Business

How Heatonist Became The Top Hot Sauce Website In The World?

Published on: August 21, 2023

Last Updated on: February 29, 2024

Heatonist

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It might sound too cliche, but variety, indeed, is the spice of life.

We spice lovers are on a constant look for a variety of hot sauces. And the brainchild of Noah Chaimberg Heatonist precisely has everything that we need. 

He started back in 2013 by selling bottles sourced from independent brands on a push cart. Steadily expanded to an online based hot sauce retail platform and subscription model along with a customized tasting rooms. It is located in Williamsburg, New York.

Let us now see that Heatonist became the top online hot sauce-selling website in the world. 

Heatonist: The Origin

Heatonist The Origin

Heatonist was established by Noah Chaimberg to let hot sauce lovers a taste-test before making a purchase. He initially began the business by selling bottles collected from individual brands on a pushcart. He later expanded the business to two physical locations, additionally with subscription models and e-commerce.

“I started Heatonist just over six years ago out of my apartment in Brooklyn, NY, with a pushcart. “Back then, there was only the standard, commercial hot sauce brands. As a consumer, I wanted to branch out. So I’d pick up bottles here and there. But most of them just weren’t that good. So I thought,”‘ There has to be a place where you can try before you buy.”‘

  • Noah Chaimberg 

Noah’s passionate love for hot sauce started as a small side business. But the Growth graph is a shining proof of true passion of their team for their product.

“I don’t remember the first time I had hot sauce. But in my family, we say I got it from my grandmother,” Noah recalls. “She and I are the only two that have red hair, and she always loved the stuff.”

Heatonist gradually became the one-stop destination for literally everyone obsessed with hot sauces and take taste test multiple brands. At its flagship store in Brooklyn, “hot sauce sommeliers” provide visitors with free tasting experiences. 

“We search the world for the best small makers of all-natural hot sauces. And bring them together into a curated collection that we have at our two stores in New York City, as well as online,” Noah adds.

These specially curated collections are available for monthly subscriptions as well. They are popularly known as the “Hot Ones” boxes, made especially for those customers that are particularly fond of variety. This online subscribing model has bagged Heatonist repetitive business that has proven not only to be strategic but also scalable. 

At present, Heatonist is the leading hot sauce website in the world. The brand definitely has an uncompromising passion for its products that it needs to thank. 

However, the origin of the story, after all, was just a pushcart. Noah’s passion for delivering hot sauce to the world without having to compromise his values is more inspiring. 

Heatonist’s Birth In The Market

Heatonist's Birth In The Market

Noah’s fondness for entrepreneurship goes long back to his college years; however, Heatonist was his first-ever breakthrough. 

“I started my first business when I was 15. It was in high school, and I was selling Pokémon posters on eBay. I had to get somebody to drive me to the post office to ship all of my packages each day. I’ve loved entrepreneurship ever since,” Noah says. 

Heatonist was also launched with the same mentality. 

As Noah recalls how he first brought the brand to the market in a pushcart. “Starting from a pushcart and getting to where we are now. As the most trafficked hot sauce website in the world, has been amazing.”

Talking about the other aspects of bringing the brand to the market, Noah mentioned why he decided to sell hot sauce on Pushcart. 

“The other problem is that hot sauce is really heavy. That’s when I had the pushcart idea. So I found this company that makes pushcarts meant for factory floors. There they move around big pieces of machinery. I customized it with a plexiglass top that was lit from underneath. That way, all of the display sauces could sit up there, all glowing.” Noah explains. “We also inscribed “eat hot sauce” on it, and there was a little flag stand coming out of it. After loading it up, that thing would weigh probably close to 1,000 pounds. If it was a great night and event, pushing it back home was easier, and was a great feeling.”

Once Noah got his first taste of product distribution, he was hungry to try out the other channels of sales. 

With Heatonist’s growing popularity, Noah realized it was time to take the business from Pushcart to “Add to Cart.”

More The Sales, More The Space: Heatonist’s Rapid Expansion

Heatonist's Rapid Expansion

Heatonist launched its first online store in 2014, and within six months into the business, its orders skyrocketed from two or three per week to almost 20 to 25 orders per day. 

They were fortunate enough to be able to manage to pack and dispatch the orders on time at this stage.

“When we had our first shop in Brooklyn, we had a table in the back that we’d all sit around. We set it up so that we could pack orders at one end of the table, towards the end of the day,” Noah said. “And then, eventually, we had so many orders, we set up a packing station in the basement stockroom and somebody would wait until the last few hours of the day and go down and pack them.”

But as the sales continued to peak, packaging and dispatching orders gradually became not just time-consuming but also space-consuming. 

“Eventually, somebody was down there all day. And then eventually there were two people down there, and we’d cleared off the kitchen island, and we were packing orders there,” Noah adds. “I remember when we got to the holiday period a few years ago, we just had all hands on deck. Our mailman came in one day and looked around the room—every square inch had a mailbag stuffed with packages! And we knew we needed a better solution in order to grow from here. So, we got our first warehouse space.”

Soon after this event, the team of Heatonist moved to their very first warehouse. At a manageable 950 square feet, the packed space was a big step for the business. However, 

Noah had bigger plans!

