Ins and Outs of a Craft Food Startup with Mrs. Marcys Homemades

Ins and Outs of a Craft Food Startup with Mrs. Marcys Homemades

Do you enjoy cooking? Did you have a eureka moment while working in your kitchen? Are you ready to turn your culinary skills into a full-fledged business? Launching a food business from home can be daunting, and you need more than just your passion for your product for your new brand to be a success.

Marcy Thornhill ventured into a food business that she never knew would bring her applesauce to different stores and even to other parts of the world. What started as a simple canning hobby quickly became a regional favorite in local stores. But, just like anyone in the food industry who starts a brand, it is acceptable to not know the whole road ahead. It is common to learn as you go along in building your brand. But, people must not forget to pause for a while to ask how far they want to go with their product.

In this episode, Marcy shares her interesting and exciting journey after her eureka moment while canning applesauce. She uncovers the process and challenges of manufacturing her products, designing a label, and distributing her homemade goods. She also affirms that starting a small business might be scary at first because you know what you don’t know, but if you are willing to learn, observe and know when to ask for help from the right people, this challenging journey will be worthwhile.

Virginia Foodie Essentials:

  • The scary part is not knowing what you don't know and wanting to partner with the right people who are going to really take your vision, help you to formulate it in a way that makes sense because they understand it. - Marcy Thornhill
  • Anyone who starts on this journey doesn't know what they don't know, and they are learning as they go. - Georgiana Dearing
  • Sometimes small brands try to pretend they're bigger than they are. You don't have to, because if you pretend, you're just going to get burned. -Georgiana Dearing

    Key Points From This Episode:

    • Not letting a wall stop you and arming yourself with some education are good tenets of an entrepreneur.
    • There are many regulations to selling your craft food at retail, and there are specific guidelines for package design.
    • Small brands should not pretend they're bigger than they are because they will just suffer the consequences. 
    • Research and education will keep you prepared for when an opportunity to partner with another sales or distribution channel comes along.
    • In the food industry, there are so many choices to make. There are so many directions you can grow your sales. Focusing on one channel at a time is key to steady, measured growth.
    • Growth has consequences, and it is important to regularly stop and think about how big you want to be.
    • A good co-packer is a manufacturing partner who will honor your recipes, and your process. They’ll be committed keeping your quality high, but allow you to be the brand owner with the vision and direction for your food products.
    • When a business is growing, business owners have to be prepared to shift from their old ways to new and innovative ways.

    More About the Guest:

    Finding herself with an abundance of time and apples from her home garden, Marcy Thornhill launched Mrs. Marcy’s Homemades from her home during the height of the pandemic. Thornhill says she was interested in preserving the bounty from her garden while creating a healthy snack for her family. Thanks to an appearance on Virginia This Morning, Thornhill soon began selling in retail stores like Southern States, The Market at 25th Street, and Pole Green Produce. The product line grew quickly, and now includes classic apple, strawberry, blueberry, and orange. Mrs. Marcy’s ultimate mission? To make all of her products “happy, healthy, and homemade.”

    Connect with Marcy Thornhill:

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    Full Transcript:

    Note: We use AI transcription so there may be some inaccuracies

    [00:00:00] Marcy Thornhill: Partner with the right people who are gonna really take your vision, help you to formulate it in a way that makes sense because they understand, but guide you. Because I've come across a lot of people who's I can help and they can't, or they won't. That's where you get nervous. 

    [00:00:18] Georgiana Dearing: Welcome to the Virginia Foodie Podcast where we lift the lid on the craft food industry and tell the stories behind the good food, good people, and good brands that you know and love.

    [00:00:30] Georgiana Dearing: If you've ever come across a yummy food brand and wondered how did they do that? How did they turn that recipe into a successful business? Then we've got some stories for you.

