Hot Takes on Clear Labels
When you form a passion for chicken wings and buffalo hot sauce at an early age, your fate is pretty much sealed. Mr. and Mrs. Blonde Beard (aka Adam and Cara Nelson), owners of Blonde Beard’s Buffalo Sauce, are living proof.
As Cara tells it, “Adam and I are both from Georgia and worked at wing restaurants when we were younger. Even then I had an odd obsession with chicken wings and buffalo sauce. I would just put the sauce on everything I ate. The cooks would laugh at me!”
Fast forward a few years, Adam and Cara, who were childhood friends, reconnected on the advertising agency scene in Los Angeles. Their friendship turned into a relationship and they both discovered their mutual love of chicken wings never faded. “Our passion for wings and hot sauce really started to grow because it wasn’t a thing in LA like it was in the South,” Cara explains. “We started frying wings, making our own sauce from fresh ingredients, and hosting parties, which we became known for. Friends and family were always encouraging us to bottle and sell our sauce.”
Making the move
In 2011, the couple moved to the Denver area to continue their ad careers and that’s when Cara’s true fate began to take hold. Looking for a change, but still hungry for a career, Cara says she came home from work one day and told Adam, “I think I want to do this sauce thing.” That was all it took.
“I think I want to do this sauce thing”
Cara quit her full-time job and together with Adam formed Blonde Beard’s Buffalo Sauce. The name is a playful reference to Adam’s beard and nickname, Mr. Blonde Beard, given to him by co-workers. Of course, the friendly beard is featured on the product’s labels, the creative work of Adam himself.
And baby makes a business
Adam and Cara launched their Blonde Beard’s Buffalo Sauce in December 2016 and kicked off sales at a local Farmer’s Market the next spring. It was then that the couple found out they were expecting a baby. “Building a brand and raising a baby is like having twins,” Cara laughs. “And I say that with the utmost respect to mothers of twins!” Their son, Jack, is a huge part of their story and Cara says they wouldn’t have it any other way.
A clear choice in labels
Getting the product label right was just as important as perfecting the sauce recipes for the Nelsons. “We knew we needed to be eye-catching in a sea of condiments at the grocery store, so we chose clear labels to showcase our beautiful bright orange sauce,” explains Cara.
This is where their background in design and print production came into play. “Printing on clear material is tricky,” says Cara. “In order to get the colors to pop and maximize legibility, you have to build the artwork a certain way.” But that didn’t come easily once it came to production.
Disappointed with the mistakes and lackluster service provided by their previous printer, Cara was on a quest for a printer that cared and could provide the high-quality print results they needed. Columbine Label was highly recommended by the brand’s new co-packer and her decision to switch didn’t disappoint.
“The clear buffalo sauce labels are what really define our product and why people are drawn to pick up our bottles,” Cara states. “The face of your product is your label. If it’s not quality, then you won’t sell. We’re so thrilled to have a printer now that values our design choice and high standards.”
Cara appreciates the personal and proactive service she receives from Columbine Label rep Jennifer Adams. “In fact, I’m so hands-off now. I don’t even need to be involved in every detail of our orders.” Which leaves her more time to focus on her other “twin” Jack.
Online sales are hot
With the COVID-19 restrictions in the spring of this year, the brand pivoted its focus to an online presence. This move solidified the success of their choice for clear labels, says Cara. The artwork that popped on product labels in-person is also now helping catapult online demand, with sales tripling since they ramped up their online efforts.
Now that’s HOT!