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Tue, June 27, 2017

Dinner with an Entrepreneur @Carnivore Candy

In an economy where 75%-80% of businesses fail in 1-5 years, it’s important to reflect and learn from the businesses that have pulled through and are on their way to the top. One such business is Boyd Specialties and their brand CARNIVORE CANDY, which is a series of jerky products ranging from beef, bacon, and chicken.

Boyd Specialties opened their business to the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship’s (IECE) students offering their wisdom and experiences over dinner. The company is doing so well that they have recently opened a new facility in Las Vegas, Nevada to accommodate the increasing number of orders they receive for private labeling and their jerky products. In the last 5-7 years Boyd’s has built their company on a solid recipe of success.

About Boyd Specialties

When Boyd Specialties started, it was only family members working in their plant; Jae, his brother Robert, and their mother Sue. Eventually they enlisted the help of Jae’s daughter, Jade, and other family members who were passionate about seeing Boyd Specialties Jerky brought to the masses. Years later, the Boyd family still works in all aspects of the facility. In addition to valuing family, the Boyd company works closely with San Bernardino County Workforce Development Organization to help bring jobs to our community.

The Tour

The night started with a brief meeting of the Boyd family before putting on blue meat cutter coats with the Boyd name and red hair nets to tour the production area of Boyd Specialties in San Bernardino. Jade and her husband Tony led the tour of entrepreneurial students explaining the function of each area in the facilities. Tony explained how everything in the production area is done by hand and every batch of jerky is tasted by employees to ensure the utmost quality and to catch any mistakes. Jade elaborated that it’s far easier to catch a mistake when everyone is checking their work and knows from experience what the product should look, weigh, and taste like.

After the tour and returning our coats, the Boyd family presented a wonderful spaghetti dinner over which they shared their valuable nuggets of wisdom to our students.

Value Your Product

Sell your product for what it’s worth. If you’re using the best beef, the best ingredients, and the best processes, then you deserve the best value price for your product. Don’t under sell it or make it a bargain; most of the time a customer will look for the premium product to treat themselves. This means you also need to make your product look like a premium product.

Family Owned Business

Do you love your family? Of course you do. But you have to know your family like the Boyd’s do in order to build your business on it. The Boyd family has a healthy dynamic that revolves around respect, communication, and having the same goals for the company. They’re able to bounce ideas off each other for work, just like they’ve always done around the dinner table. But they fight too; Jade believes it’s her daughterly duty to knock heads with her father Jae, but they get along wonderfully.

Sue Boyd shared with our students that family doesn’t always work out in the company, “We had one grandson, I saved his life by getting him to quit, and Jae would have killed him.” But they noted that what made their work environment function, was how everyone had a different skill set and a different job. Jae says, “You wouldn’t want three guys managing the back. With Tony, he handles everybody in the back and there’s nobody stepping over his toes. That’s his specialty, working with people in production. Jade is just phenomenal with doing order entry and customer service and shipping…Rob is graphics, all these things (motioning to pictures on the walls), these are Rob’s graphics and he does the website, the label designs, and submissions. He doesn’t have to worry about me coming in saying I can do it better because that’s not my skill set.”


Boyd Specialties are strict with their rules and regulations when hiring new employees. Jae himself mentions the high turnover rate of their employees during their probation phase but once they make it through, they reward their employee’s efforts.

“Jae: after their probation is over, how many people a year quit? One? Out of fifty? At a minimum wage paying job. Jade: and it’s usually for a circumstance that they can’t help, like a family emergency or something. Jae: And they’ll cry. Jade: yeah, they’ll cry and then they’ll come back. Hey, I can come back? …Do you guys have job for me? Of course, we have a job for you.”

Because Boyd screens for employees who work hard and give it their all, these employees go on to get promoted within the company. Jae notes that 1/15 have leadership skills and he’s better off promoting from within the company, “no else knows something better…we have nine or twelve that left for Vegas, (their new facility) to move their families and go out there saying, hey I’d like the opportunity, and the people we have here; they love working here and any chance we have to reward and give back to the employees we do.” Recently, Boyd specialties put in a new employee lunch room equipped with a new PlayStation 4. Employees also receive a company jacket that they receive after a year of employment.