85 episodes

Food marketing consultant and founder of VA Foodie, Georgiana Dearing, takes you behind the scenes of successful craft and local food businesses. For over twenty years, she’s led a team of creatives at Water Street Marketing. George is particularly passionate about her work in the food industry and now works to make her years of experience more accessible to emerging brands. This podcast is for you if you’re curious about the marketing tools, the business practices, and the stories that drive good food, good people, and good brands in the specialty food industry. Learn more about food marketing here: good-food-marketing.com

Good Food Marketing with The Virginia Foodie Georgiana Dearing

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 7 Ratings

Food marketing consultant and founder of VA Foodie, Georgiana Dearing, takes you behind the scenes of successful craft and local food businesses. For over twenty years, she’s led a team of creatives at Water Street Marketing. George is particularly passionate about her work in the food industry and now works to make her years of experience more accessible to emerging brands. This podcast is for you if you’re curious about the marketing tools, the business practices, and the stories that drive good food, good people, and good brands in the specialty food industry. Learn more about food marketing here: good-food-marketing.com

    An Entrepreneur's Guide to Managing Business Disruption

    An Entrepreneur's Guide to Managing Business Disruption

    I’m sure many of you can relate to this!

    We've all been through those big moments that suddenly shake up our lives and make us rethink everything – it could be an unexpected illness, a family emergency, a career setback, or even a surprise accident. These are the moments that can turn our world upside down in the blink of an eye.

    As a marketer, I totally get how these life-altering events can throw entrepreneurs into a loop. So, let's talk about what we, as entrepreneurs, should do when life hits us with significant moments. How can we deal with these disruptions and keep our businesses moving forward, or sometimes, knowing when it's okay to hit the pause button? The key here is having solid plans ready for unexpected business disruptions.

    I recommend taking time now, before a crisis, to develop a three-tiered plan coded green, yellow, and red like a traffic signal. Green represents your desired state, yellow is your caution zone, and red is the folder you may never want to open, but is there to guide you through the toughest of all decisions.

    As a leader of my own small business, I completely get how tough it can be to face these situations. But here's the silver lining: having a well-thought-out plan can actually make it a lot easier to navigate these challenging moments. It's like having a trusted friend to guide you through, providing a clear sense of direction and a roadmap to follow when the unexpected comes knocking.

    And now, I'd like to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for joining me on this year's journey. As we approach the end of 2023, I want to let you know that this marks the final episode of the Good Food Marketing podcast. But hey, it's not goodbye – it's more of a 'see you later'!

    Keep on growing and innovating with your amazing good food businesses!

    Virginia Foodie Essentials:
    Hitting that low sales number without a plan can often instill panic, causing you to grab whatever comes your way which may not be the right kind of partner for a healthy, thriving business.  - Georgiana DearingCreating your own color-coded plan is a way to decide what items are the most important to you about your business, then you get to make a plan that provides solutions that fit your style. - Georgiana DearingFacing tough decisions is never fun, but when you've left yourself a road map, It gets a little bit easier. - Georgiana DearingEven if it's just a short-run miniature product line, please make sure it's profitable. - Georgiana DearingKey Points From This Episode:
    It is not common for Entrepreneurs to encounter life events that can abruptly shift their prioritiesThe three-tiered plan – coded green, yellow, and red – is used to deal with life events and business planningGreen stands for your ideal business model Yellow represents your alert stageRed is your emergency status defining how to wind it all downHaving plans and roadmaps makes tough decisions a little bit easierEmily Harpster of Sugarbear Cville demonstrated resilience and innovation during challenging times through creating unique ice cream flavors inspired by a personal life eventOther Resources Mentioned:
    SugarBearFollow The Virginia Foodie here:
    VA Foodie websiteThe Virginia Foodie on InstagramVA Foodie InstagramVA Foodie on TwitterSupport the show
    Support the show

    • 12 min
    Updates to the Sweet Startup Journey of SugarBear Cville with Emily Harpster Replay

    Updates to the Sweet Startup Journey of SugarBear Cville with Emily Harpster Replay

    “You don't know what you don't know until you're in it."

    Says Emily Harpster in our recent conversation about the growth of her ice cream brand, SugarBear Cville.