    [00:00:44] Georgiana Dearing: Hey, foodies. Welcome back to the podcast. I'm George Dearing, founder of VA Foodie, and I provide content marketing strategy and coaching for good food brands. I'm excited today because I'm speaking with Marcy Thornhill of Marcy's Homemades in Richmond, Virginia. If you've ever dreamed of taking a favorite recipe and turning it into a business, then this is the episode for you.

    [00:01:07] Georgiana Dearing: Marcy took what was a brand new hobby in the fall of 2020 and turned it into a regional retail brand in under two years. At the time of the recording, her applesauce was selling in about seven Richmond area stores, but she has more on the. Marcy is a person with a lot of energy. She doesn't let an opportunity slide by her or an obstacle, stop her.

    [00:01:30] Georgiana Dearing: In today's conversation, we talk about the incredible luck that she's had since her very first canning project was featured in a short spot on the television show, Virginia Today. Marcy Thornhill took her brand right from her home kitchen to the retail. It's not unusual for people to think of the packaged food industry as a solid second career or a transition to retirement, and Marcy is no different.

    [00:01:59] Georgiana Dearing: In our interview, Marcy outlines all the things she had to learn, the advice she's gotten from partners along the way, and some of the things you don't know that you don't know about retail sales. I'm sure you'll be as amazed as I was when you hear how much hard work Marcy has put into building her small craft food brand.

    [00:02:27] Georgiana Dearing: So I'm here today with Marcy Thorn Hill of Mrs. Marcy's Homemade, and I'm wondering if you could take a moment and do your own introduction to our listen. 

    [00:02:36] Marcy Thornhill: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. My name is Marcy Thornhill. I am the founder of Mrs. Marcy's Homemades, which is a woman-owned applesauce manufacturer here in Richmond, Virginia.

    [00:02:48] Marcy Thornhill: Started during the pandemic. 

    [00:02:50] Georgiana Dearing: Oh my. Yeah. That's why I had you on here because you started up in the pandemic times and you've had some pretty interesting success. Absolutely. 

    [00:02:59] Marcy Thornhill: It's been a whirlwind, that's 

    [00:03:00] Georgiana Dearing: for sure. So when I was doing a little research, I saw the clip on Virginia this morning, and it tells a little bit about your brand's origin and I thought maybe if you can just start at the beginning and share it.

    [00:03:11] Georgiana Dearing: I thought our listeners would be very interested. Sure. 

    [00:03:14] Marcy Thornhill: So as you know, during the pandemic in 2020, there was a big desire to hoard food. Stores were running outta food all over the place, and so I had apples that my husband and I had picked a Carter Mountain here in Virginia and I didn't want 'em to go back.

    [00:03:28] Marcy Thornhill: Mm-hmm. . So I decided to make apple sauce and canned, and I had never canned . I had never made applesauce . Literally, I just tried Googled and I said, okay, I'm gonna do. And it took off from there. Channel six saw my Facebook picture of my jar of applesauce and I said, Ooh, look, I made applesauce. And they aired it and people started inboxing me to order.

    [00:03:53] Marcy Thornhill: Oh my 

    [00:03:54] Georgiana Dearing: goodness. How much applesauce did you make in that first batch that got all the attention? 

    [00:03:59] Marcy Thornhill: I only made about five jars, . I just made five jars of apple sauce, 

    [00:04:04] Georgiana Dearing: so five jars. Really? That's such a small 

    [00:04:06] Marcy Thornhill: batch. It was. It was just using what I had and once I posted the pictures to Facebook, channel six, Virginia this morning, TV show, saw it and wanted to air it.

    [00:04:16] Marcy Thornhill: Once they aired it for that ten second spot, I think folks started sending me messages on Facebook. And Instagram wanted to order and wanted me to ship to Arizona and California people. I didn't know. Oh, oh goodness. Yeah, it took off really fast. So 

    [00:04:33] Georgiana Dearing: you had five jars, did you just say Yes and then think, oh my gosh, I gotta go back to Carter Mountain.

