Michelle Lewis of Spoonable started out making caramel sauce as holiday gifts and eventually, she says, it "seemed like a good thing to turn into a business." She already had one small business under her belt, making fresh dog food and selling it to pet stores and owners, but she was ready for a new venture.
"I have that entrepreneurial thing," she says, "I have to be doing something."
Though she says the dog food company never really took off, Lewis believes that the lessons she learned about marketing and sales have proven invaluable. "Even though this is for humans, I wouldn't be in 23 stores without that experience. Cold calling, all of that came naturally."
She still has a full-time job and makes 6-pound batches of caramel sauce in five flavors—classic plain, sesame, chili, peppered orange, and lavender—in a restaurant kitchen near her Clinton Hill apartment before going to the office. She still finds time to experiment with new products between production orders; she's working on a cranberry flavor.
For the holidays this year, Lewis is offering a one-pound jar of any of her flavors packaged with a wooden spoon in a hand-stamped reusable muslin bag, ideal for hostess gifts or office grab bags. "It took a while to find that damn spoon," she says, since she was looking for something particular. "It needed to look a little luscious," she explains, "and have some depth, not be too shallow." She eventually found what she was looking for on a website for Civil War reenactors. The holiday set is available through the Spoonable site or at many of the vendors listed there.
Her site also features recipes for people who are disciplined enough to do something with caramel sauce besides eat it directly out of the jar. Lewis explains that while it's "a classic on ice cream" or as a layer in chocolate-topped Millionaire's Shortcake, the rich sweetness can add a lot to salad dressings or the sauce for slow-cooked pulled pork. Take a look at SpoonableLLC.com.