John and Diana Koss Entrepreneur Profile
John and Diana Koss are the owners of Koss Sauce, a barbeque and grilling sauce. Before they began Koss Sauce, John and Diana were two full-time employees with a passion for grilling. People would often come to them after trying their roast pork and ask them for their business cards or to cater their events. With John’s sauce recipe and a base of fans established, Diana began the process of founding Koss Sauce in the Spring of 2017.
After an arduous process of getting their kitchen examined by VDAC, creating a label with a web designer, and sending their sauce for testing at Virginia Tech, Diana was ready to take their sauce public, and, in October 2017, Koss Sauce was official. Between October 2017 and January 2018, Diana had sold over one thousand bottles of Koss Sauce. Soon after contacting Food Lion hoping to get Koss Sauce on her local store’s Virginia’s Finest shelf, she was approached by Food Lion’s corporate office who requested that Koss Sauce be put in a number of Food Lion stores.
Since Diana was working out of her home kitchen, she did not have the resources to produce the sheer number of bottles Food Lion expected. After consulting with her mentor, she was introduced to CIC where she was able to get the financing she needed to expand her business. Diana explains that, “not only did CIC help me finance my business, but they also taught me the importance of setting goals and milestones”.
As Diana’s business continues to grow, she hopes that Koss Sauce will be on Walmart shelves within the next five years. She plans to eventually take her product international and expand her line into other sauces and rubs, a cookbook, and cookware.
When asked for her advice for other CIC entrepreneurs, Diana shared that “going into business for yourself is not easy whatsoever. You’ve got to be willing to go through the ups and downs. But, through it all, you got to have confidence in yourself and confidence in your product.”