    [00:04:38] Marcy Thornhill: Exactly. , I said yes, and I got on my phone and did I. And had Wegman's deliver box. Then I tried to find out, okay, where do I find big boxes of Apples Restaurant Depot? So my husband and I went to Restaurant Depot and bought two big boxes and literally an Apple core, and we were doing it at home. And I said, okay, I need to legitimize this thing a little bit.

    [00:04:59] Marcy Thornhill: And so it went from there, . Oh my 

    [00:05:02] Georgiana Dearing: goodness. Oh my goodness. So you were definitely a cottage industry to start. Yes. Uhhuh, my man. So what month was that in the pandemic? 

    [00:05:12] Marcy Thornhill: That was October of 2020. 

    [00:05:16] Georgiana Dearing: Okay. So peak apple season, so easy to get your apples. How did you make that leap from shipping it to people who just saw you and wanted it to being carried at the market at 20?

    [00:05:29] Marcy Thornhill: Once I did that, I went to the grocery store. It made me see things very differently. So going into the grocery store, shopping, I started to see local, the sign. Local. Local? Local? Mm-hmm. . Really? Oh wow. I could put my stuff in here, and that's what I saw. I had no idea about local brands, never paid any attention until I started making applesauce.

    [00:05:48] Marcy Thornhill: And so I literally sent an email to the market at 25th Street and it said, Hey, I'd like to put my applesauce on your shelves. What do I need to. Oh my goodness. And that was it. I just asked and they told me what to do and what they needed from me. Yeah. 

    [00:06:02] Georgiana Dearing: Oh, that's great. You really lucked into some things.

    [00:06:04] Georgiana Dearing: Now I can see you and our fans can't see you, but I can see that you've got your products lined up behind you and they've got these really nice labels on them. When did all that happen? Designing a label that you need to do that for the market at 20. 

    [00:06:18] Marcy Thornhill: Yes, for the market at 25th, I had to go through, well, first, even before that, I had to be approved by the Virginia Department of Agriculture.

    [00:06:25] Marcy Thornhill: In order to get that approval, I needed to go through training and get certified, not just serve Safe, but I also got food manager certified. So I went through maybe a week long online training, taking tests. You had to pass the. And then I had to go through applying for a business license, which I couldn't get until I got V A C approved.

    [00:06:47] Marcy Thornhill: So it was a whole process before I could even go into a store. It was a lot of front end work. 

    [00:06:53] Georgiana Dearing: Oh my goodness. And so probably having that space of the pandemic. Gave you that time. I mean, because you have a job, right? This is not your only source of income. 

    [00:07:05] Marcy Thornhill: So I have a full-time job and during that time I was also adjunct professor at B C U.

    [00:07:11] Marcy Thornhill: Oh my goodness. . Yes. So I had two jobs, and when the pandemic hit, they shifted the way we were teaching. So they scaled down the number of adjuncts they needed. So I was kind of bummed about that, but it worked in my favor because it gave me time to make applesauce. So, and 

    [00:07:29] Georgiana Dearing: learn everything you had to do for your new business.

    [00:07:32] Georgiana Dearing: Lot 

    [00:07:32] Marcy Thornhill: learning, a lot of reading. It was a lot to learn about canning and jars and food. Yeah. Yeah, 

    [00:07:41] Georgiana Dearing: that is a lot. I mean, there's just so much safety and regulation that we have to adhere to, so, yeah. Yes. So you got into market at 25th. When did it actually hit the shelves? If October, 2020 is when you started, when were you delivering a case to market at 25th?

    [00:07:59] Georgiana Dearing: It 

    [00:07:59] Marcy Thornhill: was right around March of 2021. It gave me time to go through the trainings, get certified, and then chase down commissary kitchens and chase down getting contracts with kitchens and going to get the business license and getting. This is insurance and the labels, and learning how to get U P C codes because I had to have those and what was legitimate UPCs and where we're not.

    [00:08:25] Marcy Thornhill: So I had to do all that logistical stuff and I was learning. I had no idea what I was doing or how to do it. I was literally learning as I was going Googling and reading, I had no one to tell me, do this. Oh 

    [00:08:40] Georgiana Dearing: my goodness. Oh my goodness. So you were just self-taught all the way around. 

