Welcome to No-MaTer Sauce Company
Sauces That Taste Like They Have Tomato...But Don't!
Whether you suffer from an allergy, get acid indigestion, or some other reason you are not able to eat or enjoy tomatoes, now you can still enjoy the sauces!
In late 2016 my husband found that he had developed a tomato allergy. The days of BBQ ribs, lasagna, spaghetti, and even fries dipped in a delicious tomato-based fry sauce seemed to be over.
Taste is such a huge part of life that I decided to see what we could do to mix it up. There HAD to be a way to mimic the zesty yumminess that a tomato brings to a dish without causing him distress. The hunt began...
After two years of experimentation, we finally developed a marinara sauce and BBQ sauce that are delicious and tomato-free!!
The first thing we made was lasagna. You can find our recipe under recipes and wow was it delicious! That settled it, we had a way to still enjoy our favorite tomato (and BBQ) dishes without setting off the tomato allergy!
Notable other negative effects that this could avoid due to the absence of this key ingredient are: acid indigestion, hot flashes, and auto-immune flare ups.
The next stage of our journey began in 2019...how to make this available to others.
What a process!
For all of you entrepreneurs out there who tackled this, I applaud you. It was daunting. I admit to throwing in the towel a few times. But my husband and friends were rooting for me, so I kept pushing forward. We made a decision to start with renting a commercial kitchen and I was mere days away from signing the contract when, you guessed it, the Covid pandemic closed down the world and altered so many lives. I do feel blessed that I did not already commit to many contracts before this world event happened.
Fast forward to 2021, cause really 2020 was a wash for many people if not one of the worst years of our lives. Plans changed, we re-evaluated our position on the commercial kitchen and decided that me holding down a full-time job and trying to cook every weekend might be a not-so-great idea. So, enter in the bottling companies. There are so many great bottling companies out there, it was difficult to narrow it down. That is, until I started talking with Motherlode. I cannot recommend them enough as they have been so welcoming and encouraging!
Mid-2021... we have a website, an Instagram presence, and a Facebook presence. But still no product...yet. Finalizing the bottling process and going through the regulatory approval (yup, FDA approval required). I am so grateful that I have the honor of working with wonderful people at Motherlode. They have been so patient with my lack of experience and knowledge and have recommended me to another great company for my label, Blair Labeling. The first product that is going through this arduous process is the No-MaTer Marinara Sauce. The great people at Blair Labeling have also shown their amazing customer service and kindness in working together with me to produce a great label (and in the right format so they can print it).
2022: I had thought when the year started that I would be announcing that inventory was up! But alas, there were a few other surprises that delayed us. Access to funding as a startup has changed quite a bit as banks are way more risk averse than they were 3 years ago. It took a little longer than I anticipated, but in March I was finally able to give the green light to make product!
2023: The race continued as I worked to get into stores and get off the ground. With Covid came a big change to Farmer's Markets and restrictions. The expenses to even get on the list to get a spot at a Farmer's Market were much higher than I had anticipated. Coupled with the rules that I would need not only a state income tax license (which I have) but also a city tax license, a fire code certificate, liability insurance certificate (which I have), and also a health certified wash station at my booth if I was to give out samples...it was harrowing to attempt. Then I found out that vendors are not allowed to broadcast to passers-by about their goods. I get it, it's annoying and adds to the clamor at the event, but a tomato-free marinara sauce isn't exactly something most people would stop by to learn more about without some vocal invitation (especially advertising samples). I signed up for a couple despite this, but the red tape and the limitations turned out to be the demise of this idea. Meanwhile, I was also working to get into Kroger, Sprouts, Natural Grocers, and Whole Foods and knew that the time was limited as grocery stores require 18 months minimum on the best by date or they will not stock on shelves. This meant October 2023. Well, Kroger was not interested as the price point was too high for a niche product; Natural Grocers was also not interested as it was not certified Organic and non-GMO (two very pricy certifications; Sprouts timing was not in my favor as they were not accepting any new products due to a reorganization/restructure internally. That left Whole Foods. I submitted to corporate and even called a couple of the local stores who expressed genuine interest in No-MaTer! Alas, that's as far as it went...I couldn't get past corporate red tape.
Mid-2023: I was unfortunately running out of ideas on how to spread the word about No-MaTer. I thankfully was still able to sell through this website! But even that was becoming problematic. With shipping options pretty well limited to UPS or USPS and my shipments being delayed, damaged, or lost (all things out of my control), some customers were becoming frustrated. I had even submitted claims to UPS with no success about their abuse of my shipments. Complaints started coming in that my shipping rates were too high, despite my corporate rates. I realized I was competing with expectations like we all appreciate of Free Shipping through common e-commerce sites like Amazon. And 2-day shipping at that with free returns. This all culminated to a hard decision: when to close up shop. Without a considerable amount of capital investment into marketing and potentially a legal team to fight with UPS and USPS to reimburse me for the lost and damaged goods, No-MaTer was not going to make it.
End-2023...the end: I announced in June 2023 that No-MaTer would be closing up shop by the end of 2023. The date is final: 12/15/2023 will be the last day that I accept any orders. I will be closing down and donating the remainder of the jars to local food banks.
If you've read through the saga, I thank you! It has been a journey, an adventure, and I do not regret starting it. I don't believe that this is "quitting" but realizing that the No-MaTer journey is at an end and it is time to prepare myself for the next journey. I appreciate everyone who cheered me on, gave No-MaTer a chance, helped spread the word, and supported me. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to take this chance and learn all that I have over the past few years.