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Starr Edwards: “Not much one can do, very humbling”

I am very thankful to be able to work with my family and friends and continue to grow our Bitchin’ Team! With several industries being forced to furlough long time employees, it has been so humbling to be able to bring on some of my dearest friends to grow new areas of our business that […]

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I am very thankful to be able to work with my family and friends and continue to grow our Bitchin’ Team! With several industries being forced to furlough long time employees, it has been so humbling to be able to bring on some of my dearest friends to grow new areas of our business that I am very passionate about. Namely, our Bitchin’ Kids daycare program and the Bitchin’ Foundation, which will help children and young families. It brings me hope and joy to work with loved ones.


The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of my series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Starr Edwards.

Along with her husband L.A, Starr oversees all aspects of the natural food production company behind award-winning Bitchin’ Sauce. Day to day she monitors operations, handles key accounts (including Whole Foods, Target, Wal-Mart, and Costco), and spreads her authentic brand vision and business ethic. Together Starr and L.A continue to expand their saucy empire throughout the U.S. and abroad.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

My husband L.A. and I started the Bitchin’ Sauce out of necessity to provide for our firstborn child, and family has remained the driving factor in our company culture.

I was working as a personal chef’s assistant and L.A. was a touring musician. I’d been making Bitchin’ Sauce for a handful of years, and I decided to take it to the local farmers markets along with some other scrumptious baked goods I was selling at the time. The Sauce sold out immediately and it quickly became a full-time gig for both of us. We’d spend days saucing in the kitchen; take turns going to the different markets while the other would hang out with the babies; other times we’d simply bring them into the office. We built the company to support a healthy family/work/life balance.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

We used to bring 3–4 oversize Igloo coolers to the big weekend markets; each one would fit just under 200 of our sauces. Once the market got underway we’d be wheeling and dealing nonstop for 8 hours. It was essentially a Bitchin’ feeding frenzy. L.A. and I were in the thick of it one day and he accidentally moved a cooler while my hand was in a bad spot and broke my pinky. It looked like an accordion. I quickly grabbed my pinky so he wouldn’t see the damage (he was a little squeamish at the time) and the force reset all the bones. All of the markets were a lot of fun but that day was especially fun… My pinky is still a little crooked! I’m a saucer, not a doctor.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Bitchin’ Sauce is launching a new “To-Go” line that will be available in convenience stores very soon! The new line is composed of our Original and Chipotle flavors accompanied by either tortilla chips or fresh carrots. We’ve received lots of requests for smaller sizes over the years. It is really easy to polish off an 8oz tub in a single sitting. Our Bitchin’ Snackers are the perfect size for portion control. And, no more double-dipping — a Bitchin’ win for humanity! We also just launched our Bitchin’ Sweet line which is quickly becoming a fan favorite. We have Chocolate, Salted Caramel, and Apple Pie flavors, they are all super delicious and my daughters love to eat it straight out of the tub by the spoonful.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

At the risk of sounding sappy, I’ve got to say it’s L.A. When he gave me that second-hand Vitamix, it came with a little note that read “I believe in you”. He followed that sentiment with action; from insisting on being the head chef to reorganizing the warehouse on Father’s Day. There have been a lot of sacrifices made and I am very grateful to have a partner that believes in me so whole-heartedly.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?

We just had our fourth child, Isabel, in May. All of our children have grown up in the office/kitchen. We were really excited to have the leadership in place so that I was not required to immediately return to daily operations. However, being in my final trimester during the pandemic was a little unsettling. On the day of the delivery, our midwives had to leave unexpectedly and L.A. ended up having to deliver Isabel! Fortunately, she was born happy and healthy and it ended up being an exceedingly tender, bonding moment.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

Not much one can do, very humbling.

Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?

Staying up to date with compliance as an essential business has been a constantly evolving landscape and the failure to comply has large repercussions. In food manufacturing, we don’t let any cold/flu slide and it was a bad year for colds and flu even outside of Coronavirus. Additionally, incentivizing employees to come to work, even as essential workers, has been difficult with government unemployment benefits.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

We’ve remained very diligent about staying within COVID compliancy guidelines and consequently hired additional Human Resources. Our team was quick to act and we doubled down on our existing PTO and Sick Leave policies to alleviate the strain on our essential employees, even before the CARES Act was signed. We’ve also done two rounds of employee bonuses to reward our amazing Bitchin’ staff.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

Our four children (11y, 8y, 4y, 3m) have been home-schooled for the past three years, and are very independent. With L.A.’s touring schedule, this was a necessity or else we would never see each other. Being present with the family has been paramount in our lives and we’ve structured our business to meet this need. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that the rest of the world would be forced to emulate our crazy, gyspy child-rearing practices. The best days follow a loose schedule: breakfast, school, all the other things. We set aside time each day for family dinner and Jeopardy. It is important to not lose patience or get down on yourself when things go pear-shaped.

