Any barbeque fanatic thinks that he or she has the best sauce for their barbeque but Lake Stevens couple Kevan and Laura Kipp know that their Frawg & Turtle sauce definitely tops the list.
Back in 2006, Kevan started messing around with a barbeque that included apple butter for flavor. He knew he was getting somewhere when Laura, normally a fish lover, couldn’t stop devouring the ribs he’d made with his new concoction.
“Laura had tasted a lot of stuff I’d made previously and she’d pretty much nod her head and I’d get a smile from her,” Kevan said. “I finally nailed something to the point where she was leaning over the sink eating a rib. I said, ‘hey ya wanna sit and eat?’ She shook her head no and kept eating the rib.”
After making the barbeque sauce from freshly made apple butter, they found they now had two marketable products.
“My aunt and uncle have an orchard in Manson so I thought if we could make our own apple butter and get the left over apples from the orchard, it would be cost effective to make the BBQ sauce and then when it turned out so well, we decided to market the apple butter also,” Laura said.
With the success of the barbeque sauce and apple butter, more products cameinto view for the couple including Hickory Apple BBQ, Original Apple Mustard, Hot N’ Horsey Apple Mustard, Tadpole’s Tuscan Rub, and Apple Hickory-Smoked Sea Salt.
“The mustard was an experiment and the first time Kevan set it out with some chicken apple sausage it was devoured. So being from the south, and knowing how people love their hot sauces he decided to create a hot version as well,” Laura explains.
Starting a business has been eye-opening experiences for the Kipps and without friends and family who believed in them they would not be where they are today.
“You have to be willing to risk everything for success. The house, the kids, the cars, the dog, you’re full time career and guaranteed income, all of it,” Kevan said. “People need to understand that this isn’t a hobby. You need to be willing to put your butt on the line.”
You also have to have a product that you believe in and the Kipp’s truly love their products and see the potential they have.
“Our stuff is better than anything else on the shelf. Everything else is corn syrup and water,” Kevan said. “You don’t believe me, do a taste test. It’s really that simple. Our stuff will blow you away.”
The success we have had so far is an indication of how far we can go with this. In two years we are in over 65 stores and we haven’t even been able to do this full time yet.
It is also important for them to use local products and ingredients on all of their sauces and butters.
“We knew we had a specialty product that was the only one of it’s kind on the market. That with the fact that we were using Washington apples and supporting the agriculture business we believed we would have a lot of support,” Laura said. “We also tried to maintain the most natural ingredients while maintaining great flavors and nutrient values.”
If the company continues to progress as it has over the last two years, the Kipps will need their sunglasses because they have a future bright with great opportunity to grow.
“We already have an order for 75 QFC’s, and they are a subsidiary of Kroeger, which is a nation-wide chain. We’ll see that by the end of the summer,” Kevan said. “We’ll be everywhere in five years.” Laura explains that they are taking it slow and don’t want to grow too fast, but they have many new ideas up their sleeve.
“We want to first make a real impact on the State of Washington. If we had listened to all of the “no” people, we’d be done by now. We’re not,” she said. “The success we have had so far is an indication of how far we can go with this. In two years we are in over 65 stores.”
If you haven’t tried Frawg N Turtle sauces and rubs yet, don’t wait. Many of their products have won awards throughout the country and can be found locally at Jay’s Market, Bartell Drug and Hawkeyes in Lake Stevens. You can also check out www.frawgnturtle.com for a list of all stores. You will also find them at the Aquasox where they are the Official Team Sauce for the Aquasox again this year.