We had the good fortune of connecting with Kerry Thornhill Houston and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kerry, what is the most important factor behind your success?
My professional success and success of the 1836 brand is due to creating a distinguished flavor profile and visual identity that is appealing to the consumer and sets the 1836 brand apart from other domestic olive oil producers in the industry.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I believe that as a female working in agriculture, I bring a unique level of passion to my olive venture. Prior to becoming an olive farmer I worked in heavily male dominated fields and agriculture is no different. My experience taught me that my efforts would require a strong work ethic and confidence in the face of unknown factors. Olive farming in Texas is still in its infancy and I am new to farming. I began my journey with no prior knowledge of farming. Working with olive associations provided me a network of contacts and helped me establish olive farming practices. Creating the 1836 Brand required me to stay true to my original vision, which was to be a “gourmet” extra virgin olive oil. This vision directed my sales efforts to top Texas and American chefs and their endorsements and social media cemented 1836’s reputation as a high-end gourmet brand.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite two restaurants include Arturo Boada’s Italian Cuisine and Potente Houston with Chef Danny Trace’s creations. Shopping would include Bering’s and the many shops in Highland Village and River Oaks District.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Augie Bering and Bering’s Stores in Houston deserve tremendous thanks. I have had the pleasure of knowing Augie before I became the 1836 Brand. Augie’s unconditional support during this journey has afforded me the opportunity to launch a new brand as a “gourmet” item. Bering’s was the first store to offer me space on their shelves and provided a social media push in support of a LOCAL gourmet brand. The opportunities that were generated from his support and endorsement can not be calculated. Being a part of the Bering’s gourmet collection elevated 1836 to be recognized by other national gourmet stores. Within a year of Bering’s launch of 1836, the brand was invited to be featured as part of Williams Sonoma LOCAL program and became their exclusive Texas olive oil in their Texas stores.