Two springtimes ago, Chaz Hammonds, a law student pursuing a degree in environmental law, started growing tomatoes, zucchini, squash, bell peppers, banana peppers, Anaheim peppers, jalapeños, cilantro and collard greens in his backyard garden.
He started on this kick of baking instead of frying and people noticed changes in his physical appearance.
He is the founder of both SoulFit Seasoning and SoulFitGrill. Read what he has to say.
What’s your company’s mission statement?
“To create a healthy generation.”
Where were you when the idea for your business came into your mind and you knew you had to create a product?
I was talking to my grandmother about her recent diagnosis of diabetes. Her doctor told her she needed to make some major changes to her diet in order to manage the disease and prevent future health problems. I knew this would be a major life change and hard for her to maintain. Like her and many of my other family members, salt and pork are main staples when it comes to cooking and the go to for seasoning the food. This is when the idea came to me. I would create a product for my grandmother to cook with that would be good for her. She needed something with traditional soul food flavor, but without an abundance of sodium.
What role did research play in how you brought your product to market?
I began researching soul food seasoning to see how many low sodium soul food seasonings were on the market. I knew people had been cooking with herbs and spices for hundreds of years, but surprisingly I found very few low sodium southern seasonings. I also had to research why I didn’t want Genetically Modified Organism in my product, why MSG is bad for your health and what is considered low sodium in a seasoning.
How have you used technology to grow your business?
Through my social media avenues, I have been able to reach people from all over the world. Technology has allowed my social media followers to talk to me and watch me cook live with my seasonings.
Who are three business mentors or coaches who have given you advice and support?
Deavra Daughtry, Myles Munroe and R.G Thomas
What are the health benefits of you products?
My product contains no GMO, MSG, and preservatives and is low sodium. It allows the consumers to enjoy a healthier version of the dishes they love without the high salt content, which helps when managing health conditions like hypertension and diabetes or if want to be proactive and eat healthier now.
How did you decide on your brand’s name?
I wanted a name the people could relate too and mean exactly what is says. The “Soul” means my seasoning are created with love and flavor while the “Fit” means they are healthy to consume.
What three tips can you share with someone starting a business online about shipping, sales goals and digital commerce?
First, do not put yourself in a box because that is an easy way for you miss out new opportunities. I market my product to chefs, top barbecue cookers, grandmothers who cook in cast iron skillets and your everyday person who wants to eat healthy and stay in shape. Second,
What are your business goals for holiday and how are you planning for the holiday rush?
My goal for the holiday is to my market product as much as I can. I know summer holidays are meant for family cookouts, grilling, and other outdoor events. I want to show people that they can eat healthy and good at the family cookout with SoulFitGrill.
What made you decide to start a business while attending law school?
I started creating SoulFitGrill around the same time I began preparing to pursue a law degree. I always knew that I wanted to go to law school and become an entrepreneur, but I never imagined they would happen at the same.
How has law school helped you with your business?
Although I have only been in law school for one year, I have already gained many valuable skills. I am able to interpret my contracts and have gained the confidence to negotiate for my company.
What area of law do you plan to practice?
Currently, I am still undecided, but I am interested in pursuing corporate, agricultural or environmental specialties.
What two business books do you recommend to other business start-ups?
Unleash Your Purpose by Myles Munroe and Built To Last by Jim Collins.
How has your understanding of business changed since you started your business?
Being on the consumer side most of my life, I never understood the day-to-day tasks of operating a business. I now understand that amount of time and effort it takes to keep a business going.
What new goals have you set for your business?
My goal is to have SoulFitGrill Seasoning all over the world and create more healthy products with soul for people to consume.
What hobbies inspire your business?
Going into “The Lab,” my kitchen, and creating new spices and working out.
For more information, visit www.soulfitgrill.com and follow Chaz Hammonds’s SoulFit Seasoning and SoulFitGrill, on Instagram: @soulfitgrill.