Fundr’s Founder Spotlight gives us a chance to meet the founders of startups that are disrupting their industries! In today’s Fundr Founder Spotlight, we meet Lisa Campbell, Founder and President of Mr. Frank’s Kitchen, a company working to change the spice game in kitchens around the world.
Q: Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for being part of the Fundr Founder Spotlight series. Your company, Mr. Frank’s Kitchen, wants to transform the way we cook. How do you make everyday cooking extraordinary?
A: Mr. Frank’s Kitchen is working to bring the finest quality of global flavors to kitchens all over the world with ease and efficiency. Right now, when you go to the spice aisle at your grocery store, the most common herbs and spices are filled with additives which means that your jar of spices isn’t just spices. You have to use more of them to get the deep flavor you want in your dishes. Our spices are clean - they have no additives or bulk added so you get more for your money, and most importantly, pure and high-quality flavor for your meals.
Q: You are obviously so passionate about your work and what you’re creating. What motivated you to start this business?
A: This company was founded in honor of my late father, Mr. Frank Postl. My dad had a legendary restaurant called Frank’s Steak House & Tavern, and it’s his legacy - and some of his original recipes - that are being carried forward in my business. My dad’s Original Seasoning is what started all of this. It made me so happy to share this family recipe and then my own spice blends with the whole world.
My dad instilled in me a deep commitment to excellence, the love of great food, and a focus on fun, creating memories, and family. I’m a mom, and these are all the things I’m hoping to pass on to my kids. For me, a lot of that starts in the kitchen around a good meal. I’m also a chef, so I’m excited about providing my spices to chefs and companies around the world so that everyone can experience the great flavors we make.
Q: That’s really exciting! How are you getting your spices and spice blends out into the world?
A: I’m really excited to share that Mr. Frank’s Kitchen is working with Sysco and U.S. Foods, the two largest food distributors in the country. Bob’s Burger & Brew uses my spices on their menu across the Pacific Northwest and we are excited for some future partnerships with other restaurants and food companies like Pacific Seafood and other food manufacturers. We are also working to get our spices and spice blends into universities, hospitals, casinos, and retail stores in the near future.
I’m also really excited to share that I was just given the massive opportunity to sponsor the seasonings for Chef Eric Ripert’s huge event, the Cayman Cookout in the Grand Caymans! The executive chef of the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, Frederic Morineau, loves our seasonings and is bringing them into his kitchen, as well.
It’s also really important to me that everyone has access to high quality and healthy spices with no additives, so in addition to reaching a lot of people through those restaurant chains and distributors, we also sell our spices directly to customers to use at home. We work hard to make the best products because I want Mr. Frank’s to be a household name - I want you to reach for it because you know the products deliver every time.
Q: Why should investors back Mr. Frank’s Kitchen? What sets you apart from the other spice companies?
A: The products we sell are cleaner and more flavorful. We aren’t adding things like tricalcium phosphate or spice extracts to our spices and blends, which you will find in most jars in your supermarket. The ingredients in our Original Seasoning are salt, garlic, pure cane sugar, black pepper, celery, turmeric, chili de arbol, and paprika. That’s it. It’s obvious that there is demand - our customers include everyone from commercial food suppliers, high-end chefs, and home cooks who all want to use clean herbs and spices.
Also, my business stands apart because I am passionate about this work. In a fast-paced world where cooking gets replaced with ordering out or eating processed foods, I want to help people who want to cook at home by giving them great flavors easily and efficiently with my blends. You don’t have to buy 10 different spice jars to make a great meal - each blend is deeply flavorful on its own. This isn’t just about the bottom line for me. I want to be successful because I’m creating something that helps other people live better, healthier lives.
Q: What do you like most about being a founder?
A: I feel passionately about the products I’m creating, and being a founder gives me the freedom and flexibility to build a product line that I’m personally interested and invested in. Every single product I sell is one that I use myself. Seeing these spices and spice blends go from an idea in my mind, to testing in my own kitchen with my own family, to mass creation, and distribution is incredibly satisfying. It brings me great joy to be in the position to build my own company that celebrates my father’s legacy and our family traditions, while also bringing my own expertise and experiences to everything I make.
Q: What advice do you have for other founders?
A: There are a few things I think about often:
Never give up on your dreams, and lead with your passion.
Don’t be afraid to share your story. It’s what sets you - and your business! - apart from everyone else.
Always be authentic to yourself and don’t be afraid to fall and skin your knees, just make damn sure you dig deep to get back up - Every. Single. Time.
In business it’s important to never overpromise and underdeliver. People respect honesty, and always remember excellent customer service.
Know that things always cost more than you expect so plan accordingly.
Some days you in fact won’t have a clue what you are doing, but your gut instinct will lead the way if you quiet the storm to listen. Trust in it. At the same time, know your strengths and weaknesses and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Understand that there will always be people out there who will happily tell you why you shouldn't do it or how hard it is. Don’t let them steal your light.
Build your village early. Having a strong support system behind you is essential not only in the business, but outside of it when you just need a friendly face to listen.
Follow Lisa and Mr. Frank’s Kitchen on social media and sign up for Fundr to invest in her business.
Lisa Campbell on LinkedIn