    And she is right. You really don’t know what you’re getting into unless you try it. No amount of planning and studying will make you totally ready (but of course, careful planning and strategizing will help a lot in managing your business)—because some things will always come as a surprise! Before Emily launched her craft food business, what she didn’t know was how fast her brand would grow, how many flavors she could offer, the number of collaborations she would encounter, and how ice cream is an all-season favorite! But all these are sweet surprises Emily welcomed with open arms, and she’s ready for more!

    In the third installment of our “Year of ice cream,” Emily opens up with the challenges that come with the growth of a new brand, how she manages all the rapid changes as a solopreneur, and how ready she is to continuously share the SugarBear Cville brand through many more channels. 

    It’s really a delight to witness a Good Food brand’s growth and success!

    Key Points From This Episode:
    Emily Harpster is back on the podcast to talk about the recent improvements of her craft ice cream brand, SugarBear Cville.SugarBear Cville is a Good Food brand manufacturing ice cream from locally sourced ingredients. Emily has been able to grow her food brand in part because of support from the tight-knit community of Charlottesville, Virginia.During the fourth quarter of 2022, Emily realized that summer is not solely the “big season for ice cream.” With the right retail business connections, ice cream can become an all-season bestseller.Playing with seasonal flavors and themes for the holidays has become Emily’s way to keep SugarBear Cville’s product line interesting and enticing all year round.Narrowing down the flavors to a standard set plus adding a rotation of seasonal flavors has become a promising strategy for SugarBear Cville to maintain predictable cost controls.Since one of the missions behind this Good Food brand is to build community, SugarBear Cville has been active in collaborating with other brands and businesses. She recently did a kitchen takeover with Bowerbird Bakeshop, gave the flavor of the month proceeds back to a local nonprofit, and is currently planning a collaboration with Charlottesville High School through their urban farming program. As a solopreneur, Emily is still learning to balance the growth of her brand and the volume of units she can produce and sell. But she has developed systems that work for her now, and she can adapt them as her company grows.More About the Guest:

    Emily Harpster is the owner of SugarBear Cville, a very new, very fun, and very local ice cream brand in Charlottesville, Virginia. They make ice cream from scratch featuring local ingredients sourced throughout Central Virginia.

    Connect with Emily Harpster/SugarBear:
    WebsiteInstagramLinkedInFollow The Virginia Foodie here:
    VA Foodie websiteThe Virginia Foodie on InstagramVA Foodie InstagramVA Foodie on TwitterSupport the show

    • 32 min
    Blue Cow Ice Cream Shares the Secrets of Local Sourcing Replay

    Blue Cow Ice Cream Shares the Secrets of Local Sourcing Replay

    Summer 2020 was not the best, but we found pleasure in simple things: like big scoops of craft ice cream. In this episode, we are talking to the owners of Blue Cow, a craft ice cream business here in Virginia. Husband and wife team Jason and Carolyn Kiser offer their insights on what it takes to run a small food business, and for them, it’s all about sourcing as many of their products as possible locally. Their philosophy is one of using wholesome ingredients that are produced in the area and collaborating with local businesses to create a uniquely local product, thereby not only creating a novel experience for their customers but also promoting the welfare of the community at large. With two locations and a third in the pipeline, the Kisers are excited about their journey ahead, despite the challenges they had during the height of the pandemic. The two also talk about their production facility, their hopes of eventually serving wholesale accounts, and the exciting flavors they are working on for the fall and winter.

    Key Points From This Episode:
    When they started their business, opening another location, and future expansion plans. What’s in a name: Why Blue Cow is a nod to the Blue Ridge mountains Jason talks about the pandemic and their fast pivot from walk-up scoops to take-home pints.Blue Cow’s expansion to a new production facility.The Kiser’s philosophy on small-batch ice cream and sourcing the ingredients.Small batch is really small: including basil sourced from a micro-farm in their neighborhood.Hear about their key partnerships with local companies and some examples of collaborations. Jason talks about making small batches and their plans to supply other foodservice outlets.  Their most popular flavors and the new ones to look forward to in each new season.  How their family life and kids inspired them to fill the need for craft ice cream in the area.How to connect with and become a customer of Blue Cow!Tweetables:
    “Most customers are very understanding of the situation that we are in as well, trying to serve a different way and they are aware of the guidelines and they follow the guidelines for mass requirements such as distancing.” — Jason Kiser [0:06:34]
    “Our philosophy to ice cream making is, we want to create a great craft product for our customers to enjoy. In the process of making the ice cream, we want to source our products as close to home as possible. If we do have to buy outside of local, we seek out the best products we can buy through our supply chain.” — Jason Kiser [0:09:19]