    [00:08:44] Marcy Thornhill: All the way around from beginning to end.

    [00:08:46] Marcy Thornhill: Yeah. 

    [00:08:47] Georgiana Dearing: So I have to ask you, did someone at the market at 25th, did they really give you the whole list of things? Did they kind of hold your hand through this or did they give you the list and then you showed up five months later and said, I'm. 

    [00:09:02] Marcy Thornhill: Kinda like that. Yeah. So she told me what I needed as far as U P C code.

    [00:09:06] Marcy Thornhill: She told me I needed a U P C, I needed a business license. I needed Department of Agriculture approval to manufacture applesauce. Those are the high level things I needed. And then once I started going down those rabbit holes, V D A had their requirements and the business license had their requirements, and UPCs had their requirements, and I mean, it was so particular down to the ounces of nutmeg.

    [00:09:31] Marcy Thornhill: It was in order. It was a lot of little nuances. Even down to my label and what could and could not be on my label and where it needed to be on the label. 

    [00:09:42] Georgiana Dearing: Oh my goodness. You really got indoctrinated and you were doing it all yourself, which is great. Kudos to you. There are a lot of times when I enter into relationship with a brand who has gotten to a certain point because they started out at farmer's markets.

    [00:09:56] Georgiana Dearing: But then they're ready to go to retail, and then it's like, oh, there's all this other stuff I have to do. So you're in the market at 25th and now you're in other stores. Where else are you being carried? So 

    [00:10:06] Marcy Thornhill: right now I'm at Southern States on Broad Street in Richmond and also Midlothian off ofa. I am in Elwood Thompson, in Carey Town, Gracie's Cottage, which is off of Midlothian.

    [00:10:19] Marcy Thornhill: I'm at Cross Brothers Grocery in Ashland and at Monticello in their gift shop and, um, online at the Virginia Living Store or R V a Agriculture. They have multiple farmers markets, so they kinda spread it around there and their. A lot of different places and I have a really new, exciting one that's actually coming tomorrow.

    [00:10:42] Marcy Thornhill: I don't know if I say anything or not. . 

    [00:10:44] Georgiana Dearing: Well, by the time this airs you'll be there. So where are you coming? Where will they find you next? So 

    [00:10:50] Marcy Thornhill: next I will be at Public Lands. Public Lands is a subsidiary of Dick's Sporting Goods and we will be in Charlottesville starting tomorrow. They're launching, I guess, a different series of Wilderness Store.

    [00:11:04] Marcy Thornhill: And so Ms. Marcy's Homemades will be part of their grocery shopping in their wilderness stores. 

    [00:11:09] Georgiana Dearing: Oh my goodness. So you're starting in Charlottesville, but does that mean you may be in all the public lands? 

    [00:11:15] Marcy Thornhill: That's the hope. We're gonna keep our fingers crossed for that. That's the plan. . So 

    [00:11:20] Georgiana Dearing: how many public lands are there right now?

    [00:11:23] Marcy Thornhill: As far as I know, I think there's about four. I think they're looking to expand. I'll be in one for now, but that is the goal. So with that, I have a whole new learning curve about to step into now cuz there's some other things I need to now learn that I've never had to do before. And what are those things?

    [00:11:42] Marcy Thornhill: Distribution. How do I get my applesauce to Pennsylvania and to Colorado or wherever? How do I do that cost effective? How do I package bulk because there may be a need for plastic. How do I do that with my recipe? I don't know. Do I take 'em like buckets of apple, sauces, , I dunno, , but I'm learn. I need to learn that part.

    [00:12:07] Marcy Thornhill: Now that's a big, big. So, 

    [00:12:09] Georgiana Dearing: yeah, so the good news is you've tapped into something that a lot of entrepreneurs aren't actually aware of. But when you get in with a big retailer, like a big box retailer, now Dick's is big box for sporting goods, public lands. Sounds like it's an incubator project for that company.

