Chef Pii and her Pink Sauce went viral almost overnight but for all of the wrong reasons. What was once a dream quickly became a messy s
ituation. I applaud Chef Pii for trying to remain as positive as she can be based on the circumstances.
I think that her Pink Sauce is a great idea that is unique in the market. I hope that she is successful in entering a market that has less than 1% of black women in it, according to a food scientist.
If she can push through this moment and create an intentional plan she can take the Pink Sauce to new heights, and she can come out on top stronger and richer. I applaud her for trademarking the Pink Sauce name, and that shows she has her mind on something much bigger. It’s always good to start with your big goal or end goal in mind. If you know you are building something amazing protect it and get it trademarked.
I don’t know everything Chef Pii has or hasn’t done other than what I’ve researched from legitimate sources or gathered from videos and posts made directly by Chef Pii.
What I’m about to share is based on my experience as a business strategist/coach; and my background and degree in Public Relations that I earned from Florida A&M University.
While nobody asked for my opinion I still feel that it can be helpful to Chef Pii and any entrepreneur looking to learn how to be more strategic or how to think about business strategy.
My advice is hypothetical and what I would tell her if I was her business strategist once everything started happening.
So exactly what would I tell her?
1. Stop selling and shipping the Pink Sauce immediately
I would tell her to stop selling the sauce because other things need to be worked out and on before she starts to sell again. I’ll talk more about those things later in the blog.
From what she said, on a YouTube video and TikTok, she stopped selling and shipping the Pink Sauce and she did a great job at being proactive by immediately seizing operations.
2. Shut down the Pink Sauce website and put up a landing page
Since she won’t be selling her Pink Sauce there is no need to have the website up; however, she should put up a landing page (launching soon page) to collect emails. I’m sure she is getting thousands of visitors per day who are coming to get more info about the product, to show their support, or to just be nosey; she can leverage all of that traffic!
Her landing page will allow her to collect emails so that she’s building her email list. She can then use this email list to send updates on her progress and notify everyone once she starts selling the Pink Sauce again; it's a surefire way for her to make sales without having to promote any other way initially.
I recommend all businesses build an email list before and after they start their business.
3. Make sure tracking codes & pixels are connected to the Pink Sauce website
Tracking codes and pixels track the data of the people that visit your website. This will allow you to later use the data to run retargeting ads to people who visited your website on Facebook, Instagram, Google, and other websites once you launch or relaunch. I would tell her to make sure she has tracking codes & pixels connected from Facebook/Instagram, Google, Pinterest, and TikTok. These pixels and codes will also give important details about the website visitors like demographical data and other interests.
If you have a website make sure you have tracking codes and pixels installed.
4. Go talk to an attorney
I would tell her to go talk to an attorney to:
determine what her current business or personal liability might be and the likelihood of lawsuits based on everything going on.
determine how to potentially start to prepare in the event someone decides to sue regardless of if it's a legitimate claim or if someone is up for a money grab.
determine what’s the best way to move forward to limit her risks of future lawsuits
position her brand to go globally through retail
Unfortunately, we live in a society where people will sue for anything and sometimes things that don’t pertain to them. If she wants to go global these are all things an attorney can help her prepare to accomplish.
If you will sell products a person consumes, put on them, or put in them, I recommend that you talk to an attorney to determine your risks and things to consider.
5. Create a PR strategy and stop doing impromptu lives
Erykah Badu once said, “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my ish”., and I felt that. I get it. Who wouldn’t passionately defend something they created or passionately believe in? However, in the PR world and with potential lawsuits, impromptu lives can hurt more than help. Why? Because the media will twist your words and sensationalize headlines to get clicks to their website. Also, people will use your words, and video in court against you; and unfortunately once you put stuff out there you can’t take it back.
In a Youtube video, Chef Pii said she decided to do an update video extemporaneously because she wanted people to see her personality and genuineness, and that’s a great thing to want; however, when the stakes are high and emotions can easily take over it’s best to have intentionally crafted statements so you intentionally control the narrative you put out.
The beauty and power of having a PR team and strategy is that YOU, the business owner, can create the messages and push the narrative that you want people to focus on.
There is no such thing as bad publicity. She still has time to spin the narratives and bad press to work in her favor.
6. Stop saying “people are hating on me” or anything else about haters.
Yes, some people are straight up hating and being evil; but there are people with legitimate concerns. Speaking on haters can overshadow the fact that you want to make the sauce and business better. Also, speaking about haters can make you appear less genuine and concerned about yourself instead of your audience and consumers. It can also lead people to start speculating about what you think people are “hating on”.
