W(o)W Kristen Grizzaffi, The Cajun Spoon
The Cajun Spoon is a boxed Cajun seasonings brand that provides delicious and authentic recipes to traditional Louisiana dishes. While you may have spotted the brand at your local grocery store, you may not know that The Cajun Spoon was birthed by a husband and wife duo from right here in Baton Rouge!
Where it all Began... a Love Story
Kristen Grizzaffi met her husband Ryan after a bad breakup and turning to music as an outlet to free her mind. She joined a rock/punk band and attended music shows fairly often. After attending a thrift store punk show, she had met her prince charming and soon-to-be mister...but she didn't know it yet!
Kristen started her educational journey at LSU. One night while attending and photographing a show at Spanish Moon, she spotted a guy in a food truck (girls and their food haha!) To her surprise, it was Ryan... the same guy she hit it off with at the thrift store show. He mentioned that he had a 1964 Grand Prix and asked Kristen if she'd be interested in photographing it for him. She agreed, and when she showed up on the day of the shoot in an identical outfit to Ryan's, she knew he might be the one!
They began working on the food truck together and came up with the Cajun Spoon brand, which Kristen designed. The two made a great team, with Ryan conceptualizing recipes and Kristen manning all the menu, packaging, and branding designs. The food truck grew into a catering business, but it wasn't as lucrative as the pair had hoped. When Kristen surprisingly got pregnant, she was afraid she wouldn't be able to finish school and things wouldn't work out as planned. As fate would have it, her story turned out to be much more fairy-tale-like than she'd imagined, especially when, at Disney World, Ryan got on one knee and popped the question! How. Freaking. Cute. (And spoiler alert.. she DID finish school!)
Once upon a photo...
The Business Grows
In 2016 with a baby on the way, Kristen and Ryan knew they needed to try something new in order to provide a living for their family. They used what they knew worked well - Kristen's design skills and Ryan's culinary expertise - to begin creating products. A hand-written letter to Walmart stores executives landed them a meeting where they pitched their new company to the grocery store giant. That meeting allowed them into 400 Walmart stores! The Cajun Spoon did so well with its Louisiana recipes that Walmart requested another line, this time focusing on Asian cuisine. With only one month to create a whole new line, Kristen and Ryan got to work creating healthier stir-fry and fried rice mixes. And as you may have guessed, Walmart HQ LOVED their creations and they are now approved to sell The Bamboo Chef in over 1500 stores!
Of all her accomplishments to date, Kristen is most proud of becoming a mother to her daughter, Amelia, and graduating from LSU in May! She is very optimistic of the future her company and is grateful to be doing something she loves with her family.
When Kristen is not working, she is playing the guitar - her first love! When we asked what purpose meant to her, she replied, "finding something to live for - the 'why' behind doing what you're doing." Hers is Amelia. She goes on to say that, "[Purpose is] the one thing that changes you and makes you want to be your best."
Kristen's Advice to Entrepreneurs
Always support others! "I wouldn't be where I am today if people didn't believe in us or take a chance on us."
Even if you don't know what you're doing, do it anyway!
Never limit yourself to one "pair of shoes"...to be successful, you have to have a closet full of skills! (We love this one!)
Kristen says she faces challenges with a smile and that her dreams for the future is to build up all of their brands and sell them to big companies! After they rake in, they want to use their profits to invest in their many other passions.