    [00:12:27] Georgiana Dearing: They only have four of them so far. But when you get into a big brand, there are a lot of ways to get in a piece at a time. Sometimes small brands try to pretend they're bigger than they are, and the answer is you don't have to, first of all, cuz if you pretend you're just gonna get burned at the end. But having someone who's willing to take you on in one store and then branch you out into the others, it is something that happens.

    [00:12:51] Georgiana Dearing: Yeah. When they find the brand that they wanna partner. 

    [00:12:55] Marcy Thornhill: I don't wanna eat the whole elephant. I know. I've had someone say, oh, you should go into Food Lion. Well, no, I'm small. And to manufacture the capacity they're gonna need, if each Food Lion in this region will want 20 cases times 10 stores, there's no way my little hands can do that.

    [00:13:15] Marcy Thornhill: No. Oh yeah. 

    [00:13:16] Georgiana Dearing: Yeah. That's a whole different thing. So there's a point where you have to stop and think, how big do I 

    [00:13:20] Marcy Thornhill: wanna be too? Exactly. Exactly. 

    [00:13:23] Georgiana Dearing: So I wanna talk a little bit about your product line. We've been talking specifically about applesauce. Mm-hmm. . But on your website you have other things like cider.

    [00:13:32] Georgiana Dearing: Can you tell me what else you're making? 

    [00:13:34] Marcy Thornhill: So from homemade, I do make the homemade applesauces and ciders. That's specifically what I make. I do offer on my website herbs because I like natural herbs. I have a green. And so I grow a lot of herbs and I dry them in package. And then I have teas because I like tea.

    [00:13:51] Marcy Thornhill: So I just offer different options for my shoppers as they come in to pick up orders. They like to, you know, browse around. So I do offer that. I do a lot of gift boxes. So with that it may be apple sauces and some package of tea and things. So I do a lot of, lot of gift boxes. I believe I do a ton. I've probably done about 70 gift boxes in the last four months.

    [00:14:14] Marcy Thornhill: I do a lot of custom gift boxes for teachers, for graduates. Moms, nursing mothers. I mean, I just do a lot of variety. People just say, can you put a box together for my grandma? She's 80. Sure. What is she like and how, oh my, 

    [00:14:27] Georgiana Dearing: that's a highly customized thing. . 

    [00:14:30] Marcy Thornhill: Yeah. You know, and I put something cute in there.

    [00:14:32] Marcy Thornhill: It might be a little book, it might be some grandma's side. You know, I just really making really cute and they absolutely love the boxes. Oh 

    [00:14:41] Georgiana Dearing: my goodness. Oh my goodness. Yeah. So that's a lot to manage. Your gift boxes are primarily direct to consumer in just online, right? Correct. 

    [00:14:50] Marcy Thornhill: Yes, yes. So how 

    [00:14:52] Georgiana Dearing: many people are on your team?

    [00:14:53] Georgiana Dearing: You were using commercial kitchens, but I saw you have your own 

    [00:14:57] Marcy Thornhill: manufacturing. I do. After that October of 2020, literally October, 2021, I was moving into my manufacturing center here in Richmond, and I have a team of one, which is me. It's still my mom, believe it or not, my 80 year old mother. Comes to help me peel apples.

    [00:15:17] Marcy Thornhill: She likes to sit and pour the apples. That's her thing. So right now it's just me. I do bring in kids sometimes to kind of intern and get a couple of hours, show them some things as far as the facility, but as far as cooking and prepping, it's on 

    [00:15:32] Georgiana Dearing: me. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. What kind of volume then are you able to do?

    [00:15:38] Marcy Thornhill: Woo. I can do about three, 400 jars a week. It depends on the orders. I'm starting to ramp up now because I have larger orders where people are ordering 6, 8, 10, 12 cases. So now I'm trying to make applesauce about three times a week just to get ahead of the game. So the good thing about applesauce is it can last a very long time.

