It all started in 2010. Courtney Aldridge and his son, Lennon, created their own hot sauce recipe. A few years later, Courtney’s daughter decided to form a business around this recipe. That’s how D’Everaux Foods began.
Although Ashleigh’s father created the original hot sauce recipe, it is Ashleigh Aldridge who has been running D’Evereux Foods for about a year. After graduating in 2013, she decided to make one of her family’s favorite sauces into a flourishing business. Using $10,000 and her father’s hot sauce recipe, Ashleigh has made D’Evereux Foods a successful company with about 150 businesses in 20 states and 2 countries selling their sauces. As her father jokingly says, Ashleigh is “a woman working in a man’s world.”
Since the first pepper sauce recipe Ashleigh has made five new products. She also creates her own recipes and sends them out to retailers so they have some idea of what they can do with the hot sauces. She “tries to make sure all products have an everyday application but are also sophisticated.” Ashleigh comes up with the recipes and takes photos of them herself. These include dishes such as crab and shrimp seafood dip, sweet and spicy candied bacon and a spicy breakfast bake.
Oddly enough, Ashleigh didn’t always like hot sauce; she considered it “more of a novelty than food.” However, when she tried her father’s recipe, she found in it “quality heat” which “actually tastes good and is made from our own ingredients so we all know where it came from.” Part of her goal in this business is to continue making a “unique product with everyday application.”
Ashleigh had originally wanted to go abroad and a start a business. Having a boyfriend and other ties to home influenced her decision to stay. She has been happy living and working in Natchez, and giving back to her community has been an important factor that makes a difference in how she runs her business.
Family also plays an important role in keeping the business going. Ashleigh is one of five kids, and there is almost always somebody from her family coming in and out. Ashleigh says, “having family around makes things easier,” especially when she has to work long weeks. Sometimes her family will even get together and bottle sauces while they watch football on TV.
Ashleigh considers her father, Courtney, to be one of her best friends. She recalls one time when she sold $3000 worth of hot sauce in one day. She told her father about it, and he was so excited that he “almost had a heart attack.” He’s almost always the first person she wants to tell when something important is happening. Although he is running his own business, he still is very much a part of his daughter’s life, and the reason D’Evereux Foods got its start.