Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

Founder Friday Feature:
Andy and Nyles Burton of Andy Factory

Meet Andy and Nyles Burton: the brothers taking their family’s favorite mambo sauce and turning it into a thriving CPG brand

“Andy Factory is a long time in the making,” co-founder Andy Burton explains. “I’ve had the business since I was five years old, selling cookies. When I turned 12, I took our family recipe for mambo sauce and tweaked it to make it my own. I sold it at fairs and any parties we had, and we would always sell out.” After letting his pre-teen business lay dormant for a few years, Andy decided to revisit the brand when he turned 16. “I got incorporated, made a website, created packaging, and went on the news to talk about Andy Factory.” Working with his brother and co-founder Nyles, Andy Factory has now been in the business for the past four years.

Early bumps and future expansion

In the early days of Andy Factory, the brothers had to spend a good deal of time learning about the CPG business, particularly food production. Andy explains, “Our original plan was to rent out a kitchen and make [the sauce] ourselves. But that process was not realistic to produce large quantities.” Andy and Nyles began making cold calls to co-packers until they found a company that met their needs as a small, emerging brand. “The co-packer we now use was great for us because they’re a smaller business and we were just starting at the time. A larger co-packer may not have had the time to cater to us while we were still learning.” With a co-packer in place, Andy Factory officially began selling Uncle Dell’s Mambo Sauce in November 2019.

Andy Factory sold 500 bottles of Uncle Dell’s Mambo Sauce in their first few weeks of business, but the pandemic hit shortly after their launch. With COVID restrictions in place, Andy explains, “We had to think about how we were going to sell the sauce, so we offered free local delivery because everybody was stuck at home. I had my mom’s minivan, and I would spend five hours every day for a year just delivering mambo sauce. We sold around nine to 10,000 bottles in 2020. ”

The brothers have since stopped doing personal deliveries, and are now focusing their attention on retail and restaurant expansion. To reach buyers and restaurant owners, Andy and Nyles try to get as much exposure as possible, whether that’s going on the news or simply walking into a store and offering samples. “After people taste [Andy Factory], they usually say, ‘Oh yeah, we want to stock or serve this.” Along with its retail presence, Andy Factory is served on the menu at multiple restaurants, many of which have started selling Uncle Dell’s Mambo Sauce retail due to customer demand.

“This year,” Andy says, “We want to start pushing to find a national chain. We have a lot of success locally, but we want to expand mambo sauce. Based on our research, we know that we can compete. We want to get into places like Giant, Safeway, and Whole Foods. We’re trying to push our account with RangeMe, do more food shows, and get on the news as much as possible. We’ve talked to a few brokers and buyers at Giant, but it’s a long process.”

Going beyond mambo sauce

For the uninitiated, mambo sauce, Andy explains, “is kind of like a sweet and sour sauce. We put it on everything — steak tacos, burgers, meatloaf, fried rice, mac and cheese. It’s good on pretty much anything.” But Andy Factory’s plans go beyond their original mambo sauce.  This year, the brothers are hoping to launch a new product. Nyles explains, “All of our products have something to do with our family. The sauce we’re working on now is a Cluckin’ sauce. It’s perfect for club sandwiches or as a dip for vegetables and things like that. It has been a long road to get it right, and we’ve been through many stages of testing. We don’t want [the sauce] to just be okay. We want a perfect product that all our family and friends will beg for when we have a party.”

“We’re hoping that this year is when we finally get the recipe to a place where it’s consistent, but it’s a long process to get a product out. Luckily, the mambo sauce wasn’t as hard. I think we only did two rounds of testing, but we’ve been working on the Cluckin’ sauce for at least two or three years.”

Overcoming barriers

Though Andy started the business when he was just 16, sometimes he wishes he had started even earlier. “There were a bunch of things that I thought held me back,” Andy says. “I had a speech impediment, which caused a reading delay, which caused a speech delay, and all these different problems. It was something I thought I could never overcome. But looking at the success that we’ve had [with Andy Factory] and the growth that I’ve personally had, I’ve realized there is so much stuff you may think you can’t overcome, but you absolutely can. I talk to youth sometimes…and that’s always the first thing I tell them — you can overcome pretty much any problem, especially if you have help.”

Nyles echoes his brother’s sentiment, “I know a lot of this would have been impossible without the help of other people…We can overcome anything with help, and recognizing that and knowing when to ask for [help] is so important.”

In the name of knowing when to ask for help, Andy says, “If anyone [reading this] has contacts with retailers or advice on how to get into local or national stores, we’d love to talk. With the help of Startup CPG, I’ve already connected with a few other businesses like Myles Comfort Food, and he gave us great advice about RangeMe and other things. We also went to a meet and greet last summer and learned a lot about funding. It has been so great to have this community as we’ve grown.”

The best part of business

At the end of the day, the best part of running their business, Andy says, is “getting to see people’s reactions to our sauce. Every single person who tastes it always buys at least one bottle. Some people buy six bottles at a pop-up and then they’re walking around the city, and I’m like, ‘How are you going to carry these bottles around?’ We also have a lot of repeat customers on our website, people who have ordered 20 times over the last few years. They’ve stuck with us. The reception from people who try mambo sauce and love it is probably the thing I love most about this business — seeing people love something that I’m making.”

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