Editor’s Note: Delightfully Hot has been named to The Story Exchange’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide.
During the Covid lockdowns of 2020, Lauren Glenn and her husband began experimenting with a spicy business idea: DIY hot sauce kits. The couple had run a successful wedding photography studio before the world shut down, but decided to research some new business ventures when the future of the wedding industry became uncertain. After ordering some hot sauce kits online, Glenn found most of them disappointing – and saw an opportunity to make her own. That was the beginning of Delightfully Hot, a company selling kits that allow heat aficionados to create six different hot sauces, each with different heat levels and flavor profiles, from the comfort of their kitchens. Today the Jacksonville, Florida, mompreneur is proud to have found her niche in the food world – and to offer job opportunities to fellow moms.
Here’s our lightly edited Q&A, from The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project.
Tell us about your biggest success so far.
Employing mothers who are in the same position that I was once in. When I had very young children, I desperately wanted to get out of the house and do something to make money and feel independent, while having the flexibility to do so during school hours. But I couldn’t find any opportunities of the sort.
Now, I hire a seasonal team of local moms who help during our busiest seasons. These are women who need flexible, safe places where they can feel independence while their children are at school. Over time, they have become friends. Creating these jobs is something I’m extremely proud of, especially when they say: “Thank you – this is exactly what I needed in my life.”
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Sales. Even though I have over 20 years of experience selling services as a photographer, moving products is a different beast. Our customer base is evenly split between men and women – and we’ve recently shifted our strategy in light of that. As a woman in the spicy food world, it often feels like I’m speaking into the wind when trying to engage potential male customers – while my husband can say the same things, and get immediate feedback. Now, we split them up. I speak to our female customer base, and my husband speaks to our male customer base. So far, this new strategy seems to be landing much better – and translating to increased sales.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
Don’t do everything alone. Find mentors, networking groups and business coaches – and utilize local resources designed to assist small businesses.
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
I think back on how far I’ve come, and the possibilities that lie ahead. I was a shy wallflower of a child – scared of my own shadow and afraid to speak up. Now, however, I can lead business groups and feel confident in using my voice and sharing my experiences. Thinking about how far I’ve come pulls me out of any funk.
What is your go-to song to get motivated on tough days?
“The Man” by Taylor Swift.
Who is your most important role model?
My mother, Anne. She’s a female business owner as well, and paved the way for me. She was the first female general manager of a hotel in Jacksonville, Florida, and eventually she started her own event planning company. She has almost no fear of breaking glass ceilings – I admire that about her. ◼