labels Texas Creek Products- Labels and Brand Evolution

salsalady

Business Member
I'd like to share a pictorial of our Texas Creek labels, where they started, how they evolved, where we were at when certain things changed and why some things are as they are right now. 
 
Maybe it will help others to see what we did wrong, how it could be better right now, and to think long term when working out a brand/logo/product line.
 
 
Here's the label that started it all back in the mid-90's.  A tattoo artist friend of ours sketched out the red and green chiles on pieces of white paper with colored pencils.  The first print company scanned them and that's where they started.  The original sketches have been lost (I'm REALLY bummed about that.) But such is life and almost 20 years later we can still work with the scanned images.
 
This is the only label I have of our original Cascade Salsa (from back in the mid-90's), cut out of the plastic salsa tub.
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When we moved to Eastern WA, I sold the Cascade Salsa business and brand, but kept the rights to use the chiles and the recipe to sell locally in north central WA. 
 
2001- back into the kitchen selling salsa at the farmer's market, and then developed 2 shelf stable hot sauces.  Scoville Deville was the first victim Volunteer! taste testing the Chipotle Hot Sauce.  Scovie was building an addition on our house, in a heat wave in June.  It was ~102F on the roof of the addition,  Scovie's putting down the roofing material, sweating his (patootie) off, and I'm bringing him hot sauce samples to try!
 
For the first two shelf stable sauce labels, we used the green and red chiles from the salsa label.  Tying all the products together.
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"romance panels" circa 2002-
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The salsa labels don't have a Heat Scale on them as I've always used added dots or other labels for heat indicators of Mild-Medium-Hot-Scorcher.  The salsa is only sold locally and all customers are repeat customers.  I haven't been to a FM or done a fresh salsa tasting for 8 years.
 
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another way to make labels-
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At this point, around 2004-2005, things were changing and moving forward.  There was  a ghost pepper sauce and a fruity glaze sauce in the works.  Time for another label!!!!
 
 
Or Not.....
 
 
We went back to our original artist to work up a Ghost Pepper caricature....and after several tries and misses.....this is one we used for a couple labels. 
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I never could get exactly the right feel for the Ghost Pepper design, and we were also working on a Tropical Ghost sauce which would require a Tropical chile pepper caricature...and thinking about a BBQ sauce needing a smokey chipotle chile caricature in the very near future......
 
The idea of trying to get a signature pepper caricature for every sauce and other product that would ever come into production in the future.......:headache:....seemed like a daunting task.
 
 
 
 
NOW- throw into the mix......
 
When working at the shared use kitchen, it had gone through some changes.  We put in a storefront featuring locally made specialty foods and artisan products as a way for the coop to support the facility.  As part of my contribution to the coop, I made some food products that were sold in the storefront, the profits of which helped support operations of the facility.
 
 
When the facility closed, there were a lot of customers who were buying these products locally. We didn't have a website for Texas Creek Products.  We were trying to get the Ghost Chile design finalized with the tattoo artist, but it just wasn't happening.  Now we were looking to try to bring 3 salad dressings and 2 mustards to market, none of which seemed to fit under the Texas Creek Hot Sauce brand.  Salad Dressings and Lavender Mustard didn't seem to mesh with Chipotle and Ghost Peppers...which was where the hot products seemed to have been heading......
 
So when the shared use kitchen closed, I took over the 5 products made for the kitchen and re-branded them as Methow Valley Gourmet.  Made and sold them locally for a few years.  They were slow sellers, so when time got tight, those products got dropped from production.  Here's the 3 salad dressings and 2 mustards that were in production.
 
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A year or so after I stopped making the chipotle mustard, I received some calls from customers and some feedback from the local store from customers looking for the chipotle mustard.  Okay...fine....so for a couple of years, I'd make the chipotle mustard and stock it at Hanks Market once a year.
 
Then I made the mistake of giving some samples to my corner market, they put it out for their hot dogs......'kay, now the mustard is back in production!   
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Here's the sauces with labels in chronological order-
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Here's the base products right now. 
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Looking back, I didn't' have THP and all the stuff I've learned here about labels and such,  My products have evolved from things made as a support item for the shared use kitchen , to items sold under private label. 
 
After deciding to not get a specific chile caricature for each sauce, I decided to go with the same TEXAS CREEK font on all labels, put some gradient images in the background specific to the sauce, and try to tie the sauces together with a similar look. 
 
