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June 20, 2024 3 min read

From Humble Beginnings 

Starting in the backyard with store-bought rubs and injections, Kosmo, whose real name is Darian, found himself dissatisfied with the lack of control and customization these products offered. This initial frustration sparked his journey into creating his own barbecue rubs and injections—products now beloved by enthusiasts across the country. His early experiments in flavor resulted in the well-known "Cow Cover" and "Dirty Bird" rubs, which quickly elevated his barbecue game. 

Taking the Leap: From Passion to Full-time Business 

Like many entrepreneurs, Darian's journey wasn't without its hesitations. He continued his day job as a route driver while developing his barbecue products on the side, initially selling them to fund his hobby and nationwide competitions. The turning point came with a particularly frustrating interaction with another supplier, which motivated him to refine his own products and start his own business. Eventually, Kosmo took the leap, leaving his day job to invest himself wholly in his burgeoning barbecue brand. 

The Evolution of Kosmos Q 

What started in a small closet of Darian's home quickly grew. Success was incremental: first a few orders, then enough to warrant regular postal pickups, and finally, a thriving online store. Darian's wife suggested tracking their orders on a map, placing pins where customers were located to visually represent their growing reach. Their breakthrough came when they made a thousand dollars in a single week—twice Darian's paycheck at the time—validating the potential of their online business.  

The Digital Pivot: From Competitions to Ecommerce 

Recognizing both the personal and financial toll of competing in barbecue contests, Kosmo shifted focus. He realized that investing money into Facebook ads and search engine optimization could potentially yield greater returns than spending on competitions, where prize money rarely covered the expenses. His early adoption of modern marketing tools was a vital catalyst in Kosmos Q's success, paving the way for growth and profitability in the online space. 

Lessons in Customer Service and Business Development 

From providing his personal phone number for customer inquiries to personally rectifying any negative customer experiences, Kosmo emphasized the importance of customer service. This dedication helped cultivate a loyal customer base, essential for long-term success. Despite the increasing scale of his business, Kosmo never lost sight of the importance of treating each customer as an individual, helping him build a positive reputation in the fiercely competitive barbecue industry. 

The Economics of Barbecue: Navigating Costs and Maximizing Value   

Barbecue isn't cheap—Darian knows this from both his own competitive days and from the operational side of running a business. The conversation between Chad Ward and Darian touched on the rising costs of products, emphasizing the importance of data-driven decisions in making economic tweaks. For instance, a product roll that once cost $125 has ballooned to around $6,000, illustrating the shifting financial landscape Kosmos Q has had to navigate. 

The Role of Education and Continual Learning 

Darian's journey hasn't just been about producing great barbecue—it’s also been about consistently evolving himself and his business. He's invested significantly in education and marketing to stay ahead. Darian's commitment to learning and growing reflects his broader philosophy: success in barbecue isn't just about the end product but the journey and process of getting there. 

Reflecting on Success and Future Goals 

Despite his current success, Darian remains driven by the hardships he faced growing up and his experiences with competitors who weren’t always supportive. His company’s growth—achieving substantial revenue and becoming a mainstay in retail—validates his early struggles and underscores the importance of perseverance. 

The Importance of Enjoyment and Balance 

Chad and Darian ended their conversation with reflections on the importance of taking time off and the need for relaxation, even amidst the hustle of running a successful business. Kosmo’s story is not just one of business success, but a narrative about finding balance, overcoming personal and professional challenges, and maintaining a passion for what you love. 

Kosmos Q’s journey—from a small side hustle to a respected name in barbecue—serves as a powerful reminder that with commitment, creativity, and a lot of hard work, dreams can indeed become a reality. 

Listen Here

"You can go further, farther, faster together than you ever will apart."— Kosmo 

 

3 Fun Facts About Kosmos Q

  1. Kosmo initially quit his job to start a food truck, which became so successful that it ranked in the top three across the country within its first year.
  2. Kosmo developed his own Nashville hot chicken seasoning after discovering the dish at Hattie B's in Memphis. Remarkably, he and his buddy perfected the seasoning on their very first try.
  3. Kosmo humorously shared that he once brought a chiminea, thinking it was a charcoal chimney, to a competition during his early days in barbecue.

Where to Follow Kosmos Q

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