Wayne Malden is the owner of So Good Sauce LLC, a food company specializing in selling homemade barbecue sauce, based in the metro Atlanta area. We sat down with Wayne to learn more about how he started his business.
Wayne Malden grew up in rural Evergreen, Alabama, and knew from an early age that he wanted to become a business owner. “Our first home had no electricity, no running water, we had a tin roof and cooked in our fireplace. I knew early on that wasn’t the life I envisioned for my future.”
Wayne says his entrepreneurial spirit stems from his grandfather, who helped raise him. “My grandfather always had side businesses going to earn extra money. As a child, I was always selling something, whether it was candles or candies, and even firewood. By the time I was in eighth grade I was working two jobs.”
Wayne’s desire to improve his life didn’t stop there. In 1982 he became the first in his family to graduate college from Alabama State University. In 2015, after taking classes at the University of Georgia on how to start a food business, his food business, So Good Sauce LLC was launched and became a certified brand on April 27, 2017.
Wayne’s love of good food is something that was instilled in him from a young age. “I remember being five years old, standing on a stool in the kitchen with my grandmother helping her cook. She used to tell me, ‘you need to learn this because I won’t always be here,’ and by the time I was ten I was cooking dinner for the whole family.”
Wayne has always been passionate about crafting and perfecting his own recipes, especially barbeque sauce. “Everyone in my family has their own sauce recipe, so I was just making my recipe for myself, my wife, and children. For this current recipe, I started working on it in 2006, and I kept saying it was missing something. So, I kept playing with it until 2010.”
Wayne’s high-quality recipes quickly earned him a reputation with his coworkers. “I brought the sauce to work with me and on lunch breaks, my coworkers kept asking to try it. They started bringing in their own bottles and would give me five dollars to fill it up with sauce. Word started to spread and that was when the light went off that I could make a business out of this.”
Wayne quickly put his cooking and business skills to use to get his business off the ground. “When I was taking classes at the University of Georgia the teacher said that only 2% of food businesses will get their product in a store. I knew it could be done and I was determined to be a part of the 2% and not part of the 98%. Now I have my sauce in 22 stores across two states, and I even have international customers who buy my sauce online.”
As Wayne’s business has grown, so have his insurance needs, which is why he’s glad he found CoverWallet. “The larger retailers that carry my sauce required insurance coverage that I was able to get through CoverWallet. They equipped me with the tools and credentials I needed to grow my business, and I love the simple online platform, and the customer service is second to none. I can describe it in one word. Amazing!”
Most impressive of all is that Wayne does not have any business partners or employees. “I do everything myself, and I still work a full-time job. I run So Good Sauce during the day and go to my other job at night. I probably only get about four hours of sleep a night.”
Despite his busy schedule Wayne still finds time to cook for his community. “Myself along with two other church members recently cooked for the whole church, and everyone loved it. They told us it was the best barbeque they ever had. My grandmother always said you have to put love into it and that will reflect in the taste of the food.”
That passion is something Wayne encourages other entrepreneurs to harness. “You have to be passionate and persistent. Find someone who does what you do and ask them for advice. Finding a mentor is something that really helped me and it helps to have a community of business owners you can lean on.”
You can learn more about So Good Sauce LLC on their website.