Molly Fienning on Running a Food Service Company During COVID, Learnings from Building Two 7 Figure Businesses, and Ways to Avoid Burnout

Molly is Co-founder and CEO of Red Clay Hot Sauce, a modern, Southern hot sauce and hot honey company that brings a new kind of heat by putting flavor over fire. Molly discovered Red Clay (Geoff’s Charleston hot sauce with a cult following) when she tried it with local oysters at a restaurant where he was Chef. She didn’t even like hot sauce at the time, and Red Clay was the best sauce she had ever tasted—there was a delicious complexity about it. It made her a hot sauce convert on the also made her part-owner of a new budding business.

She launched Red Clay with Chef/Co-Founder Geoff Rhyne in 2015 and then stepped into the role of CEO in 2018 with the mission of crafting delicious Southern sauces using sustainable practices and local ingredients, sauces that enhance (not mask) the food on your plate. Since becoming CEO, Red Clay has grown 4X year over year in gross revenue, has rolled out to The Fresh Market doors nationally and has been confirmed for a Whole Foods Market 2020 launch.

Prior to Red Clay, Molly Fienning was Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Babiators, one of Forbes’ 100 Most Promising Companies and the leading sunglasses brand for babies & kids (with 3.5+ million pairs sold). Molly graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. She lives in Charleston with her husband Ted and their two sweet and smart boys, Sawyer and Fox.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Molly dives right in and shares what it’s been like to run a food service company during the pandemic and survive all the changes. (2:11)
  • The background story of how Red Clay hot sauce came to be with a date night and Molly’s industry experience with consumer packaged goods. (6:10)
  • The three biggest learnings in the beginning of building a business from the zero to seven figures of a company. (11:51)
  • How to find the right people and create a support network when you’re in the baby stages of growing your business. (16:57)
  • Molly’s advice when you do want to quit and throw in the towel, or think about finding a new project or something else to work on. (20:15)
  • Her biggest obstacles as an entrepreneur and how Molly found ways to move past them and create solutions. (23:56) 

Connect with Molly: 

Shop Red Clay hot sauce: 


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