Over the last 20 years, a local spice and seasoning operation has slowly been gaining ground in the highly competitive market, but not in ways that you might think. Up until this point, spices by Kissed by the Sun have been mainly available at local fairs, festivals, farmers’ markets, and even The Broadway Market. The company sets up at numerous market venues each year, which has allowed the owners to command a solid and growing customer base. In fact, we must give a little credit to the local WNY event scene, which has allowed them to set up at over 80 functions a year!
So far, in 2008, Kissed by the Sun Spices has sold 30,000 bottles, which equates to over 5000 pounds of herbs.
“We’ve made a point to go to the customer, instead of waiting for them to come to us,” says co-owner Rick Fickhesen Sr. – half of the husband and wife duo that makes up Kissed by the Sun Spices. “It was a pretty long road, but when you see customers week to week with nothing but positive feedback you know you’re onto something and that it will just continue to grow.”
When asked about their commitment to WNY, co-owner and master blende Liz Fickhesen states, “We really want to become a staple in our hometown of Buffalo before we move on to bigger markets, but we’re pretty close and excited for what will come next!”
Capitalizing on that momentum, the company recently launched and eCommerce website @ www.kissedbythesunspiceco.com – a move that has helped to generate additional sales, making 2018 their best year yet.
These days, with five kids and a growing spice company, Rick and Liz certainly have their hands full. But life wasn’t always so hectic. Two decades earlier, Liz was living in the Caribbean… living the dream. That’s about the time that she came across a local fish head stew recipe, which prompted her to whip up her own blend of seasoned sea salt (a blend of ginger root, celery, garlic, parsley, and kosher sea salt). That initial blend eventually led to the creation of 8 Signature Seasonings, including a couple of traditional blends:
- Sizzlin’ Steak, made with sea salt, garlic, whole peppercorns, caraway seeds, and crushed red pepper
- Sunny Island Seasoning which starts off with a spicy kick then finishing with notes of citrus
What makes Kissed by the Sun Spices so loved among followers is certainly the taste, but it’s also Rick and Liz’s dedication to the quality of the blends. Their seasonings are not only organic, they also focus on preparing low to no sodium blends (over half of their seasoning mixes containing no salt). When you’re talking about blending spices, this can be difficult to achieve.
It will be interesting to see the new directions that Rick and Liz head in 2019 and beyond. They are hinting that they are preparing to take the Buffalo brand outwards, to share with the rest of the country, and possibly even the world. Of course their online sales will help to make that happen, but it sounds as if they are talking about expanding their offerings far beyond online sales. If this exciting momentum continues, you never know… maybe ten years down the line Buffalo might be known for its chicken wings, beef on weck, and its spices!