    Connect with Jason & Carolyn Kiser of Blue Cow Ice Cream:
    Blue Cow Ice Cream Co. Blue Cow Ice Cream Co. on Instagram Blue Cow Ice Cream Co. on FacebookRed Rooster CoffeeThree Ships CoffeeFollow The Virginia Foodie here:
    VA Foodie websiteThe Virginia Foodie on InstagramVA Foodie InstagramVA Foodie on TwitterSupport the show

    • 24 min
    A Sweet Catch-up with SugarBear Cville Replay

    A Sweet Catch-up with SugarBear Cville Replay

    Just a few months after our last conversation, Emily Harspter of SugarBear Cville is back on the podcast to give us the latest updates about the progress of her ice cream brand.
    It’s truly an adventure, she says, to be a one-woman team who has now grown the brand by partnering with seven individual businesses. But it’s a rollercoaster ride worthy to be enjoyed nonetheless.

    In this sweet conversation, Emily will take us on her journey of growing her good food brand, what she is currently doing, and what she is planning next. SugarBear Cville’s story is also a great testament to how significant your community is in growing your business.

    Virginia Foodie Essentials:
    I feel like I figured out a few systems and other things that are going to allow me to grow and aim for this next phase with a little bit more intention. - Emily HarpsterI had this idea to build out a brand that was really a platform for showing off local stuff. - Emily Harpster[The photographs] sent me down this rabbit hole of realizing I could focus on taking pictures of strong, beautiful people, doing interesting things in and around Charlottesville, and use the tiny light I have to shine a light on their work and what they're up to. - Emily HarpsterThese are just unbelievable people doing great things. And I want to celebrate that—some are more visible in the community and people know about it, while some are the kind of quiet thing that doesn't get celebrated as much but is still really incredible. And so I would love to diversify and build out that roster and make it really inclusive, interesting, and engaging. - Emily HarpsterKey Points From This Episode:
    A catch-up session to update how SugarBear is doing so far from its launch in 2022 and the initial conversation with the VA Foodie in June.SugarBear has been able to establish organic relationships to collaborate with seven individual businesses, in part thanks to Charlottesville’s tight-knit local food community.Production as a one-woman team with seven ice cream outlets is a wild adventure, so figuring out a system that works is vital to the growth of the brand.Charlottesville’s tight-knit community has also allowed SugarBear to easily find a supply of local ingredients even as the demand for the ice cream has increased.After trying out 63 different flavors during her first season, SugarBear is now moving to a curated list of flavors. Having a huge variety of flavor offerings, though, has helped in the company’s market research.SugarBear’s website is still reflecting the changes happening to this small business. The plan, however, is to update the site with beautiful marketing photos of Charlottesville’s locals in an attempt to weave SugarBear into the community and to highlight the beautiful and interesting work and life of the townsmen.SugarBear has a growing list of wholesale partners: coffee shops, cafes, and wineries, and from here, the ice cream brand is looking for interesting partnerships that are strategically sustainable on both ends.The next step for the business involves strategizing for these areas: Branding, packaging, marketing, social media, and partnerships. Follow The Virginia Foodie here:
    VA Foodie websiteThe Virginia Foodie on InstagramVA Foodie InstagramVA Foodie on TwitterSupport the show

