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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Combining Food and Sarcasm, St. Louis-Based Website Finds a Winning Combo

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge Josh Clauser at work - COURTESY OF THE SARCASTIC NUTRITIONIST
  • Courtesy of the Sarcastic Nutritionist
  • Josh Clauser at work

Josh Clauser never planned to be an artist — much less an entrepreneur. The St. Louis-based dietitian just liked goofing around on social media. The only difference between him and the rest of us is that he had a knack for it.

Clauser had been working for a nonprofit division of UConn Health when he began creating image macros in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, sharing his creations on social media along the way. “I started creating these sarcastic little pictures and posting them on Facebook in my free time and got a great response," he explains. "People would ask ‘Are you selling T-shirts? I want to buy one.’ It seemed crazy, but that’s when we decided to give the art a shot.” Together with his wife Gretchen, he started a website called the Sarcastic Nutritionist, selling everything from coasters to T-shirts emblazoned with funny, food-centric designs.

  • courtesy of the Sarcastic Nutritionist

“I had never done anything artsy in my entire life, no joke,” he said. “And [Gretchen] was a rugby player in college. I don’t think she’s ever worn jewelry, except her wedding band, and yet here she is making jewelry.”

Despite that initial reaction on social media, the couple’s business has not gone off without a hitch. All the products they offer were the survivors of an expensive trial and error session—the two spent hundreds of dollars perfecting coasters and magnets in their first 14 months of business.

Today, though, they're seeing success, especially on Amazon. They have found their groove with the creation of wine and beer coasters, which have been big sellers. They also sell T-shirts, totes and coffee mugs. More recently, the Clausers have been experimenting with wall art.

click to enlarge One of Clauser's creations.
  • One of Clauser's creations.

All the time and effort they've put into making their brand successful has made them appreciate the work of other local artists, Clauser says.

“Someone may see a piece of art being sold for $80 and think ‘Oh, that’s way too expensive,’ but you don’t realize that these people put hours of work into it behind the scenes and spent money on supplies, he said. “It makes a lot more sense now, after what we’ve been through.”

  • courtesy of the Sarcastic Nutritionist

Still, they aren't charging that much for their handcrafted goods. Magnets start at $5, while a set of four coasters plus a coaster holder will only cost you $24, plus shipping.

The Clausers love working together, and they are confident that people will love their artwork.

“I know some people couldn’t work with their other half," Josh Clauser said, “but it just works out great for us.”

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