PHONE NUMBER: (541) 752-7668
OWNER: Brigitte McBride
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 8
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 1
WHAT THEY SELL: Organic sea salt blends
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: It’s the simple and natural way to season your food!
Brigitte McBride’s passion and artistry shows in every bottle of her delicious sea salt blends. Her love for food, nutrition, education, and sustainability makes her a wonderful addition to the Corvallis local business community. Brigitte’s creativity and fun-loving personality can also be enjoyed through her blog, “The Salty Blog”.
Brigitte, when and why did you decide to start your business? I started in 2008, after selling Purple Moon Espresso, a business I owned with my mom since 2004. I still wanted to have my own business and combined this desire with passion for food and nutrition to begin Earth & Sea Salts. My first blend, the Original Blend, came from a recipe that a friend shared with me. I loved it so much because it was such an easy way to make my dishes more delicious. I modified the recipe, using an unprocessed sea salt rich in minerals (Celtic Sea Salt) and organic ingredients. I quickly realized that other people might like it as much as I did, and then I started thinking of other blends I could make. There was no stopping me after that point.
Tell us more about your products. What are your specialties or favorites? I take unprocessed sea salt and infuse it with herbs, garlic and citrus to create a simple, healthy and yummy way to season your food. My favorite blend is the Original Blend (rosemary, sage, garlic, black pepper, lemon juice and Celtic Sea Salt). The Original Blend is amazing on vegetables, meat and salmon! I have nine different blends, including my newest which is a truffle salt. I use Pacific sea salt and Oregon truffles from the Mushroomery so that all of the ingredients are sourced from the Pacific Northwest for this new one! I also make salted caramels with the pink Himalayan salt and smoked sea salt.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? Being acknowledged by the Sustainability Coalition in this way means a lot to me! I have always tried to be responsible and make the best choices for the health of other people and our planet, so thank you for including me as a Local Business of the Week! Hopefully, more people will find out about Earth & Sea Salts. Then, I can possibly make a bigger contribution to people by providing them with great products that come from my heart.
Do you fill an unusual niche? What does your business do better than anyone else? Why should folks patronize your business? All of my blends are made in very small batches with organic ingredients and a lot of love in every jar. Also, the Celtic Sea Salt is a healthy alternative to table salt, containing 80 minerals and is lower in sodium, making Earth & Sea Salts a great choice for seasoning! I fill a special niche when I’m at a market like the Corvallis Winter Indoor Market or the Eugene Saturday Market. The markets allow me to have real connections with people and, hopefully, educate them a little bit in the process about nutrition and healthy choices. I sample out my salt blends and also share recipes and ideas with my customers. That whole process is missing when someone picks a product off of a shelf. I have phased out having products in stores because I really value the one on one interactions with my customers, and I have to admit, I usually learn more from my customers than vice versa. I also offer free delivery to Corvallis residents! They can look at my website and call or email me with their order. I also ship anywhere in the U.S.
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner, and how have you met those challenges? Even though I love my business, I have struggled with the marketing aspect of it. I am slowly learning more about marketing, and am especially hoping to improve my web presence. Another challenge I have had to face is overcoming my own self-doubt and insecurities. I’m an introvert, and it can be hard to put myself out there at markets because it really takes a lot of confidence to be vulnerable enough to share my work. This challenge has really taught me a lot about myself!
What excites or inspires you? I get most excited when I’m creating a new blend, and I also really enjoy writing my blog, The Salty Blog. My blog is especially important to me because it is a way for me to empower people through nutritional tips, easy recipes and positive ideas. I always try to keep my blog fun and simple. I actually consider myself an artist, not a business person, but I am very grateful to have my business as a creative outlet, a way to share my passions and, hopefully, make a positive difference with people.
What is your relationship to the community? What charities/nonprofits/civic organizations do you support and/or participate in? As individuals, focusing on what you can give rather than what you can get is the way to go, and I think volunteering falls into that. I volunteer regularly at the Corvallis Family Table where we provide free meals twice a month to people in south Corvallis. I also give 5% of my profits to three different nonprofits: Kiva, Defenders of Wildlife and Save Japan Dolphins. On a personal level, the local organizations I support are the Sustainability Coalition, Chintimini Wildlife Rehab.Center and my faith organization, SGI.
How important is sustainability to you and/or your business? Have you taken steps to save energy, reduce your use of other resources, decrease your carbon footprint, or reduce waste? Sustainability has always been very important to me, especially because of my background as a wildlife biologist. While getting my degree in wildlife biology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, I learned very quickly that the choices we make have a very strong impact on wildlife and the environment. I feel that it is our responsibility as human beings to minimize our negative impact. One way I do this is by being a zero waste company, which means nothing involved in making my sea salt blends goes into the landfill. I reuse, recycle and compost everything. I’m trying to do that in my personal life as well, but it has proven tough to do with a teenage son at home! I also grow a lot of my own herbs and use organic ingredients and local suppliers whenever possible. In the future, I would love to have my own certified kitchen that is completely solar powered!
(Interview and article by Emily Weiglin – April 3, 2016)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).
See the complete list of Business of the Week articles.