Meet the Founders: Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni of TRUFF
Whose idea was it to make a hot sauce with black truffles and organic agave nectar? You might be surprised to learn that neither Nick, nor Nick, have a formal culinary background.
Before TRUFF, they were known as the duo behind a popular Instagram account for foodies. In other words, they built their brand before they had a business, or even knew what their product would be.
TRUFF hot sauce sounds crazy — until you try it. Brilliantly balanced with sweet, heat, and umami, it’s the perfect partner for everything from pizza to avocado toast. Not into spicy food? TRUFF also offers infused mayonnaise and olive oil, because there’s no such thing as too much truffle.
Recently, we caught up with Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni to learn more about their journey and hear their advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
01 Why did you start TRUFF?
TRUFF started as @sauce on Instagram where we would post amazing food and pop culture content. Suddenly, it took off with a cult-like audience. Once we built that following, we decided to create an upscale, lifestyle hot sauce.
We wanted to make a sauce that was special enough to elevate the category as a whole and heighten the senses when paired with a dish. Our final product was TRUFF — a unique blend of real black truffles and spice.
02 What obstacles did you face along the way?
Every obstacle imaginable! Everything from creating the sauce, customizing our packaging, and educating customers on what TRUFF is. There was even a time when we threw away our entire first production run in 2017 — it wasn’t up to our standards because it wasn’t perfect!
03 What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Really think through whatever it is that you’re creating. Why are you creating it? Does it make sense? Are you positioning yourself in a way that will separate you from the pack?
Also, be patient. Very patient. Make decisions that are best for your brand, not for your sales numbers.
04What’s on the horizon for TRUFF?
05 How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
For the first four years, we didn’t have a work/life balance. We worked around the clock (actually, we still do). Then, we were fortunate enough to build out a team of absolute savages. Now that we have more resources at our disposal, we can focus on the things that we do best. We even get to play golf every once in a while!
We are driven by creating ultra unique products that make people smile.