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?

I went through Yoga Training Certification a few years ago, and the whole family does yoga together. We’re all very competitive as well so we play a lot of board games; Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride are our current favorites. I love having time to stare at our baby. The kids love to write comic books and songs. Birdwatching also became a new pastime — we are up to 200 species! I’m also working on my sommelier certification (self-taught).

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

I am a firm believer that gratitude is the path to hope. When I consider and count my blessings, it helps me to believe for continued goodness in the future.

So, on that note, and in no particular order:

I am thankful for the kiddos. A huge part of why I started Bitchin’ Sauce was to be around my baby. I hated the thought of missing out on a single milestone in his life. It was a great blessing to be able to bring my kids to work and enjoy their presence and development. As we began to hire more employees with young children, we decided to start a free on-site daycare(Bitchin’ Kids) so that they could share in this joy. I’ll never forget when I learned our VP of Ops was able to see his daughter’s first steps because of this program. Enter Covid-19, we have had increased enrollment and are now looking to hire on-site tutors and build a rock climbing wall. Still, the kids have an uncanny ability to go with the flow. They are resilient and that brings me hope.

I am thankful for the ability to give. When you are in a slump, the quickest way out is to help other people.

We were on tour with the band in Vancouver when lockdown went into full effect in April, it was a long ride home to Nashville! With the touring side of the music industry essentially ending overnight, lots of musicians were up the creek without a paddle. We started an Instagram livestream series called “Bitchin’ Sauce Presents” to support musicians who rely on touring as their primary source of income. I think we’re the only dip company with a concert series, but it has been super fun and fans are really enjoying it. We have also been able to donate thousands of tubs of Bitchin’ Sauce to frontline healthcare workers to show appreciation and support. The way that communities come together to support each other in times of need inspires great hope.

I am thankful for required nimbleness and the ingenuity that follows. My experience as an entrepreneur has been entrenched in developing out of necessity; the recipe was created out of a need for better tasting plant-based options, we went to farmer’s markets out of a need for cash flow, we began selling to stores because we needed to keep the cash flowing during a rainy San Diego winter. It has been encouraging to see so many different sectors pivoting to address the abrupt changes of their operational landscape. There will be ingenious, world-changing advancements rising from the ashes of this pandemic. I find hope in the endless innovation of the human spirit.

I am thankful for the long run; the opportunity to grow in patience. Bitchin’ Sauce was born during the last recession. One of my favorite brands, Nutella, shares a common origin story. It has taken time for us to grow, yet we keep forging ahead. In a culture so associated with instant gratification, it is nice to be reminded that some things take time: Patience and Hope go hand in hand.

I am very thankful to be able to work with my family and friends and continue to grow our Bitchin’ Team! With several industries being forced to furlough long time employees, it has been so humbling to be able to bring on some of my dearest friends to grow new areas of our business that I am very passionate about. Namely, our Bitchin’ Kids daycare program and the Bitchin’ Foundation, which will help children and young families. It brings me hope and joy to work with loved ones.

From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

On one hand, technology is constantly prodding — pressing for responses every moment of the day. On the other hand, we have the ability to see family and friends face to face, even though the conversation is performed remotely. The need for human connection is more prevalent now than ever before. Give your friends & family a call and tell them you love them!

Maybe take a note from my Grandma Jean; call weekly, be genuine, and keep the conversation to less than 8 minutes. It is a strategy for long term success, regardless of a pandemic.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I had a pretty gnarly unibrow as a kid. My mom thought it was cute and my Dad lovingly introduced me to Audrey Hepburn. This quote from her particularly resonated with me:

I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.

-Audrey Hepburn

How can our readers follow you online?

Follow us at @bitchinsauce on Facebook and Instagram! Our current company happenings are also regularly updated on LinkedIn.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!


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