    • 29 min
    A Sweet Start Up with Sugar Bear Cville Replay

    A Sweet Start Up with Sugar Bear Cville Replay

    One of the scariest (or bravest) things a food brand could do is go straight from a recipe idea to the shelf. No market testing or selling in a specialty store. It’s every startup’s dream - or nightmare if done poorly!
    Emily Harpster of SugarBear Cville has done just that, and her story is a great opportunity to learn about a startup retail brand in the very early stages of development. In this episode, we speak about some of the challenges most startup food brands face and why vision and determination play a huge role in achieving and sustaining success. 
    SugarBear is off to a good start, thanks to some careful plans Emily put in place for her product development. And it’s paid off so far – her ice cream quickly caught the attention of ice cream aficionados like me and other local establishments who are committed to living the good food, good people, good brand life. 
    Emily has graciously offered to keep us up to date with her progress as she tackles the challenge of building a strong regional brand. Listen to learn more about the behind-the-scenes and ups and downs of a locally sourced retail packaged food brand. It’s a rare opportunity to watch a new brand grow from its literal beginnings in retail, and you’ll get the inside scoop from a ringside seat.
    Virginia Foodie Essentials:
    Ice cream is a thing that really makes people happy. - Emily HarpsterIce cream is a little bit disarming and really charming. A lot of times, when I share with people that I do ice cream, they want to tell me about their favorite ice cream memories or a happy story or their favorite flavor. And it's a really wonderful moment to have. - Emily HarpsterWhen you're running a scoop shop, you're running a restaurant. It's a location, it's the interior design, it's the staffing,  and then you have to get the foot traffic. It's a whole different way to market your business. - Georgiana DearingKey Points From This Episode:
    Charlottesville has a growing food scene that is beginning to rival nearby Richmond, Virginia.SugarBear is carried by a fan favorite over on vafoodie.com, Maribette Cafe and Petite Maribette.It’s essential to connect with like-minded brands to help establish your brand.Startups with an eye at grocery retail should consider SugarBear’s approach and go straight to packaged retail products bypassing farmer’s market and pop-up shops.Watching a new brand grow from its literal beginnings in retail is a chance to uncover answers to those burning questions: What makes a startup tick? What choices do startups face? What marketing challenges do they need to overcome during the first year as a startup food manufacturer?Having a clear vision and determination can shift a dream to a goal with an actionable business plan.More About the Guest:
    Emily Harpster is the owner of SugarBear Cville, a very new, very fun and very local ice cream brand out of Charlottesville, Virginia. They make ice cream from scratch featuring central Virginia ingredients.

    Connect with Emily Harpster/SugarBear
    WebsiteInstagramLinkedInFollow The Virginia Foodie here:
    VA Foodie websiteThe Virginia Foodie on InstagramVA Foodie InstagramVA Foodie on TwitterSupport the show

    • 27 min
    How to Let Your Packaging Speak for Your Brand

    How to Let Your Packaging Speak for Your Brand

    “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” says a popular adage.
    We like to think we can see past a first impression, but that’s not always the case. And in CPG sales, it’s rarely true. Plenty of shopper research shows how fickle consumers can be right at the last moment of putting your products into their cart – whether it’s in real life or online.

    Your packaging has to do some heavy lifting: Your entire brand story needs to be available for split-second decisions. Packaging is the silent salesman for your brand; it’s there to speak for you when you aren’t around.

    In almost two years of podcasting, I’ve found my guests open and generous with their insights into the good food industry. Packaging is a topic that has come up time and again. In this episode, I’ve pulled several clips that speak directly to the challenges small food brands face: design, budget, and getting shoppers’ attention.

    I’m sharing tips about conducting market research before you begin a design project, new technology that is accessible to small brands, ways to extend your mission of sustainability into your packaging choices, leading your packaging design process with your brand strategy, and how a package redesign project directly impacted the sales success of a small regional brand.

    Virginia Foodie Essentials:
    Packaging is your silent salesman. Your package design needs to tell your brand story when you aren't there to explain it to the shopper. - Georgiana DearingConfusing your audience and making it hard for them to use your product is never a good idea no matter the cost savings. - Georgiana DearingLinks to the Full Episodes:
    Sharing the Joy of Pasta with Chef Stephanie FeesPackaging 101 with The Packaging ChicScrumptious and Sustainable Cookie Biz | Julie StrangeReach For It! Product Packaging Secrets with Watermark Design PackagingElevating Home Bartending | Crescent SimplesStrategy-Led, Design-Driven Branding with Steve Redmond of Rival BrandsIs Your Packaging Helping or Hurting Your Sales?Follow The Virginia Foodie here:
    VA Foodie websiteThe Virginia Foodie on InstagramVA Foodie InstagramVA Foodie on TwitterWork with George DearingMarketing Made EasySupport the show

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

butterfieldfarm ,

Super helpful!

Always insightful. Often encouraging.

lizpthom ,

ET

I love the way George takes you behind the scenes on all types of food businesses! It’s a good mix of educational and inspirational. I’d highly recommend this for anyone in the food industry.

kwilly4 ,

Great interviews!

Such a great mix of food industry folks across the state- a fun way to hear from new businesses and learn more about favorite brands!

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