We had the good fortune of connecting with Traci Bourque Johannson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Traci, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
A risk to me is not fulfilling your purpose. So many people thought I was crazy starting my own business as a single Mom. Even after 3 plus years in business, and 530 stores throughout the US carrying our product, Diablo Verde, I still get these looks of confusion with a bit of sympathy sprinkled on top, as if to say “Poor thing, she doesn’t know how risky her choice of career is” However I know personally how risky and damaging it can be to not follow your path and live your calling….Making decisions out of fear is the real risk and until I jumped off the cliff of entrepreneurship I was living a life dictated by fear and risking my mental well-being.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My name is Traci and I am the Co-Founder and CEO of 3SonsFoods, LLC. I am a mom of three teenage boys ranging in ages from 13-18, who just so happen to be my business partners. Our debut product, a “Devilishly Addictive” creamy cilantro sauce, Diablo Verde, was originally sold to raise funds for rhino conservation, which eventually turned into a full-time family business. In just over three years our company has won numerous awards, including Grand Champion for HEB’s Quest for Texas Best, raised thousands for rhino conservation, and brought awareness to the issues affecting rhino preservation. Diablo Verde is carried in over 530 stores from New York to Idaho, and 3SonsFoods has a successful online E-commerce business and is expanding daily. We are excited to be launching our newest sauce, Diablo Vegan, a preservative free, gluten free, creamy cilantro sauce that will benefit wolf conservation.
My sons and I can be seen on the HEB commercial highlighting our journey, as well as the Localish Channel, Influential Magazine, 20/20, and Houston stations ABC, KPRC, KHOU, FOX. We’ve been featured in the Houston Chronicle, Pet Talk Magazine, CityBook, Teen Influential Magazine, and Katy Times among others. Achieving what we have in a little over 3 years, has not come without many challenges, hard times and a ton of stress. Not only as founders of 3SonsFoods learning a whole new industry, but we are building a company, a brand, and product from scratch, all while continuing to grow as a family. We have core values in our company and our family that all equate to standing by your word and in business that means getting the job done, no matter what the circumstances are, with a smile and a “Thank you very much!” I believe the biggest lesson we have all learned is that anything is possible. Determination and a belief in yourself are all the tools required to figure out how to make it all work. I am extremely proud to be in business with my sons and I take great pride in teaching them how to make the world a better place through entrepreneurship.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Houston, the Bayou city is constantly growing and changing and as the most ethnically diverse city in the nation, it is home to a very cool culinary community and in an impressive food scene. First and foremost I would lead my bestie by her tastebuds through the Space City while showing her what an innovative city I live in. The first day we would start off with the best chorizo breakfast tacos ever! These yummy and yes a bit greasy tacos can be found at a place called Villa Arcos, a little hole in the wall, I grew up going to, located in the second ward of Houston. You can’t call yourself a Tejana, without loving chorizo and no trip to Houston would be complete without experiencing this amazing breakfast food. Our mid morning adventure would be a treat for the eyes as I introduce her to a tour of the most amazing art around, at Houston’s graffiti park. Located in Midtown, on Chartres street, nearly every square inch of the buildings is covered in colorful street art. The artwork is amazing and provides the perfect backdrop for photoshoots that’ll help Houston-ify any social media post! Lunch would be with our dogs at Barnaby’s Café. This dog loving restaurant defies the “No Dogs Allowed” Rule by catering to us dog lovers. They have an excellent menu for us 2 legged mammals, along with water bowls and frozen peanut butter dog bones for our furry best friends! I will always love this place for respecting the bond of human and canine. The afternoon would of course be spent at Houston’s beloved Memorial Park. Houston’s main city park was originally donated by Ima Hogg, God Bless her for her generosity, as Memorial Park has kept Houston’s nature intact. I grew up about 10 min from this park, and it has been a constant source of peace for me throughout my life. There are bike trails, an arboretum, and now upgrades of interconnected and expanded trails leading to a small lake. The nonprofit Memorial Park Conservancy is responsible for a soon to be land bridge over Memorial Drive, which will be covered and surrounded by native prairie flora. As a native Houstonian I am so proud of our city park and so happy to show it off! To end a very busy day, the evening with my BFF would of course be spent in the EaDo section of town, where we could partake of a true culinary experience of the best of Houston. This area is filled with options ranging from taco trucks to BBQ to fine dining. I of course would choose to eat my way from the north side down to a beautiful restaurant name Indianola, that just so happens to have a hidden bar in the back (which I discovered on the worst date of my life…but that is another story) After our bellies are full, we would walk back up to Warehouse Live where an awesome band would be playing and we would dance the night away. And that is how I would show my best friend my best city!!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My sons deserve all the credit and blame for who I am. The minute I was blessed to become George, Luke and Ayden’s Mom I discovered the strength within me and they are to blame for my determination, good or bad.
Other: Pinterest @3SonsFoods
Fulton Photography Kelley Sweet Photography