For Louisianans, the name “Slap Ya Mama” has been synonymous with hometown, local Cajun flavor. While still viewed as the underdog compared to other famous Louisiana seasoning brands, Slap Ya Mama’s story is likely more vibrant — and far-reaching — than many would expect.
Once There Was a Deli
It all started in 1996. Anthony “TW” Walker and his family owned a local convenience store and deli in the small town of Ville Platte, Louisiana. At the time, the family used a popular seasoning which received complaints from customers due to the food being “too salty”.
His family decided to solve the problem by making a seasoning of their own — one with high-quality ingredients, no fillers and a good balance of salt and spices to avoid the extreme saltiness of the other seasoning. Immediately, people took notice. Customers began asking about the new seasoning and if they could buy some for their own cooking. With so many requests, they decided to begin making small batches and selling them in shakers at the store.
In those early days, there was no big production facility to make and package their seasoning. Instead, the Walkers would put their ingredients in a large pickle jar and let their young boys, Jack and Joe, mix the seasoning by rolling the jars back and forth across the living room floor.
“A lot of people don’t realize it was me and my brother mixing all the ingredients,” says Jack Walker, son of the brand’s creator, Anthony “TW” Walker. “It was a fun little game for us.”
After finding success in selling through the deli, the Walkers knew they had a market-viable product on their hands. But what next? It was time to get serious about their seasoning — and serious meant packaging. It meant marketing. And it meant creating an identity that their local customers could relate to and be attracted by. To nail down their look, they analyzed every popular seasoning sold on the local shelves to see what elements of the various designs caught their attention.
“We were really able to pick out what parts we liked and what parts we didn’t think would fit the look we were going for. From there, we were able to piece together the original Slap Ya Mama packaging,” Jack said.
Using basic image editing software that was available at the time, Jack and his family worked up Slap Ya Mama’s iconic yellow, green and red canister label. “We’re from Ville Platte, you know, so we know how to figure things out and make things work,” he says. “From there, it was just a matter of scaling and branching out.”
Modern Times Call for a Fresh Look
As the times changed, so have the visuals that people associate with quality products. While their classic logo was exactly what the brand needed at its inception, modern tastes warranted an update that would help Slap Ya Mama remain relevant and attractive to new consumers.
“Slap Ya Mama has evolved so much as a brand since its early days. It really needed a fresh image to match its new position as a more popular seasoning brand,” Jack says. “Our seasoning’s flavor is big and loud, and we wanted bright colors that were equally as bold.”
Their vision is definitely on display with its all-new packaging. From vibrant color alternatives to a custom font that still keeps the original playfulness of the brand, Slap Ya Mama has retained its identity as it marches forward into the future.
Which brings us to our final question: What’s next for the family business?
“Growth” Jack says with a laugh. Slap Ya Mama looks to continue expanding the brand, both in terms of product offerings as well as in its global reach. “It’s exciting, getting our brand out there. People who aren’t familiar with Louisiana flavor get to experience it the way it was meant to be enjoyed,” he says. “It really opens up a whole new world of cooking for them.”
With new emerging diets and seasoning trends cropping up in the industry, they want to increase their product offerings to meet a variety of dieting needs — all while maintaining their signature flavor. Currently, Slap Ya Mama seasoning is available in all 50 states, as well as the US Territories, Canada, Mexico, Australia and soon to be available throughout most of Europe.