Brothers Kyle and Mike Loftin love their oysters. However, the duo was determined to find an easier way to cook them when shucked.
“We found this niche in the marketplace for a better way to cook oysters. We were tired of only being able to grill oysters on the weekends when there was more free time to be spent on the prep and cleanup. And we learned that many people felt the same way,” said Ali Loftin, who serves as the company’s marketing and communications specialist.
After brainstorming, the duo was able to develop a ceramic oyster shell that can be used on the grill or in the oven. That idea is what launched Loftin Oysters, their Louisiana-based business.
Shaped like a natural oyster shell, the ceramic shells are designed to be touched by flames from the grill to provide even heating and to give it a smoky flavor. The ceramic stoneware can stand up to the grill or under a broiler.
Loftin explained that the three of them, all while working full-time jobs and raising young and growing families at the time, started the business out of her and Kyle’s garage. Determined to make the business a success, they soon took Loftin Oysters to a workshop and hired employees just over the course of a year and a half.
“The best piece of advice we heard was that you don’t know what you’re business is capable of until you go out there and take the risk. And that is one of the scariest and exciting and hopefully rewarding parts of your own launching your own business and taking that risk,” she said.
With that said, Loftin Oysters has several local and small-business customers in and around the Louisiana area and beyond, however the trio knew to truly grow the business they needed to take their oyster shells on the road. In January, Ali, Kyle and Mike exhibited at the Atlanta Home Furnishings & Gift Market and were surprised by the results and the face time it afforded them with current and new customers. They also attended the International Home + Housewares Show in March, ready to build their business and create new relationships.
Available now, the oyster shells, typically sold in a set of 12, can be found at various retailers across the country and are also used in commercial restaurant kitchens.