Tiffany Denson, creator of T. Lish Dressings and Marinades, is full of spunk and an infectious enthusiasm for life. This wife and mother of two bottled her passion for cooking and entertaining and turned it into a thriving enterprise. We are thrilled to have Tiffany join us today as our FACE of Birmingham!
Where did you grow up? And what brought you to Birmingham?
I grew up in Clearwater, Florida, and spent my college years at Auburn University. In January of 2006, my husband, Rush, bought the Coldwell Banker office in Mountain Brook Village and that is what brought us to Birmingham.
Tell us how T. Lish came about.
In 2006, I began giving friends and neighbors mason jars of my sweet garlic dressing during the Christmas season. It quickly became a favorite of many and they were asking me throughout the year to make them more, sending me pleading emails and stuffing their empty mason jars into my mailbox. I have always loved to cook and entertain, so I was always happy to make more for them. It was in 2009, that the “down” real estate market began to take a toll on our lives. Things were tough and I began working several little jobs trying to help my family. One of those jobs was working part time at the Pants Store in Crestline. My neighbor, John Gee, owns the store along with his brother Michael. Both of them encouraged me to make my “sweet garlic dressing” and begin selling it at the Pants Store. I came up with the name and logo and began pursuing my dream in spring of 2010. Within months, people were coming into the store just to find the dressing and I began getting emails and calls from all over the country, asking if I could ship them some dressing. One day, I received a call from Brett Hubbard of Western Supermarkets asking if I would consider moving forward and begin selling it in his Western Supermarkets. I took some time to develop a plan, because something within me knew that once I took this leap of faith it would change our lives significantly. During that time I talked to several people in the food industry who were familiar with the whole “grass roots” product growth, including Patricia Barnes (Sister Schubert). In December 2011, I launched onto grocery shelves in the Birmingham area. Just recently, we found out that we will be in every Whole Foods in the South and Florida regions as of March 2013.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My friend, Sara Blakely of Spanx Inc., one time said to be careful who you share your dreams with because so often those closest to you will cause you to doubt the very thing you believe in. That is so often true, not because these people don’t want you to succeed, but often because of their own fears and way of thinking.
What advice can you give to others who’d like to start their own business?
If I could offer anything it would be to dream big, pray hard and don’t be afraid of failing. I love what Mark Batterson says in the current book I am reading, work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I am such a home body! I love days when I can stay in my comfy clothes, take some time to read a book or magazine and create a new recipe for my family and friends in the comfort of my own kitchen. That is my “happy.”
Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
Favorite local restaurant?
Dyron’s Low Country. We love the owners, the food and the closeness to home.
What are you listening to these days?
I am a huge fan of Pandora and always have music playing in my home. A few of my favorite Pandora stations are John Mayer, Ray LaMontagne and Zac Brown Band.
What books are you currently reading?
I just finished Love Does by Bob Goff and loved it; super easy and an inspiring read. I am currently reading Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. It is game changer!
Do you have any personality quirks or irrational fears?
Are you kidding? I am full of quirks! One that drives my kids crazy is that all beds have to be perfectly made before the day can begin, no excuses. Oh, and I have to wash sheets and blankets every couple days. I love fresh, clean sheets!
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God!).
- I am a freak for almost any lip gloss, but my current favorite is Aveda Nourish-Mint in Mango Juice. I hate dry lips.
- My Marpac Sleepmate: it is the perfect white noise machine that I will not sleep without.
- Arden’s Garden pH balance juice: a combination of distilled water, fresh cucumbers, celery, lemons, spinach and parsley. It is a true feel better elixir!
Thanks, Tiffany! To learn more about T.Lish, visit the website www.tlish.com.
And also a big thanks, to Beth Hontzas for today’s beautiful photographs. For more information on Beth Hontzas Photography, check out her site www.bethhontzas.com.