    [00:16:00] Marcy Thornhill: So even if I make this overabundance, I know I have 18 months of shelf life, so they tend to go pretty quickly. I haven't had anything stay on the shelf line in three or four months. Mm-hmm. . 

    [00:16:12] Georgiana Dearing: Yeah, so it's all pretty fresh. I was thinking about that too because of apples and apple season, and there's certain times of years in Virginia when the apples you get aren't quite as tasty as , although making 'em into sauce is probably an okay thing to do.

    [00:16:27] Georgiana Dearing: It 

    [00:16:28] Marcy Thornhill: can be tricky though, apples because then you're dealing with strawberries and blueberries, and again, they're seasonal as far as the sweetness, so it's always the trick with fruit is getting just the right mix. 

    [00:16:39] Georgiana Dearing: Mm-hmm. . So in your applesauce product line, how many flavors. 

    [00:16:44] Marcy Thornhill: I have blueberry strawberry. I have original cinnamon, and I have a vegan and I have a peach possibly coming out if I feel so daring in the next month.

    [00:16:55] Marcy Thornhill: If I put the energy into actually doing it, that should be out in the next month. 

    [00:17:01] Georgiana Dearing: So vegan. I'm curious what in your applesauce would make it not vegan? 

    [00:17:05] Marcy Thornhill: Lots of people ask that. It's the brown sugar. Brown sugar is not a vegan product while it's processed with molasses. Part of the processing requires the use of a grinder, which has some animal bone, bone, something in the manufacturing.

    [00:17:23] Marcy Thornhill: It's not in the product. But it's way, it's ground and because there's an introduction of an animal in any capacity that makes it not a vegan product. Oh my goodness. 

    [00:17:34] Georgiana Dearing: I had no idea. You just taught the food person a food thing. I had 

    [00:17:38] Marcy Thornhill: no idea. Yeah. Yeah. I did a lot of research on that because I wanted to be sure, and that was the thing.

    [00:17:43] Marcy Thornhill: It's the milling process. That requires some type of animal something, something with bone. I do know that. I don't know if that's part of the grinder. It's not in the sugar, but it's part of the process. Oh, okay. 

    [00:17:56] Georgiana Dearing: Yeah. Wow. I had no idea. So in your vegan version, are you using a vegan sugar or 

    [00:18:03] Marcy Thornhill: some other agave plant-based?

    [00:18:06] Marcy Thornhill: An stevia plant-based. Oh, okay. Mm-hmm. . Wow. I 

    [00:18:09] Georgiana Dearing: had no idea, but there's probably vegans out there who are so happy that you're doing what you're doing. 

    [00:18:15] Marcy Thornhill: Oh, they are very happy and something really, really strict. Vegans they 

    [00:18:19] Georgiana Dearing: know. Oh, of course. Yeah. Yeah, 

    [00:18:22] Marcy Thornhill: because that's a brown sugar. I can't eat that. That's a very 

    [00:18:25] Georgiana Dearing: specific thing to know.

    [00:18:27] Georgiana Dearing: Yeah, so I was gonna ask about special flavors, but you said you're gonna be trying peach, possibly this summer. Yeah. So I'll stay tuned to see if that comes to fruition. ? 

    [00:18:39] Marcy Thornhill: Yes. Yes. . I like that. . 

    [00:18:42] Georgiana Dearing: But honestly, my biggest question is with you being the one person in having this sort of rocket launch to your brand, have you had a moment to stop and think of like, where does this end?

    [00:18:55] Georgiana Dearing: How far do I wanna? 

    [00:18:57] Marcy Thornhill: I have been doing that more lately and my long-term goal is retirement. Okay. Um, my husband, this is our retirement strategy and my long-term goal is not to be actually making the applesauce forever. But hopefully get to a point where I can hand it off to someone staying connected, but being so I'm not jarring and canning forever.

