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It’s the American dream: start with nothing but an idea and work hard enough, strategize smart enough, and build yourself a legacy for the generations. It’s how Johnson & Johnson became the behemoth brand it is today. It’s the self-built prowess behind the Hiltons and, yes, even Donald Trump.

And it is something each of us holds onto in a way. After all, some 7.8 million of us tune in to Shark Tank each week –– and even more watch the reruns and day-delayed airings on Hulu. Who will the next business-savvy family be? Who among us will achieve the ultimate American dream? And what can I learn from their success to maximize my own?

It’s that last question that makes our voyeurism of the rise to billionaire status so acceptable. It is why any article touting the advice of self-made millionaires goes viral. We want to know how to do it. We want to know the secrets to the success sauce. We want to mimic the route. Of course, it’s mimicry which so often spells disaster and failure. After all, what those self-made millionaires repeat again and again to oft deaf ears is this: no two roads to success are the same and if it’s been done before –– you likely need a new idea or at least a new point of view.

For online store World Seasonings, a family-owned seasoning blend business expanding from the B2B wholesaler realm into the B2C industry, none of this is news.

“My father had a restaurant a long time ago,” says Travis Bullock, founder and CEO of World Seasonings. “He developed and improved the recipes for our seasoning blends at his restaurant during its operation. When he closed the restaurant, he gifted me with the recipes to the blends. Being that we are a very entrepreneurial family, he thought they’d be great to sell to the public one day and he suggested that if I ever want to start a good business, I should sell the seasonings.”

Bullock didn’t go into business right away. Like so many entrepreneurs have said, timing is everything and passion is the key. It would take a date with his future wife and a desire to impress her with his cooking skills –– something he hadn’t inherited from his father –– to even bring the seasoning back out.

“I called my dad and asked him for help since she was coming over for dinner,” says Bullock. “He asked me if I had any of the seasonings he sent me, and thankfully I did. I pulled them out of the freezer and followed his directions. She pretty much licked her plate clean and said how impressed she was that I could cook! Me? Cook? Ha! But that’s when I realized how amazing the blends were.”

Fast-forward three years and Bullock’s wife was working at Sysco Foods in Washington D.C. With her foot in the door, the timing was ripe for getting the seasonings in the hands of chefs –– and World Seasonings as a company was begun.

“We quickly realized that we also needed to get these in the hands of everyday cooks as well to help them prepare healthy, delicious and quick meals for themselves and their families,” says Bullock. “We needed an online platform on which to sell, and Bigcommerce is helping us achieve that business goal.”

Customer Centricity as a Benchmark of Success

Sure, family history and a stroke of luck helped to get World Seasonings launched, but it has been their dedication to the customer which has grown the company from a B2B wholesaler into the B2C realm. Bullock knew that for non-chefs, like himself, it wasn’t enough to just sell the seasonings. His online store needed to be both a retailer and a service –– teaching customers how to use the spices to create delicious meals every single time.

“We were able to implement a recipes tab on each of our product pages, so customers could easily search recipes by blend and by individual ingredients like chicken, carrots, potatoes, etc,” says Bullock. “We also wanted to make the shopping process effortless. By adding features that enable the customer to add products to their cart from virtually any page they are on –– and we feel we have achieved that.”

Bullock uses high-quality photos as well as YouTube videos to explain exactly how to create specific recipes. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between a food blogger’s site and World Seasonings’, if you were to land on their recipes section.

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This dedication to recipe creation in combination with the brand’s seasonings isn’t just a marketing strategy, though. It is part of the full brand experience, as Bullock describes it.

“We wanted to design a website people talked about; not just about the blends, but our message as well. Branding is a very important concept to us and our website allows us to consistently convey our message that these seasoning blends can improve our customer’s lives by enabling them to cook delicious and healthy meals with just a few simple, fresh ingredients.”

In all, while World Seasonings’ products are sold in physical retail locations through the San Diego area, Bullock’s focus is on educating customers worldwide on the value and possible ease that can be found in healthy, tasty cooking. And he is willing to test out every medium available to him and to his potential customers in order to drive home a connection beyond the purchase.

“We wanted to become more than an online store that sells seasoning blends –– we also wanted to become an online source for recipes and inspiration for healthy cooking,” says Bullock. “To do that, we needed more than a blog. We needed a way to effectively educate our customers on our products and how to use them. Video is a must. Our recipe database is a must. Having a way for customers to easily find those recipes and videos was a must. Our goal was to build a website that would allow our customers an experience that would keep them coming back to our site not just to purchase our product, but to learn how to cook healthier food for themselves and their loved ones, and I think we did it.”

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