We had the good fortune of connecting with Noelle and Amy Ramirez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Noelle and Amy, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
The single most important contribution to the success of S’moreology was the decision to remain adaptable, allowing us to pivot and adjust as market trends changed alongside customer needs and demands. When we first dreamed of S’moreology in 2018, our goal was to introduce s’mores in a fresh and unique way. We set out to offer gourmet s’mores, handcrafted using artisan cookies, marshmallows, and topped with uniquely delicious toppings. We also wanted to disrupt the traditional concept of s’mores by creating beautiful, Insta-worthy treats that dazzled our customers and delivered a little bit of magic. We toasted s’mores on the spot for people to see, and watched their faces light up with excitement. Our very first pop-up took place at an outdoor cinema event, and just as we’d hoped, customers fell in love with our s’mores and couldn’t resist pulling out their phones to record as soon as we brought out the blow torch. The result? We were overwhelmed by amazing Instagram stories, snaps, and social media posts that put S’moreology in the spotlight. In a world where seemingly every small business focuses on revenue or sales, we began to only focus on one thing. Customer experience. We learned early on that listening to their questions, comments, and feedback was infinitely more valuable than anything else. We watched people take their first bites, and observed their reaction to our s’mores. Did they laugh or smile? Did they struggle to eat it? How did their friends react to it, did they want to get in on the fun? Every positive reaction we received assured us that we had created something special. And every opportunity for improvement gave us another reason to keep innovating. Paying attention to the customer experience is the first step in pivoting and improving. Early on, we observed that some customers felt overwhelmed by the number of s’mores flavors we offered, and asked if we could cut s’mores in half to share with each other in order to try more flavors. We went back to the test kitchen and began experimenting. It was only a few weeks later that we added s’mores flights to our menu – the perfect solution for those who couldn’t decide on a flavor as it includes 3 flavors in a smaller size, plated beautifully side-by-side. Introducing a new menu item isn’t always as easy as whipping up something new and exciting in the kitchen. To accommodate our new item, we needed to adjust the way we approached our 10×10 tent space and order new supplies and equipment before retraining our team. After posting our new menu item on Instagram, our followers went crazy and flooded our next pop-up at Smorgasburg. The long lines and loyal customers had us sold out in 3 hours, and this trend continued for weeks. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our pop-up opportunities came to a standstill, and small businesses across the globe, including ours, were faced with seemingly impossible decisions. Should we close S’moreology? Again, we opted to pivot and adapt our business model to accommodate a new normal. Our team went back to the drawing board to figure out how to keep making magic for our customers, eventually deciding on a safe and efficient way to deliver DIY s’mores kits that can be enjoyed from the comfort of our customers’ homes, or sent to a friend. We spent weeks experimenting with packaging, shipping boxes, cushioning, ice, and test shipments until we were absolutely confident that our customers would receive beautiful, in-tact s’mores kits that were just as Instagrammable as pre-pandemic. We overhauled our website to create an eCommerce platform, allowing customers to shop and purchase with ease. We offered nationwide shipping and local delivery, and couldn’t believe the overwhelming support we received after announcing our new kits. In a sense, the COVID-19 pandemic was just the push we needed to stay agile and persevere. Our online success made it possible to bring back our team and keep our business growing and thriving, even in the midst of a pandemic. In 2020, we truly learned the importance of remaining nimble and adaptable, as it’s led us to continued success.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
We are in process of opening our first brick and mortar in West Covina. This project is keeping us extremely busy. Juggling meetings with our architect, electrical and plumbing contractors, engineers, and continuing our day to day operations is a challenge. But we are excited for the future and cannot wait to the day we open our doors to the public.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many amazing and interesting places to check out in Los Angeles. One of our favorite things to do is hop in the car and drive along PCH. It’s such a beautiful way to experience the ocean and catch a view of a few surfers or kayakers. If you’re craving something delicious to eat, we love the dumplings at Din Tai Fung, Korean BBQ in K-town, or having a couple of Al Pastor tacos from Leo’s tacos. If you have a sweet tooth, you have to try a Strawberry Donut from The Donut Man in Glendora.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We’re unbelievably grateful for each and every customer that’s allowed us into their homes, invited us into their social media feeds, and told their friends about us. We wouldn’t be in business today if it weren’t for you, and we can’t wait for the day that we get to serve up more s’mores, live and in person, to say thank you. We’re also grateful to our family, friends, Smorgasburg, Crafted Kitchen, GoldBelly and our network of local food vendors who have been an incredible support system for us. Special thank you to Drunken Cake Pops and Cookieteria by Lovely.
Noelle Ramirez Emily Valentine Maya Myers Vanessa Stump