    [00:19:22] Marcy Thornhill: So that's the long-term goal is getting to something, a bigger manufacturing setting where I can hand that off. It's the goal. I don't know how that works though. Again, that's something I have to learn 

    [00:19:32] Georgiana Dearing: too. Oh, well, stay tuned. We can talk a bit so that what it sounds like is you are looking at co-packing in that instead of hiring a staff and training them and having them come in and be employees where you're paying salary or you're hiring 10 99 contractors, You are looking to find a manufacturing partner who will honor your recipes and your process and keep your quality where it is, but allow you to be the brand owner.

    [00:20:03] Georgiana Dearing: That 

    [00:20:04] Marcy Thornhill: will be so awesome. That's why I'm trying to learn. I'm hearing that co-packing language now. I'm like, okay, that's Snoop. I need to figure out how does that work and how do I, like you said, ensure the integrity of the. So it doesn't change. I have to learn that. That's something I have to learn. 

    [00:20:21] Georgiana Dearing: Well, you know, there's plenty of resources out there to help you find your way.

    [00:20:26] Georgiana Dearing: Are you a member of the Virginia Specialty Food and Beverage Manufacturing Association? They have all these bs. 

    [00:20:32] Marcy Thornhill: Sep, I think they sent me an email, so not yet. I didn't meet them at the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo. Mm-hmm. . And so that was one of the things on my list to do was to. I am 

    [00:20:44] Georgiana Dearing: a member. I'm a member as a service provider, but they have resources to help you find education.

    [00:20:50] Georgiana Dearing: There's a handful of co-packing facilities in Virginia, and then I recently just interviewed a woman who actually helps founders like you, Ashley Sutterfield. She helps people like you find the right next step for their business, so there's plenty of resources out there that would help you as you get to that point of making that decision of what to do next.

    [00:21:11] Georgiana Dearing: I have a 

    [00:21:12] Marcy Thornhill: feeling it's going that direction sooner than later. Yeah. So we'll see what 2022 brings about, but I have a feeling by closer to the fall I'll be making a decision to shift a little gear here. There. Well, you 

    [00:21:26] Georgiana Dearing: just have had some amazing growth for a startup brand and you've just been thrown right into the mix, and even though it has happened so rapidly, the position you're in right now, which is you have a job and then you're thinking about food as a semi-retirement or a transition career for yourself.

    [00:21:43] Georgiana Dearing: That happens a lot to food brands and so you're probably right at the moment to like pause and put pen to paper and do a little business planning and figure out, okay, how do I make these next decisions? But I am so excited for you. It's just so wildly exciting to see somebody just. Jump in. Really? You knew nothing.

    [00:22:06] Marcy Thornhill: I'm learning as I go. And I think that's the scary part, is not knowing what you don't know and wanting to partner with the right people who are gonna really take your vision, help you to formulate in a way that makes sense because they understand. But guide you, because I've come across a lot of people who's I can help, I can help, I can help.

    [00:22:27] Marcy Thornhill: And they can't or they won't, or they halfway kind of sorta. Yeah. That's where you get nervous. Because I'm a small business, I don't have hundreds of thousand dollars to just throw out there. Like I'm nickel and diamond. You can consult for how much you can consult perhaps. I don't know. So it's very scary because I wanna do more, do it the right way, but I don't know who to.

    [00:22:48] Georgiana Dearing: Yeah, it is. Well, the first thing I'm gonna tell you is that anyone who starts on this journey doesn't know what they don't know, and they are learning as they go just like you are. So don't discount that nobody starts out with the very few people. I would say there are people who are in the food industry who step away to start a brand, but.

    [00:23:07] Georgiana Dearing: Very few people start out knowing the whole road ahead. Plus, there's so many choices to make. There's so many directions you could go. You could have focused solely on online sales. Yeah. But you are out there and it sounds very, very exciting. It's there any like one big thing next big thing? I mean, you've already announced a new partnership.

    [00:23:30] Georgiana Dearing: Is there anything else coming out? 

