Bacon Startup 'B-Class Strippers' Sizzles into Business
Old Dominion University business management student Janay Brown has always had a passion for two things in life– cooking and bacon. With her new startup company ‘B-Class Strippers,’ supported by ODU’s Strome Entrepreneurial Center, she offers a unique, flavored twist to the much-loved breakfast staple.
When asked how she came up with her company’s name, Brown said, “Everyone asks me that. I didn’t want to do something cliché like ‘Nay’s Flavored Bacon’ or ‘Janay’s Bacon.’ I wanted something that would click to people’s minds and actually catch their attention. I came up with that because I realized that bacon comes in strips. Doesn’t that make each individual strip, a stripper?”
Originally from Northern Virginia, Brown was watching professional chefs grill and wrap different foods in bacon on the Food Network when she came up with her business idea. She thought of infusing flavors into the meat product by marinating before baking them in an oven. Later in her senior year of high school, her business management professor asked her class to come up with a business idea for extra credit. Brown went over the top and brought her entire class a delectable assortment of flavored bacon. The next thing she knew, she was getting e-mails and texts from all of her classmates asking for more.
“Everyone asks me that. I didn’t want to do something cliché like ‘Nay’s Flavored Bacon’ or ‘Janay’s Bacon.’ I wanted something that would click to people’s minds and actually catch their attention. I came up with that because I realized that bacon comes in strips. Doesn’t that make each individual strip, a stripper?” — Janay Brown, founder and owner of B-Class Strippers
Until recently, Brown could only prepare her specialty food product during breaks at her family’s kitchen in Northern Virginia. She had to be careful to adhere to FDA guidelines, get her food license, etc. Her mother often had to go to the grocery store to get the things she needed and otherwise help her with production of the strips.
Brown found kitchen space, however, in the Hampton Roads area, and starting in September, she will be preparing her bacon at Yummy Goodness Catering Kitchen. The community kitchen’s Facebook page describes itself as a “a women owned and operated local small business located in Virginia Beach, with a passion for supporting local growers, artisans, and other small businesses wherever possible.” The kitchen is the first of its kind in Hampton Roads and hosts two other specialty food product businesses.
She plans to design new labelled packaging over the summer, in time for the new academic year.
“Starting next year I’m going to start pushing it more here on campus because now I’ll be able to make the bacon on a weekly basis instead of just during breaks,” Brown said.
Photo credits: Jolie-Laide Photography, La Luna et Les Etoiles Art
Each type of flavored bacon (except for deep-fried) is drenched in a homemade secret recipe for 72 hours and then put into a refrigerator to marinate. The strips are then placed on a baking sheet, put it in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, baked for 20-25 minutes and then packaged.
Brown’s company, “B-Class Strippers,” currently offers bacon addicts over 15 different flavors including “Sweetie M” (Sweet Maple), “Yaki Mama“ (Teriyaki) and“Hot Sugah“ (Caramel). Bacon aficionados can purchase packages ranging from eight to 51 strips. Brown also sells bacon salt, bacon butter and mini bacon shot glasses.
“Starting next year I’m going to start pushing it more here on campus because now I’ll be able to make the bacon on a weekly basis instead of just during breaks” — Janay Brown, founder and owner of B-Class Strippers
“Right now, I’m focusing on [business to consumer], but in the future I do plan to start another company expanding my line to other products like sausage,” Brown said. “I’m going to do another business that will be [business to business], so selling to restaurants.”
Brown said she has contemplated launching her own pork-centric food truck. She isn’t sure if she wants to open a food truck or a restaurant when her company gets bigger, but leans toward opening a restaurant as it has always been a passion of hers. Each dish would have flavored pork integrated into its recipe.
This is the first company of its type in Virginia. There are two companies nationwide with similar target markets.
You can visit B-Class Strippers on their website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Brown’s startup will be one of many showcased at the Student Entrepreneurship Expo scheduled to be held on March 22 at 11 a.m. at the Strome Entrepreneurial Center located between Constant and Dragas Hall.