a major makeover in the past month, and we want to give a huge shout out to Team DCS for the work they are doing to add more content and features. Version 3.0 with ecommerce functionality, testimonials, recipes, DCS5000 pics and more will be coming in August. Great stuff!

IndieGoGo – We are working on designs for the sticker, Limited edition T-shirt, Founders Polo, Launch party venue and line up, and many other little gifts for the release in September. We can’t wait to get you dressed in DCS.

PR Media Outlets – Our first ever article was written on DCS this past week by Jessica Elizarraras @SAcurrent – read it here! We will be reaching out other media outlets to see if we can drop some DCS by their offices for some taste testing.

New Label – We have a new Label! Great job by Team DCS in getting this finalized and ready for print! We love all the feedback and are happy everyone loves it!

Manufacturing and Operations:

DCS 5000 – Sergio owner of B&R Custom Pits has been helping us bring our custom design to life! We nailed down the meshing system the custom conveyor belt will be using on both barrels and construction with kick off in early July. Fabrication of the DCS 5000 will take about 8 weeks and we’ll update with photo’s as it goes into production!

DCS Spice Kits – Tim Bolner and SA Fiesta Spice Company is now in partnership with DCS and is helping us nail down our exact batch kit size.

Co-Packer – Now all set with our exact Processes and Procedures for batching all three flavors of Traditional, Happy and Scorpion, they are preparing for the first test run in September once the DCS 5000 is completed! I personally can’t wait for this!

Thanks:

Lastly, Susie and I want to give a huge High Five and shout out to Ernest Flores & Kelly Long for being a part of Team DCS! They have spent many nights and weekends working with us on the items above. We could not be where we are without their help and greatly appreciate their commitment.

We’ve also been fortunate to have friends at work like Crystal Koepke, Ven Shamugam, and others jump in and assist along the way as well. We want to thank all of you for contributing when you saw an opportunity to help!

If you have any thoughts, ideas, or would like to salsa shop talk, please feel free to shoot me an email to dsjimendiola@gmail.com or call me on the DCS Bat phone at 210-748-7915.

Straight grillin’

Dom & Susie

DCS IndieGoGo is live!

Hello DCS Family –

Want more grilled salsa? Read on – we need your help!

The DCS Indiegogo campaign is LIVE and runs through July 22nd. Our goal is to raise $50,000 … and keep your mouths happy with our special grilled taste! Hitting this gets us:

A custom made stainless steel grill … the DCS 5000, designed just for us.
First official release of Dom’s Chop Salsa – bam!
What we need to make it all work – from labels to advertising to getting Dom some voice lessons (he sings to the tomatoes) … we’re gonna do it right.

How we need you:

1. Share our campaign. If you’re reading this on Facebook, click that button and get the word out to your friends. Tweet, Instagram, email Gammy in Ohio – whatever you can do to help us spread the word!
2. Donate if you can. We’ve got some fun giveaways and are all about getting DCS in the hands of those who love it.

More details can be found on the IndieGoGo campaign page here.

The support we’ve had from family, friends & the community is what has taken DCS this far. Your belief in us and what we know is a truly different product is what pushes us to go even further.

Straight grillin’

Dom & Susie

IndieGoGo starts June 15th!

IndieGoGo Campaign for Dom’s Chop Salsa starts June 15th!

Please help us bring this adventure to life!!

Lots of exciting stuff happening in the World of Dom’s Chop Salsa. We are ramping for the IndieGoGo DCS Crowd Fund go live date of June 15th! We will need everyone’s help on this, and hope that ya’ll will help share this across all your social channels to everyone you know. We need to hit our goal of 50k to make this happen, and greatly appreciate any and all help you can give to get DCS off the ground! We will have all the crowd fund info to share a little later next week, and appreciate everyone’s patience while we work through the details!

Straight grillin’

Dom & Susie

DCS: In the trenches

DCS project update on where we are at! (Somewhat shortened version – I can be verbose.)

DCS 5000
– The grill will cost around 24k to fabricate. This is a bit over the original cost we estimated, but as the surrounding shell and the conveyor belt system needs to be manufacturing approved stainless steel all around, the cost of this is a bit higher.
– We are working with our builder to determine if there are areas to cut cost without sacrificing quality

IndieGoGo Crowd Fund me:
– Completed about 75% to include story, perks, and team involved.
– Reaching out to various DCS family members to provide feedback on perks before June 15th launch. If you are interested please contact me via email or PM on FB.

Co-Packer:
– June 14th – Finalize recipes and manufacturing process for DCS Hot/Medium/Mild
– August 22nd – Nutrition Testing – Hot/Medium/Mild

Spice kits:
– Met with Tim Bolner at Fiesta Spices, and he will have spice kit costs for us by Friday June 5th

DCS website:
– Site is live and host only our Blog update for now
– Content shots will be done in the next two weeks to propagate the rest of the sites features.

Business Plan :
– We finished our Distributor Pitch, and have HEB/Central market as our first possible vendor reviewing it this week.
– Overall Business plan for Angel investors is till being created and should have done by end of week

DCS Marketing:
– We are meeting with both our Social media and Web article contacts this week to discuss the IndieGoGo Crowd fund reach options

Distribution:
If you know any purchasing agents at the below store please let us know. We need all the help we can get!
– Whole Foods
– World Market
– Sprouts
– Trader Joes
– Buccees
– Specs

We will work to provide an updates as often as possible, and again need everyone help with the IndieGoGo crowd fund campaign going live June 15th. If you have any questions, or want to help in any way, please email us at dsjimendiola@gmail.com or call us at 210-797-1579.

Straight grillin’

Dom & Susie