Unfortunately, people are going to listen to and respond to the negative things said more than the positive things you say. Keeping all conversation only focused on the issue and what you are doing to correct issues is the best thing to do at all times.
As you develop a community of loyal supporters they will defend your business and say the stuff you want to say but can't.
7. Perfect the formula and test it with a small local audience
One concern with the Pink Sauce was that there seemed to be inconsistency with the sauce batches. Chef Pii shared that the color of the sauce changed based on the feedback she got from her audience. The audience wasn't to fond of the dark pink sauce.
While production is halted is a good opportunity to develop the sauce, get feedback, and get the prototype into the final version. During the process, local friends and family can be tapped as product testers.
8. Start working with the state-level department that oversees food for compliance
In Florida , the organization that oversees this is the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. FDACS is the state-level department that oversees compliance with cottage food, food regulations and labeling, and other health and safety laws in Florida. Each state has its own respective department that does the same thing.
When shipping products like food and any product that people put on or in them it’s important to determine what the state rules are, and to make sure you understand the rules of shipping products across state lines even if you have a permit or licenses in your state.
My advice to all businesses is if you sell products that people consume, put on them, or put in them there may be state rules you have to follow. These rules may pertain to selling, labeling, creating the product, ingredients you can or can’t use, and how you can and can’t market the product. Please do your research. I recommend that you straight up call them and ask to be directed to the information that is relevant to your business or product type.
9. Reach out to the FDA to assist with determining what compliance rules to mass produce the product
I believe that I watched a video where Che Pii stated that she wanted to have her product in stores. To do that there are things about the manufacturing process and ingredients in or not in her products that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates.
The FDA is a federal agency that is different from the local state agencies, and the FDA will have its own labeling requirements and rules. There is also testing that has to be done to determine the shelf life, test the product's stability, and do other things before a product can go into retail sales.
If you mass sell products that people consume, put on them or put in them there may be FDA rules that you have to follow that pertain to labeling, creating the product, ingredients you can or can’t use, and how you can and can’t market the product; so please do your research. I recommend that you straight up call them and ask to be directed to the information that is relevant to your business or product type.
10. Start planning a re-launch strategy
If after speaking to the attorney they believe that you can get through any legal things that you may or may not face; create a grand relaunch strategy after the product is ready to be sold. Chef Pii has done a great job by still being visible and active. Most people would have hid and disappeared off the face of the earth.
Before you start to plan your strategy make sure you have a clear idea about what went wrong the first time and make sure that you have done everything to ensure you've corrected the issue.
A relaunch strategy should include a PR campaign, email campaigns, a new and improved website, shipping operations uniform and ready to go; and a pre-re launch content marketing strategy in place to keep up the buzz. Push all traffic to the landing page and encourage everyone to sign-up for the email list.
If you are launching a business the best thing you can do is build buzz and promote your products and services BEFORE you launch your business.
11. Collect information of journalists, blog writers, and large content creators that wrote or posted about her or the Pink Sauce
Many news sites and blogs wrote about what was happening with Chef Pii and the Pink Sauce. I recommend that she has someone create an excel file and track the names and contact information of everyone that wrote about her, and reach out to these people to send press releases with progress updates, and to announce her re-launch. She can also send out product kits to help drum up buzz to help make her re-launch successful.
Using PR and press is a FREE way to reach large audiences and it's another beautiful thing about using PR as a marketing strategy.
12. Apply to have her Instagram account verified
She received so much press from legitimate news sources that she can now be verified on Instagram. To get verified on Instagram you have to have some degree of notoriety and you must have links to articles written about you.
13. Build your team
At the rate she’s going she needs a superstar team to help move her to the next level because where she is going she can’t do it alone. At a minimum, I would encourage her to have:
a business coach or mentor that can continue to shape her as an entrepreneur and help her navigate entrepreneurship
a business attorney to help her anticipate and navigate legal matters
a consultant or mentor that has direct experience manufacturing sauces or other food products for retail
an accountant to help ensure she is profitable
a website designer
All businesses need these key team players with the exception of the manufacturing consultant. You don’t have to hire all of these people at once, but you should have initial consultations with them to understand important things you should do or know until you are ready to work with them. If you do this, you will know that you are heading in the right direction and doing things that will lead you to your goals. This will ultimately help you fast-track your success
Again, these are all things I would share with Chef Pii or anyone that may be experiencing something similar. I hope Chef Pii dreams for her brand come true. I hope that she and all entrepreneurs remember that you can always bounce back whether it's with the same product or a new and improved product.
I hope this blog is received with love and helps someone. After all, I'm just a business strategist doing what I LOVE and that's talking about business.