Jack Schroder was just a Mechanical and Aerospace student trying to get his required courses done and out of the way. So he decided why not go to Ireland to do just that?
After convincing his roommate, Rob Enyard, to come along, it was in the coastal town of Portmagee that the pair would be inspired by sauce.
Schroder and Enyard tried some unusual mustard in a small pub, and it was that mustard that led them to start a unique business venture: A company that specializes in diverse sauces from around the world.
Lost in the Sauce is located in the MU Student Center as part of the Unions Entrepreneurial Program that offers students the opportunity to start their own companies.
Schroder had no idea this is where the idea of sauces was going to take him.
“[The mustard] kind of got us thinking, like, what if there was a place where you could get all these different sauces and condiments that people hadn’t really tried before?” Schroder said. “That idea, it was cool, but we didn’t really think about doing anything with it.”
It wasn’t until Schroder and Enyard teamed up with another one of their roommates, Brian Dugan, that they thought the store could actually happen. As a business student, Dugan helped merge the two realms of engineering and entrepreneurship to make Lost in the Sauce a reality.
“When Brian had a change of heart about the possibility of success for this business, that’s when things really got going. A lot of it’s just been educating through the process. I don’t know that I’ve really studied stuff to apply to this, but it’s just more learning through doing,” Schroder said. “I think that a lot of business involves engineering, and it’s good to have both angles to it.”
Schroder would never have gotten the idea for Lost in the Sauce had he not gone to Ireland, and he is extremely glad that he did.
“This really spawned out of that trip, so I guess if not for that trip, then we’d just be going to school and doing normal stuff which would be pretty wild. It was an awesome experience. We still talk about it all the time. It was fantastic,” Schroder said.
Being a mechanical engineer and condiments connoisseur is an unusual combination, but it has been all to Schroder’s benefit.
“I think it says a lot when you’re an engineering student, and you have something like this to kind of help you stick out from the rest of engineering,” Schroder said.
Enyard and Schroder found that it is no easy task starting a business from the ground up, and both of them discovered the need to develop a new set of skills they hadn’t learned in the classroom.
“I feel like we don’t learn as much social structure of how people work,” Enyard said. “We learn about just how stuff in the world works.”
Schroder agreed saying, “It’s all about people. Getting more comfortable with talking to people and talking in front of people and just networking, meeting people [who] you’ve never met before and starting conversations. That has been huge.”
Through the Unions Entrepreneurial Program, the company has a year of rent-free space in the MU Student Center, and Schroder has high hopes to bring the heat and build a legacy for Lost in the Sauce.
“We’ve already got a couple sauces in the works because we want to make our own branded sauce, but by the end of the year we want to make a super hot one,” Schroder said. “People keep coming in. We’ve had a couple really loyal returning customers, which is awesome. It’s been surprisingly successful honestly.”
As for the future of the company, the goal is to keep it thriving beyond its one year trial period, but Schroder and Enyard are open to all possibilities.