While speaking about it, Noah says, “We said, one day we’ll get a pallet delivery, and we’ll put the pallet over there. Won’t that be something? Anyways, we got that bigger space, and I think about three months later, we were already taking another space in that same building because we had already run out of room. We had so many people and so much activity happening that we needed more!”

After one and a half years and a successful move to a bigger warehouse, the company 

decided to involve “third-party logistics providers” to help them out with the business. 

Searching For A 3PL That Believed In Tenderness, Love, Care

Since the dawn of his business, Noah had to make sure that each detail related to Heatonist’s branding; each step of the consumer journey was treated with equal levels of care as compared to the other business aspects. 

As much as a 3PL would have reduced a considerable amount of the workload and freed up quite a lot of time, the team was still skeptical about how that would impact the customer experience. 

Even during an unbearable workload, the team was consistent in looking for new and creative ideas to share a little token with each shipment. 

“Ever since we started selling online, we’ve always looked for ways to add a special touch. In the beginning, it was a handwritten note going into each order. But over time, the notes got shorter and, eventually, we didn’t have the time for them anymore—there were just too many orders,” Noah recalls. “So, we made custom stamps for everyone who worked in the warehouse, and on each one it said, ‘Packed with love by Sammy,’ for example. And it featured Sammy’s handwriting, and he would stamp it on each packing slip. It was a way for us to keep that personal touch.”

Noah has, however, admitted that it was stressful for him to hand over the responsibilities of specific tasks, even order packaging. Noah stresses how business is all about fun and excitement and how that can diminish if a customer gets a late or badly packaged shipment

“If you’re going to a website that only sells hot sauce, and you’re spending the time to pick out these specific products, it’s because you’re really invested in the whole experience,” Noah adds. “For a business like ours, fulfillment should ideally support all the energy the customer is bringing to this purchase, and not get in the way of their enjoyment.”

But for the business to successfully scale, the hands-on approach needed to evolve. 

Shopify’s Involvement In Heatonist’s Business

Shopify's Involvement In Heatonist's Business

Shopify and Heatonist first crossed paths in 2017; just two days prior to Black Friday, Noah, along with his entire team, decided to shift the online store to Shopify. The move was pretty, but it was ultimately worth it.

“A few of our customers wrote and said they immediately noticed the changes on our website,” Noah remembers. “Thankfully, it all went smoothly, and we’ve had a really great experience working with Shopify ever since.” 

But last year, when Shopify Fulfillment Network was declared, Noah admitted that his experience formerly with 3PL had left a bad reputation in his mind; hence he was hesitant about the thought of working with any other fulfillment provider.

And yet, he wanted to learn more.

“After Shopify had made the announcement about Shopify Fulfillment Network, I thought it would at least be worth our time to have a conversation. After that call and the ones that followed, and seeing the good work Shopify had done with their e-commerce solution and POS system, we trusted they would make the Shopify Fulfillment Network a success too.”

It all came down to one aspect after all: PASSION!

“We work with farmers to grow chilis for our hot sauce, and they’re super passionate about growing chilis. And we work with other folks to make and bottle the sauce, and they’re very passionate about what they do too,” Noah adds. “I think this attention to detail and drive to do even the small things really well is key. And so I thought, ‘we’re never going to find someone who’s passionate about packing boxes, to ship them out for somebody else.’ Because of that, I thought we might have to bring fulfillment back in-house, even though our time needed to go elsewhere.”

Noah confirmed that it was the commitment of Shopify’s team to treat even the smallest details with utmost care that made him finally shake hands with Shopify Fulfillment Network

“Our team has worked so hard and put so much into this company; it really is our baby. And before you can trust your baby to someone, you have to do your due diligence and do your homework,” Noah further says. 

The Final Step Of Confidence And Scaling The Business

With Shopify on board, all the heavy lifting was taken care of while Noah and the team focused on the other areas of the business. 

Noah said, “Before, we were always holding the reins on growth because I didn’t want us driving more sales if we didn’t have complete confidence in our ability to deliver for customers. Having confidence in our ability to fulfill orders allows us to say, ‘Okay, now how do we want to grow this company?’ Let’s turn our attention to all the fun ways that we want to grow this thing, knowing that we have great partners who will make sure that all the demand we’re driving will be met.”

Now, the entire team could focus more on their marketing campaigns and developing better content for Heatonist’s website. 

“Starting from a pushcart and getting to where we are now, as the most trafficked hot sauce website in the world, has been amazing. But what’s been even more rewarding has been seeing all the wonderful small independent makers that we work with grow alongside us,” Noah adds.

Wrapping Up

Heatonist is the stop destination for all your all sauce desires. With the best Heatonist coupons and Heatonist promo codes, you can get the best deals on all your favorite hot sauces. 

In this article, I have tried you through the remarkable journey of Heatonist over the years. 

However, if there is anything else that you want to add, kindly drop a comment below, and I will be happy to help you!

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upasana sarbajna

Upasana is a budding journalist who has a keen interest in writing. She considers writing as therapeutic and is most confident when she writes. She is passionate about music, movies and fashion. She writes in a way that connects with the audience in a personal level. She is optimistic, fun loving and opinionated.

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