The Way We Work
February 18, 2014 by Julia Camenisch

Great taste paired with pure ingredients? For organic food enthusiasts Beth and Scott Granai, this combination is the holy grail of cooking. Because of family health issues, the Granais have been long-time advocates of chemical-free whole foods.

But they weren’t trying to start a business around that concept…until one fateful spring night.

Scott was experimenting with an organic BBQ sauce recipe and brought Beth some ribs he had used it on. “I was really skeptical because he said he was putting in ginger and jalapenos, and I wasn’t so sure how it would taste,” she admitted. By the third bite, however, she knew something special was going on and immediately grabbed a pen and paper. This recipe had to recorded!

Out of that experiment, the Granais realized that they had developed a special BBQ sauce, one good enough to potentially market to the masses. Beth said, “There are thousands of BBQ sauces out there. But when we looked at organic BBQ sauces, there were very few available and their flavor wasn’t that spectacular.”

When Scott lost his job some time later, they decided to take the plunge and found Outta The Park Eats.

When a good product isn’t good enough

It didn’t take long for the Granais to realize that recipe development was only a small part of the process. The couple had ample experience cooking organic, whole foods. But when it came to crafting a logo and brand identity? That’s where they ran into trouble.

Beth said, “We were a couple of technology sales people with no marketing experience and no experience in consumer packaged goods. We ended up with an initial label design that wasn’t conducive for selling a food product.”

This was underscored when several retail buyers wouldn’t carry the sauce because the packaging didn’t communicate high-end ingredients or sophisticated taste.

Knowing they needed help, the Granais tried to find a branding consultant. But with limited capital, they couldn’t locate a consultant they could afford. According to Beth, “We felt like the ability to take our brand to the next level was out of reach.”

Remote brand development

Soon after they hit this hurdle, Beth was introduced to oDesk while looking for a freelance job for herself. As she became familiar with how remote hiring worked, she wondered whether it might be an option for improving the Outta The Park brand.

One of the images they were using in their marketing materials at the time needed to be updated for a postcard. Deciding to give online work a try, Beth hired a freelancer to work on the image. She came out of the process blown away by how easy and affordable the experience had been.

“Once I was comfortable creating projects on oDesk and sourcing freelancers with the skills I needed, the floodgates opened. I wanted to do as much as I could afford and get to the challenging projects that previously I had only dreamed of accomplishing,” Beth enthused.

Knowing their logo was hampering business growth, Beth decided to take that job online as well. “I was like, ‘Okay, well, I’ll throw a little bit of money into having a graphic designer play with our logo and see what he comes back with.’ With that very first file he sent me, I realized I could do my whole label over. The designer was amazing. It was very, very exciting.”

Beth Granai, Outta the Park EatsAs she began working with the graphic designer on a package redesign, Beth realized she needed some feedback. There were technical aspects of the project she didn’t know how to handle, such as color standards and badge design.

She looked for a consultant on oDesk and hired two with different but complementing expertise.

“We hired a consumer goods packaging consultant from Chicago as well as a natural goods branding consultant. Between the two of them and the graphic designer, I felt like we could knock it out.”

And they did. Based on the package redesign, Outta The Park Eats was able to land their BBQ sauce in several new locations. According to Beth, “Now we’re getting ‘yes’es where we were getting ‘no’s before because of the packaging.”

Being able to hire the best talent for the job, regardless of location, has been a huge boon to the Granais’ natural foods company.

“The projects we have done on oDesk have given our business, our brand and Outta The Park BBQ Sauce new life. The future is bright, and we owe that to oDesk and the amazing freelancers we have worked with and consider a vital part of our team,” said Beth.

Have you used online work to develop your product? Or do you have experience with brand development using oDesk? If so, share your story in the comments section below!

Julia Camenisch

Contributing Author

Julia Camenisch is a freelance technology and business journalist. She also works as an editor and copywriter for a wide range of clients, including national magazines, small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Julia brings to Upwork a passion for empowering small businesses through the innovative use of technology.