Going forward, the chipotle mustard label will get a re-work to come back to the Texas Creek look and not have the Methow Valley Gourmet logo.  Eventually, the original Wildfire and Chipotle hot sauces will get a re-design to get them to look like the TCP with the gradient images in the background. 
 
The Red and Green chile people will always be on the salsa labels.  The rest of the Texas Creek Products labels will transition to the labels with the shaded background images. 
 
A Heat indicator will be added.
 
These changes have happened over time, and future changes will happen as label stock gets used up and it's time to order new labels. 
 
Hope it helps~
 
 
prolly several edits on this....
 
 
 
 
 

salsalady

Business Member
Thanks, Just did a couple more edits and added the chipotle mustard picture.  Missed that one last night. 
 

salsalady

Business Member
mecdave said:
Yes, very cool and interesting. Just wondering now where the Texas Creek name came from? Texan at heart? :)
 
No, where we live there really is a Texas Creek right across from our house.  It's known locally, in the semi-remote valley where we live.
 
Actually, that does bring up another point of What Not To Do.
 
Everyone in the Methow Valley knows where Texas Creek is, so when we originally chose the name, the only thing we were going to sell was salsa right here in the valley and bringing in Texas as part of the name seemed like a good way to bring in a word that brings to mind hot, spicy southwest type food images. 
 
15 years later, with an active website and online presence, and after attending some national food shows, and having to explain "But you live in Washington state, why does your name say you're from Texas?" over and over...that's one thing I would do differently.  Don't pick a name that's known and understood regionally but you'll have to explain to everyone else in the country.
 
Ha, count me as one of those wondering since I saw your product and your Wa location since joining up here. I've only been keeping one eye open for your sauces at the store. ;)
 
On the flip side I found a promising looking habanero/mango/ginger sauce at the store made by a Fisher and Wieser. Since that sounds like something that comes out of Napa Valley, I almost didn't buy it. Turns out the company made the 2013 salsa awards for a couple or three of their sauces and they're located less than an hours drive from me!
 
Ya just never know. :)
 
PS I really like chipotle. May have to check out your stuff.
 

salsalady

Business Member
You're exactly right, mecdave.  :lol:   
 
 
If nothing else, hanging out here on THP seems to make people more aware of label information, and most become avid label readers. 
 
Thanks for sharing. It brings inspiration...

I can only hope yhat years down the road i'm still in the game, looking back at how over my head i was and my benny hill style scramble for the perfect starter label :)
 

salsalady

Business Member
:lol:  Enjoy the Ride, Kalitarios!
 
Sometimes the B&W home printed label works fine!  Depending on were the product is going and the market, and sometimes, just getting the label on the product and getting it out to market is the point.
 
I currently have a small batch item in the store with a home-printed B/W label.  3 other products have office-supply-store printed sheet stock labels.  We decided to go with a B/W laser printer a couple years ago and do not have on-site color printing capability. Color printing at the local store is MUCH more cost effective for the number of labels needed for these small batch products. 
 
Sweet Ann! I want that first label signed and framed!
 
I never really realized this until now, but there isn't anything that ties all of your products together [brand/font].
 
It seems like the brand "Texas Creek" should all be the same color/font, brighter? bolder? :BOLD: so anyone that sees your product knows without a doubt who made it, like 'Hunts' or 'Kraft'. Not that your products are anything like those but those brands you recognize at a glance.
 
Not being critical, just an observation. xoxoxo
 

salsalady

Business Member
:lol:  
 
You'll get another!!!  some time, some where....  :lol:
 
 
 
And you are right about tying it all together.  Partly because I had the salad dressings which weren't chile-pepper related, and we couldn't figure out how to bring them into the Texas Creek brand (with the chiles in the designs). 
 
So Methow Valley Gourmet was created as a separate brand for the non-spicy foods.  Now they are all gone away but the Chipotle Mustard is back.....under the MV Gourmet brand as that's what I have in stock for labels.  :banghead: 
 
I'm looking at getting everything with the same look and Texas Creek name and design as the Ghost Fire, BBQ and Tropical.  Re-designing the original Chipotle and Wildfire to eliminate the red and green caricatures, and moving them to the gradient designs. 
 
Do you think moving the 2 white labels to the same as the BBQ, etc would create brand recognition, tying it all together?  You know the local markets and how dispersed the items are in the store.
 
I'm not looking for nitpicking of labels at this point.  When I'm ready to print another run of labels, that thread will be started.  :lol: 
 
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