For those obsessed with pickles, look no further than The Real Dill – a Colorado-based business founded by Tyler DuBois and Justin Park, that delivers not only in name but also in the quality of product. We caught up with Justin and long-time team member, Cassie, to chat about family, memorable fan moments, and what makes The Real Dill so darn special.
How did The Real Dill start?
J: It really started as a hobby. Tyler and I were making pickles as a fun project in the kitchen, and then it kind of spiraled out of control, so we went with it!
Where did this fascination for pickles come from?
J: Pickling came from my obsession with food in general. I come from a family that really loves to talk, think, and eat food. Basically, all of our family social gatherings are centered on food – if we’re together, we’re in the kitchen. It also helps that both my parents are great cooks. They instilled in me a love, curiosity, and interest for food – where it comes from, how it’s made, how different ingredients work together… they gave me an adventurous approach to cooking and eating.
How about Tyler’s?
J: Tyler, on the other hand, has a culinary background. He went through culinary school, and prior to the company, he was a butcher, a bartender, worked in fine dining, in kitchens… that’s just been his career. The Real Dill came from both of our interests in food, and for whatever reason, it just happened to connect with pickles!
How were your families’ reactions when you and Tyler told them your plans of pursuing a pickle business?
J: Our family and friends were frighteningly supportive because they should’ve told us we were crazy but never did! Everyone saw that we were passionate with what we were doing and were excited that we were about to pursue it. Having a really supportive network of people around has a lot to do with some of the success we had.
How did they support you guys?
J: When we first started, Tyler and I were still working our other jobs – I worked in marketing and communications in non-profits at the time, so we took our family and friends as volunteers in the kitchen. There were days when we spent all of our spare time there just to make pickles, and our family, friends – whoever was willing to give a portion of their day to help us, would tag along. We don’t do that anymore. Now we have a trained staff, but I’ll never forget their help back then. They still help us tremendously by spreading the good word and making connections for us.
What’s different about your business?
J: Our business is always going to be a very hands-on process. For us, it’s a huge part of the quality control process. With the way the insular jars are packed, we are really showing off and highlighting the beautiful ingredients in the jar. We inspect every single element that goes into it, so we know each ingredient that makes its way in meets our standards. We’re never going to sacrifice quality in any way.
How do you and Tyler work together?
J: Tyler takes the lead when it comes to production, sourcing, and recipe development. I’m more on the sales, marketing, and business strategy side, but as far as recipe goes, we work collaboratively. We taste recipes together, share notes, and luckily, he and I are always on the same page. If we’re not, we’ll figure out how to make it work no matter where we are. No recipe is finalized without it being discussed.
Cassie, how did you become involved with The Real Dill?
C: I was looking for new opportunities and wanted to work with a small business that was based in Denver. I was very impressed with The Real Dill’s products and the lack of ingredients, so I joined! Now, I’m the Spear-It Leader – that’s my fun title for Customer Relationship Manager here.
How do you like working with the staff?
C: It’s great! Everyone works really well as a team, and it’s just a very fun environment! Justin and Tyler have created a sense of community with everybody and a great work culture.
How do you like The Real Dill experience so far?
J: We’ve been in business for four and a half years! I love it. The experience is a roller coaster ride. Every day is a little bit different; there are new challenges and neither me nor Tyler have ever done something like this before, but that’s what makes it fun! If we ever lost the passion that started this, we wouldn’t continue to do it. We take a lot of joy in the fact that we make a product that we’re proud of and also one that makes complete strangers happy. It’s definitely a labor of love.
Have any memorable moments with your customers?
J: We get lots of funny ones! Probably one of the most memorable ones was a really playful email about a limited release product that we made. It was one batch, and then it was gone. The guy wrote us calling us “torturers” because we took this product away from him. It’s not like we’re saving the world with pickles or anything like that, but knowing that people are taking a little time out of their day to let us know how much they enjoy something they got from us means a lot.
What values does The Real Dill live by?
J: We have five core values that we collaboratively developed with our team:
- Foster a spirited community based on togetherness and teamwork,
- Embrace the creative process and strive to break the mold,
- Humbly serve ourselves, our collaborators, our customers, and our community,
- Have fun and love what we do and,
- Build relationships with our supporters authentically and engage with them
These are the things we would do even if it created a competitive disadvantage to do so. No matter what, these are the values that are important to us. No negotiation. We did not get into this because we felt like we can make a lot of money – it has always been about the quality of life, the ability to do something that we enjoy in order to make a positive impact on the community and those around us.