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Women's Symposium

Panelist: Ashleigh Aldridge

photo of Ashleigh Aldridge

 

Ashleigh Aldridge only took a week to figure out what she wanted to do after graduating in 2013 from the University of Louisiana Monroe with a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree in Marketing.

With a $10,000 startup and a recipe for hot sauce from her father, also a ULM alum, Aldridge opened D'Evereux Foods, a food company based out of Natchez, Mississippi whose products have become a “hot” seller.

Her first product was Pepper Sauce Rouge, described on the company’s website as “a bold, ground pepper sauce that has all the heat one expects from traditional hot sauce with the addition of a special blend of spices."

The product was a hit. Small production runs increased to slightly larger ones. Her inventory quickly depleted as new orders came in. Aldridge was pressed to begin creating new hot sauce products to meet the demand. And so she did.

But Aldridge had bigger plans for her product line.

“The company’s first products were hot sauces, but I did not want D’Evereux Foods to be known strictly as a hot sauce company,” says Aldridge. “I wanted to show that we were expanding our product line, so I came out with the jams.”

Aldridge released three different jams: Strawberry Jalapeno, Sweet Pepper, and Huckleberry. These sweet and spicy flavored jams are 100% all natural, and gluten, grain, nut, and soy free. 

The jams were an instant hit. Aldridge had created new products that put her food company on the map. But little did she know, the entire nation would soon be watching.

Aldridge attended a trade show in Atlanta in July 2015 where she learned about the prospect of submitting samples for Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list. She submitted sample immediately after the trade show and then heard back in August that she was in the running.

In September, she was informed that she was a finalist.

And in October, she was told she made the list. Her jams garnered national attention when they were officially selected for Oprah’s 2015 “Favorite Things” list.

Aldridge does everything in-house, from labels and website content, to the writing of legal contracts. All of her products must get federal clearance through the FDA, and while most would find the entire process daunting, Aldridge claims that she was prepared for it from her ULM education.

“ULM’s business law course was influential in helping me understand the legal aspects of running a business,” says Aldridge. “Right out of college I had the tools necessary for understanding and complying with FDA laws and regulations, writing my own contracts with buyers and sellers, preparing lease agreements, and so on.”

D’Evereux Foods has a retail store, online store, and supplies 150 stores in 22 states and two countries. To learn more about their products, visit devereuxfoods.com.


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