    [00:23:33] Marcy Thornhill: I don't know what, I don't know. . . Not that I know of. I know that I engage with a lot of people. A lot of people are reaching out to me, just really like public lands, was them contacting me. I don't know who's seeing me and which way it's gonna go. I really and truly don't know.

    [00:23:52] Marcy Thornhill: I'm excited. I'm very nervous because the growth, I have to definitely shift how I manufac. It's just a lot to take in and it's happening so very fast. I've gone from making it at home and selling it online to six, seven stores and mm-hmm. shipping I've shipped as far as Africa. Oh my goodness. Yes. I've shipped boxes of applesauce to Africa.

    [00:24:14] Marcy Thornhill: I've shipped all over the us I mean air, I think I've hit just about every state. I said I was gonna do a map, to see where I've shipped to, but I've. Everywhere. And I just don't know what to expect. I have no idea. , oh my, 

    [00:24:29] Georgiana Dearing: oh my . Well, I say, now is the time to make a little plan. Maybe , 

    [00:24:33] Marcy Thornhill: I need a plan and I need to really think about what even makes sense in this space.

    [00:24:39] Marcy Thornhill: Mm-hmm. . Cause this is a space for me. So planning in a new food space, when you're not familiar with the food language logistics. The ins and outs of really having a full brand, what that means, those are the things I have to learn so that I don't go down a rabbit hole or I don't step out too far and I can't fulfill the orders.

    [00:25:01] Marcy Thornhill: Things like that. Mm-hmm. , so I wanna make sure I'm making the right business decisions. From my family to not overtax my body. Cause making applesauces work, it's physically a lot of work. You're dipping and pulling in. So I'm a chiropractor, I go to a chiropractor and I have heating pads. It's a lot physically on your body.

    [00:25:22] Marcy Thornhill: Uh huh. 

    [00:25:23] Georgiana Dearing: Chefs talk about that a lot. How physically demanding being a chef is it's, it's a lot to be standing there manning the kettles so good on you that you're doing this and that you're keeping it going, and you're so incredibly positive. I think that's probably part of your success. You haven't let a wall stop you, you've leap over it.

    [00:25:43] Georgiana Dearing: Armed yourself with some education. Those are all good things. Those are all good tenants for an entre. So let me ask you before we wind up, where can people find you online? Where can they follow you? Where can they find you if they wanna taste some of this great applesauce. So 

    [00:26:00] Marcy Thornhill: as far as online, mrs marcy's

    [00:26:05] Marcy Thornhill: Mm-hmm. , I'm on Instagram under Mrs. Marcy's, homemades and Facebook, even on TikTok, believe it or not. Oh my goodness. You can find me at the Virginia Living The products are there. Rv Products are there. Of course, if you're visiting any of the stores in the Richmond area, Monticello, which is really great if you're going out with the kids.

    [00:26:30] Marcy Thornhill: Stop by the gift shop. We'll be again at Marketed 25th. Thompsons both southern states, so there's a lot of specialty boutiques. We're looking at Gracie's Cottage. If you're in Ashland Cross Brothers Grocery, and who knows where we'll be in the next two weeks. I have a great assistant. That's one thing I will advise Anyone, get an assistant.

    [00:26:52] Marcy Thornhill: I have a great assistant, so she connects with people. Say, oh, I think I found another store. I'm like, really? What do they. And so she is like out there online Googling and so who knows where I'll be by this time next month. 

    [00:27:04] Georgiana Dearing: Oh my goodness. Well, thank you for sharing all of that and I so look forward to your continued success.

    [00:27:09] Marcy Thornhill: Great. Thank you so much and thank you so much for having me. This was exciting, . 

    [00:27:15] Georgiana Dearing: Thanks for listening. And if you wanna learn more about how to grow your own food brand, then click on Grow My If you're a lover of local food, then be sure to follow. We are at VA Foodie on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    [00:27:32] Georgiana Dearing: Join the conversation and tell us about your adventures with good food, good people, and good brands.