The HVADC Cultivator
HVADC Client Spotlight:
Noble Pies hits QVC
The birth story of HVADC client Noble Pies in Orange County may be rooted in the humble beginnings of a once-struggling horse boarding farm, but folks all over the country were able to witness Noble Pies shine bright on QVC home shopping cable, television and satellite network last month. Owner Leslie Noble appeared on QVC on Wednesday, November 6, in the 4:00pm-7:00 pm “Gourmet Every Day” segment to share Noble Pies chicken pot pie with viewers around the country.
Leslie Noble said her long-ago, former career as a pharmaceutical representative was facilitated by pie, enticing doctor offices to accept her friendly sales call with a fresh baked pie in hand. Having baked pies her entire life—a skill learned from her grandmother—she initially baked and then gave away most of what she made. These days, Leslie and her husband Tom Herman have an award-winning pie company in Warwick which produces over 10,000 pies per year. When the couple were developing the concept for their retail store, HVADC helped Noble create the bakery’s business plan, and Noble Pies is an expanding Hudson Valley Bounty participant.
Leaping from selling at the bakery, in markets and at events to national broadcast exposure didn’t just take overnight. According to Noble, someone from QVC’s 24/7 television home shopping network sampled her bakery’s chicken pot pie a few years back, which lead to the network reaching out to her over four years in a row to host the bakery on their broadcast. This year, Noble decided she was ready to take the plunge. Noble said the discussions with QVC went on for nearly a year before going on-air.
Noble explained that even though QVC actively pursued her pie, it was not a guarantee that she would get air-time. “I had to go through training before going on the air,” she explained. “Just because you go for training doesn’t mean you will be approved to go on. I was more nervous about that. Going on was less nerve-wracking than the training itself, because by then I knew what to expect.”
On air, the segment’s host, Alberti Popaj, touted the virtues of Noble Pies in his usual plucky, upbeat candor and then some, noting that he was particularly enthused about his familiarity with the Hudson Valley. The segment also featured Popaj enjoying a plate of pie while discussing each element and ingredient with Noble and viewers.
Although the segment aired weeks ago, Noble chicken pot pies continue to be offered on QVC’s website, arrive within two days of shipment, packed in dry ice, and orders are still coming in.
“We had so many bakery-customers watching. Some knew about it from us, some from social media, and then a whole bunch who accidently saw us on there and it was a lot of fun for us to hear about, because they happen to be QVC shoppers,” Noble said.
Not only are the Noble Pies phone lines lighting up from their QVC appearance but also because nationally published, Taste of Home recipe magazine had recently cited Noble Pies as #1 Best Tasting Pie in New York State. Noble said she discovered it by happenstance through a friend seeing the story air in the Midwest on MSNBC and then later being rebroadcast in New York. But others took note and have been flooding the bakery with orders. And then of course, there is the rush of the regular holiday orders, to boot.
So, what is the big fuss about the chicken pot pie? “People lose their minds over the way it tastes,” Noble mused. “Unlike most chicken pot pies, we have a nice thick sauce. It’s not cubed chicken. All hand-pulled chicken; celery, carrots and onions are fresh chopped and there’s peas and fresh parsley. From what we hear, people go bezerk over the pie crust and a combination of a pie loaded with chicken and vegetables. People love it and every ingredient. We buy chickens that have no hormones and are pasture-raised. We get the main ingredients locally whenever it’s in season. We use really high-quality butter. It all counts.” How did QVC settle on offering the chicken pot pie, among Noble Pie Bakery’s other pies on the menu? “They thought we had a good product that people all over the country want.”
Noble is not at liberty to disclose how many pies they have sold, however assured it was, “a lot.” Will she be returning? “I hope so,” Noble said, “It’s a little too early. I know they were interested in many of our other products.”
“Noble Pies is testament to the fact that a small business can grow and build at a pace and scale that is comfortable to them while achieving the exposure they visualized initially,” noted Diane Greco of Tactix Inc. who assists HVADC Farm and Funding Accelerator participants and other HVADC clients such as Noble Pies conceptualize marketing positioning and strategies. “If a Big Idea and national exposure is identified as an objective at the onset, building a plan that focuses first on the primary local target market while also thinking wider for the future, and not getting stuck on a particular geography, demographic or competitive segment, can help an entrepreneur develop a plan that will systematically get them there,” she added.
For more information about Noble Pies Bakery, please visit their Hudson Valley Bounty listing.
Photo Source: Noble Pies