As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about empowering women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dorothy and Laya Barak.
BrothMasters is a Bone Broth company developed by Dorothy and Laya Barak, a mother-daughter team. We have always been passionate about creating and eating foods that are not only delicious but fuel and heal our bodies. Our bone broth recipe was perfected when Laya went through her own health issues after major ankle surgery in 2012. The surgery caused inflammation, aggravating Laya’s Crohn’s. Through Dorothy’s passion for healthy cooking and Laya’s certification in Integrative Health, we created a bone broth that was originally formulated to soothe gastrointestinal inflammation, but in doing so, we created a product that does so much more.
Working with a food scientist, Dorothy has been able to increase the anti-inflammatory properties, as well as infuse calcium into the broth. This process allows us to be the only calcium rich bone broth on the market today. With Laya handling the business side of the company, this powerful mother/daughter team are out to share their knowledge of integrative nutrition and create delicious foods that have nutrients that soothe and heal the body.
As a family, we have always gravitated toward alternative, integrative and functional medicine. We opted to use food, herbs, and lifestyle to keep us healthy avoiding prescription drugs if possible, and supplements. It was our belief that our bodies know how to read real food; Not processed, shelf stabilized, or modified. Foods. We believed that food is medicine. Our approach is science-based, looking to university studies to guide us.
When Laya had ankle surgery back in 2016, she was flooded with antibiotics which caused a gastrointestinal meltdown. Rather than taking steroids, Humira, or Remicade to try and heal her body, she sought out a functional medicine Doctor.
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Through research and his guidance bone broth was a reoccurring recommendation as well as the GAPS diet which begins with bone broth.
At the time, there were only a few companies producing bone broth. As Laya’s mom, I was determined to create the most healing broth possible. I was connected to Jack Lasso, a food scientist with a grant for foods that were anti-inflammatory for gastrointestinal problems and foods high in collagen. He guided me through the creation of the broth. At the time we had no intention of selling our broth.
What separated your products from other products in the same industry?
If you only read the ingredients, our broth is just like all the other ones on the market. Ours, however, is an artisanal product, meaning every batch is made by our broth master and co-founder, Dorothy. It’s all about what we studied and learned for every ingredient that we add to Broth Masters Bone Broth.
When we started making broth to sell, the standard in the industry was to cook the bones for 48 hours. Over the years we have seen all the original companies move to “12 to 24 hours”, they use food co-packers as opposed to making it on their own, and almost all are now pasteurized, and shelf stabilized. We are one of the only ones on the market that still has that “homemade” quality.
Also having worked with Jack our food scientist, he taught us about the importance of maintaining temperatures that will not destroy the nutritional properties of the ingredients. He stressed how to handle ingredients so that they can withstand cooking and not lose their nutritional properties. We are one of the very few companies that still sell frozen products.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the current employment market, it has been a struggle to hire employees, which has greatly hampered the growth of our company.
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I hope that we never succumb to the temptation to cut corners to grow our company.
We are working on owning our own space. We hope to increase our offering with other products that heal in different ways. Currently, we have a few recipes that we would love to add to our brand. We would also love to move into the retail space as right now we are only direct to consumers. While we also only use organic ingredients, we would also like to go through the process of becoming certified organic.
What strengths do you have that would make you a good worker here?
Commitment to always producing the best product on the market without ever cutting corners for the sake of greater market share. Determination to create the most healing broth on the market
What is your favorite part about working in food service?
Hearing people tell us how Broth Masters helped heal their bodies in different ways. Knowing that we are producing a high-quality product that will help people live healthier lives. When we get emails or testimonials from people telling us their story of how Broth Masters helped them, it is priceless.
What is your least favorite part about working in food service?
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Because we want to control every aspect of the creation of Broth Masters Bone Broth, all the steps we take are very labor-intensive. The bottom line it’s physically hard work to make all the broth on our own without using a co-oacker.
What type of customer service experience do you have?
Our family also owns an upscale appliance Showroom and Dorothy oversees escalation in the customer service department. She has to help people deal with very expensive appliances that fail and manufacturers that do not stand behind their products and aim to make the customer happy. Similarly, Laya handles all the customer service issues with Broth Masters. We both want our customers to be happy and we always make sure that if the broth is delayed and doesn’t come cold to the touch, we will always replace it and make sure it gets there safely.
How do you handle unsatisfied patrons?
We will be honest that we don’t have any unsatisfied customers! Bone broth is not for everyone though and if someone really dislikes the broth, we try to compensate them in some way.
Do you think fast service or helpful service is better?
We believe that helpful service is better. People just want to be heard and we always try to listen and hear out our customers. When making bone broth that takes 48 hours and shipping a frozen, heavy product across the county, fast is not in the cards.
Can you describe a customer behavior that annoys you?
When we try to be accommodating and solve the problem but nothing can satisfy them. At times leaving a bad review because of the cost of the broth that has nothing to do with the product itself is also frustrating.
Can you describe a time when you provided exceptional customer service?
I think we try to every day but especially if there are those really in need of the product for serious health reasons and don’t have the money to purchase a lot of broth, depending on the situation, we have given a large discount or donated broth for free. Our main goal is to help people so depending on the circumstances we really try to make it work.
Do you believe the customer is always right? Why or why not?
I believe that you always have to validate their feelings. Everyone believes in their own truth. The challenge is to try and help them recognize that there is also another side to every issue. In the end, I do believe that it is not worth the bad publicity of an irate customer. It can cost the company more to have someone bashing your product or company publicly. So, they may not be right but in the end, you may just have to concede.