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Meet Samantha Swan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Swan.

Hi Samantha, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Cottage Lane Kitchen isn’t just a business but a home kitchen with a family story. The last batch of my family relish was made in our home kitchen by my Grandfather in the early 1990s. There were only a few bottles remaining by 2010 as my father used to gift me bottles for holidays and birthdays. Those bottles of relish were treasures to me as they tied me to my Grandfather and our family relish that I had been eating since a child. No recipe was ever written down as it was always passed down by making it together with family members. I was determined to keep this family heirloom alive and asked my father to help me cook a batch. I meticulously recorded my father’s groupings of onions, spices and peppers into standard measurements of cups and teaspoons and had him taste it as it cooked to the correct consistency. And the recipe worked! It was as delicious and spicy as I remembered it. After the first batch, my husband suggested selling a commercial batch at a local farmers market and we have grown steadily from there.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I would think starting a business is never a smooth road – it’s more like a bumpy ride that keeps you moving forward with excited anticipation. You never know what the day will bring – it might be a new wholesale account, a supply delay, the excitement of bookkeeping ;), meetings with a mentor, shipping products, marketing activities – every day, month, year is different depending on your growth strategy and what stage you are in your business.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a fourth-generation relish maker and proud of the heirloom history and lineage of our products. We use all fresh ingredients just like my great-grandmother would have had in her kitchen.

We have won over 30 international, national, state and local awards and recognitions in our ten years history.

And I think being a woman-owned business that makes spicy condiments, which is usually more male-dominated, sets us apart.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
I don’t think this is necessarily MY memory or my FAVORITE one – but my sister, who is seven years older than me, would tell the story of when I was a toddler in my high chair and my father would feed me pizza with my family’s spicy pepper relish on it. Tears would be streaming from my eyes due to the cayenne pepper heat, but I would continue to open my mouth – like a baby bird – for more. I still think that is the best paring – pizza and pepper relish!

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Stacey Sprenz, Roby Swan, Samantha Swan

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