7 Lessons on Authentic Growth from Callie's Hot Little Biscuit Founder, Carrie Morey

May 15, 2024

Carrie Morey is the owner and founder of Callie's Charleston Biscuits and Callie's Hot Little Biscuit, a handmade biscuit company she started 19 years ago using her mother Callie's recipes.  With a passion for Southern food and a desire to balance her career with raising her daughters, Carrie embarked on a journey to build a mail-order biscuit business at a time when online shopping was still in its infancy.

In this episode of “The Marketing Factor”, Carrie gets real about keeping an authentic, local feel alive while dreaming big and going global. She spoke on the wild ride of growing her business authentically, from personally dropping off biscuits at local spots to figuring out how to scale up production and distribution without losing that special touch. Carrie's story is all about staying true to your roots while chasing those big dreams.

Make sure to catch the full episode with Carrie Morey here:

Here are 7 key takeaways from our conversation:

1. Hiring a publicist who authentically believed in the product was key to early exposure

"Libba is just one of those people that comes into your life and you think, this person is just amazing at what she does - thoughtful and truly caring. She's not a typical PR person. She had great relationships and was able to say, 'Hey, let me send you some biscuits and see what you think.'"

Carrie gives major props to Libba Osborne, the publicist who always got what her brand was all about. Libba's genuine vibe and media connections helped put Callie's Charleston Biscuits on the map in those early days.

2. Writing a recipe blog provided value beyond just selling products

"She said, 'You should write a recipe blog. Then you're not always asking; you're giving, especially if the recipes aren't all about your products.'"

Libba dropped some wisdom on Carrie, telling her to start a recipe blog to connect with her audience beyond just pushing biscuits. By sharing all kinds of recipes and stories, Carrie built a deeper bond with her customers and kept them coming back for more.

3. Opening eateries was a strategy to gain regular customers for online and grocery sales

"It wasn't because I wanted to open a bunch of restaurants; it was because I was trying to market the online and grocery business."

Carrie's move to open Hot Little Biscuit spots wasn't just about getting into the restaurant business. It was a clever way to get regular customers hooked on her e-commerce and wholesale game. These brick-and-mortar locations let folks taste the biscuits and vibe with the brand in person.

4. Writing cookbooks connected people to the story behind the biscuits

"People want to connect with people, right? They want to know the story behind the biscuit. And when they do that, chances are they're going to be a customer for life because then they feel connected to you."

In her cookbooks, Carrie went deeper than just sharing some recipes - she opened up about the personal stories and experiences that made her brand what it is. By inviting readers into her world, she created a deep connection that turned casual customers into ride-or-die fans.

5. Carrie's authentic passion has attracted unique opportunities

"If it comes to me authentically, and it feels right and safe, then I will explore it. And the universe is crazy, because less than a year of me saying that to Libba, an opportunity came across our desks. We shot a pilot, and SCETV really backed the entire program."

Carrie's genuine love for what she does has brought some wild opportunities her way, like being on Top Chef and having her own PBS docu-series. By keeping it real and only saying yes to projects that feel right, she's attracted partnerships that help spread her brand's message far and wide.

6. If partnering to scale, Carrie's role would be maintaining the authentic story

"My role will be holding on to the story, making sure that we stay authentic, continuing to tell the story, and ensuring that we're still putting out a great product with a great brand. That would be my role if we do that."

As Carrie thinks about bringing in investors to help grow the business, she knows her main job will be to keep her brand's story authentic. By focusing on keeping her products and message on point, she can make sure that growth doesn't mean selling out.

7. Passion for the product takes a back seat to the realities of running a business

"To me, that's very contrarian because most people say, 'I'm starting this business because I'm passionate about biscuits and pimento cheese,' which I am. But it's not really about that anymore. I feel that passion for the business, but it is not me going in and putting on an apron and making some biscuits and walking out the door."

Carrie's journey shows how the passion that first drives an entrepreneur can take a backseat to the day-to-day grind of running and growing a business. Even though her love for biscuits and Southern eats is still at the heart of her company, Carrie's role has shifted to focus on the operational and strategic side of running a successful business.

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