We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Schexnaildre and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Merfs’ success has several contributing factors: a unique product, a ready market, an easy to reach target audience, and a great price. All of these combine to ensure Merfs is placed in the market in a way that’s accessible to our audience, and priced competitively enough to ensure consumers will purchase it. My personal success has relied upon goal setting, persistence, determination, and relentless pursuit. I know what I want, and I’m determined to get it. I have always had drive, I’m smart, and I know how to apply myself.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Merfs is a spicy food company that makes products for people who love bold flavors, big heat, and a commitment to quality and consistency. We have created a line of spicy condiments made with a variety of all natural and fresh ingredients and unique flavor combinations that you won’t find anywhere else. We deliver fun, sass, and excitement in every bottle, and we say yes to living a passionate, bold life where every meal is a chance to make a friend or learn something new. We want to nourish your soul by nourishing your body, one deliciously spicy bite at a time. Merfs is the company it is today because I spent the first 3 years running the streets cold calling restaurant and retail stores. I never took no for an answer, and I diligently worked until I had well over 150 wholesale accounts. I turned those wholesale accounts into profitable relationships with food service distributors, and I continue to relentlessly pursue new accounts and relationships that ensure Merfs will continue to grow. Growing a business is never easy, but if you keep the end goal in sight (in my case to sell Merfs for millions), showing up to work everyday is a little bit easier. I believe in the principle of “when I sell my company”, not “if I sell my company”.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Wow! A weeklong trip to Denver: what a dream! I would take them for a hike in Nederland, and visit the Mountain People’s Co-op for a sandwich. I’d then take them to see the graffiti art in RiNo, and we’d eat barbecue at Smok in the Source. I’d then take them out for some axe throwing on South Broadway, and finish that up with a coffee at Pablo’s on 6th, a Denver coffee institution. I’d take them to a music show at Bluebird theater, and grab a pizza at Blue Pan on 12th. I’d then take them to a theater show at Denver Center for the Performing Arts and out to drinks at the Family Jones.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There’s no doubt that other people have been an incredibly important part of Merfs’ success. I was working at Sputnik back in 2012, and I met Aaron Wagner, an aspiring ketchup maker. He’s now the owner of Elevation Ketchup, and he has shared an abundance of knowledge with me over the years that has been instrumental in Merfs’ success: filling pot designs, restaurant contacts, and so much more. I also owe a great debt of gratitude to my dad, Rene Schexnaildre, who owns a financial consulting company. Without his financial experience, I wouldn’t have known how to manage cost, set prices, and all the other accounting things that come with running a business. Finally, Maura Gramzinski is a dear friend and confidante who owns Red Camper’s deliciousness, a boozy jam line that is absolutely delectable. We have shared tips and tricks of the trade, cried on each other’s shoulders, and weathered the hardships of owning food manufacturing companies together. With her support, the darkest days are always made lighter.
Susannah Mcleod, Mcleod9Creative