A Brief History of Todd’s DIRT Seasonings
How the DIRT Man came up with the Original DIRT
Have you ever wondered how a seasoning gets started?? Well, for Todd’s DIRT it’s been a long road. I came up with DIRT after many tries to recreate a cherished seasoning made by a family friend. After years of trying and many countless combinations, I came up with a seasoning that was even better. In 1993 The DIRT MAN started to let friends and family try my seasoning by giving Mason jars of the seasoning out as Christmas and Birthday presents. Some people liked it, and some did not. But in 2003, I came out with a batch that everyone went crazy for and started asking for more. Many became addicted to DIRT for all their cooking. I was making 15 to 30 bottles a month and started to think maybe I was on to something.
Picture is of a bottle given as a Christmas Present in 2000. The batch date says 12/9/00. Given back to me as a memento in 2010. I did try some of the DIRT that was left over on a steak. It was still really good, after all those years. That was a good batch that year. My labels have improved over the years.
Why is it called DIRT?
The DIRT name was a simple name that some loved and some hated. However, you have to admit you will never forget it. If you look at a bottle of Original DIRT it kind of looks like the dirt and grass in your back yard. We tried many different names, but kept coming back to Todd’s DIRT. There are so many great marketing ideas with the DIRT name, that it stuck. Plus it is so funny to see people’s faces when they see the bottle for the first time and question the name DIRT. I also love to hear people say pass the DIRT, at the dining room table. Whether you love the name or hate the name. At least you will never forget the name.
What Inspired Todd To Bottle The DIRT
Bottling and selling DIRT was always a desire of the DIRT MAN from the very beginning, but after 14 years, the reality of starting the business never took off. Finally, while on vacation in Ocean City MD in 2007, I was watching a show for the first time on CNBC called “The Big Idea” with Donny Deutsch. I got really inspired watching this show that maybe I could do this. I figured that I had a great product and with my outgoing personality, why could we not be successful like the small companies I had seen on the show. At that moment I decided to start my business. I yelled to my wife Holly, “we are going to sell DIRT.” Thank goodness, Holly loved the idea. When I got home, I took a job that left me with some extra time to spend working out the details of Todd’s DIRT. Well, the company was officially started in August of 2007, and it has been quite a ride since. In July of 2008 the recession effected my full time job. My employer gave me a choice because he was unable to keep two Managers at my level, I was told to “quit selling Todd’s DIRT and keep my job, or today’s your last day.” Well I started selling Todd’s DIRT Seasonings full time the next day. I would like to thank my former boss.
How Did Todd Get The DIRT Man Name?
Right after we got into the first stores, My family and I went on a cruise for a family vacation. I brought some bottles (cases) along, just in case I met some people who would be interested in the product. At that time I just had the Original DIRT for sale. After spending the day at Key West, we had dinner on the ship. I of course had to bring the DIRT to dinner, because everything taste better with DIRT. The Photographer came over to our table to take a picture of the family. He then decided to take a picture of me. Since I was having fun, I picked up the bottle and he took a picture with me holding it. Two days later I was walking the decks when I noticed the area that had all the pictures taken by the photographer. I found our pictures way in the corner of this room. I noticed my picture and was a little embarrassed at first by it. I had completely forgotten I had my picture taken. But that feeling soon changed and I started to laugh and figured I should move my pictures to a place where people could see ME with the bottle. So I moved it right in the front where people walking in would see it. The next day on the ship, people started to say hey it is that DIRT guy. Or when I was talking to people they would comment they saw the picture of me with the bottle. A couple of days later, we were walking down a street in Playa De Carmen Mexico, and this guy from the ship yells out HEY DIRT Man you want to join us for a drink. Well the name kind of stuck for the rest of the trip. My family thought the name was pretty funny and that I should keep the nickname. Well when I got home, I came up with the DIRT Man Character, an over the top, funny, annoying, loud person, who would make everybody into a DIRT Lover. The DIRT Man was born. The picture is the one on the bottom of this page. It is all pretty funny!!
Over the Years, who Inspired Todd to love Cooking
I first have to say my Mom. She is the one that taught the young DIRT Man how to cook. At a real early age, she taught me the basics. Which inspired me to want to cook. My Dad was also a big inspiration. He taught me how to grill. I used to go over to his house and loved to watch him come up with marinades and then grill some terrific meats and meals. Without him knowing, I was actually paying attention. He is also a very good cook. He showed me how to cook really great southern comfort foods, which is my favorite to eat. I used to love to watch cooking shows when I was a teenager. My favorite and probably my biggest influence was “The Frugal Gourmet” TV Show with Jeff Smith. He showed all these different ethnic foods from all around the world. He would take trips to countries and show off great markets and restaurants that I had never seen. His style and personality when cooking, really inspired me to want to make dishes in my kitchen. My Mom bought me all of his cook books. That I still have today. My next favorite TV personality and the one who taught me to love Cajun food is Justin Wilson and his favorite line, “I gawr-on-tee”. I absolutely loved his personality and his style of cooking. Current personalities to really inspire me is Anthony Bourdain, Paula Dean and Rachel Ray. Bourdain for his humor and like Rachel and Paula, the inspiration that being creative and being yourself, you can make it in the world of food. Rachel’s story of how she made it, is a huge inspiration to the DIRT Man. Paula for her southern cooking and style, love it Paula! I would love to be her biscuit as I soak up her gravy. OK, I know a lot of kiss up going on here. But it is all the truth. Lastly my wife Holly (The Original DIRTY Girl) has inspired me to do what I love. She a great cook in her own right. Without her support, this all would not of happened. All of these people are to be blamed for the creation of the DIRT Man.
First Retail Stores
In October 2007, a few stores gave me the opportunity to sell a few bottles on their shelves. One of the first stores to carry Todd’s DIRT sold their first bottle within 12 minutes of delivery of the first case. I realized then that we had a good thing going. My initial thought was to see how DIRT sold during the holidays. We were in four stores. If sales did well and each store reordered then I would put more resources into the company. To no surprise to me, DIRT sold really well. Not only did the stores reorder at least twice during the Holiday season, they ordered more after the holidays. The thought that people opened their stockings and got DIRT for the holidays, was really cool to me. I decided to move forward and really give this a try.
Future DIRTY Goals
We have started moving forward with marketing and distribution to select retail stores in the Mid-Atlantic. With the success of the first year selling DIRT full time, and the creations of Toddsdirt.com we are looking forward to world-wide use of Todd’s DIRT. The Dirt Man’s goal is to sell Todd’s DIRT using a Grass Roots Campaign. To work as many festivals, cooking shows, in store demo’s that I can, so I can personally convert each person I meet into DIRT lovers. Check out the DIRT MAN at many of the East Coast Foodie, Beer, BBQ and Wine festivals, using his upbeat and DIRTY charm to make it a fun time.
Friends and family have helped test products and come up with many of the catchy ideas that are used on the website, within my recipe book, and on shirts. More products and ideas will be available soon. Spread the word and turn other people into DIRT lovers. Todd’s DIRT is going to take over every body’s spice cabinet one DIRT lover at a time.
“Remember, it is always a good time to get DIRTY!!”
Todd “The DIRT MAN”
P.S. As you can imagine, over the years I also came up with many other blends from the Original. These blends will be other seasonings and marinades coming out in the near future. Check back frequently!
(Cheesy picture of the DIRT MAN on vacation, always ready to get DIRTY)