Joel Carriere and Jordan Hastings: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs

Joel Carriere and Jordan Hastings are the founders of Dine Alone Foods, an all-natural line of sauces. It includes a classic Southern Blues BBQ sauce, a sweet-smoky Northern Soul chipotle BBQ sauce, and a spicy Rock N’ Roll hot sauce. In addition to launching Dine Alone Foods, Carriere owns Dine Alone Recods, Bedlam Music Management and New Damage Records. Hastings was the drummer of Alexisonfire and is now in Say Yes. Dine Alone Foods is available in Whole Foods locations in Ontario as well as select retail stores across the country.

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Joel Carriere: I own several companies and operate these companies alongside 27 very amazing people. I own Bedlam Music Management and within this company I personally manage City and Colour, Alexisonfire, The Sheepdogs and Monster Truck. I also own Dine Alone Records, which houses such artists as The Lumineers, City and Colour, Tokyo Police Club and more. New Damage Records is a newer label I started that is focused on all things rock and roll and the many branches of rock and roll. 

And the company this interview was spawned from is Dine Alone Foods, which is our new food company that has just launched three sauces in grocery stores, restaurants, indie record stores and food trucks. My job is to keep the wheels on all these cars moving forward and make sure they are maintained and reaching their goals. We are also involved in a few other entrepreneurial endeavors that may or may not see the light of day. 

Jordan Hastings: I have two jobs: As a musician I am able to be creative; I get to write, record and play music. However, there is a business element that goes along with being an independent artist as well. Fostering and maintaining lasting relationships with fellow musicians and music industry professionals is essential. Luckily, the majority of people who find themselves in and around the music industry are passionate about what they do, so the business side of being a musician is almost always positive.

As a co-founder of a food and beverage start-up, I have found many of the skills acquired through my music career have aided in the development of Dine Alone Foods. Mainly, my job is product and recipe development as well as brand growth and development; again, I get to be creative and interact with passionate people.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
JC: I would have to say we are not working at a company but developing a new company.  We are a fun and exciting music company that looks at something and says, we can do it. Jordan Hastings from Alexisonfire and I shared many conversations around the world about cooking, BBQin’ and smokin’ food, and the different techniques we used. One day we thought it would be great to release a line of sauces that catered to our taste buds and overall vibe. We talked about it enough that we figured why not give it a go.

JH: With any of the companies that I own, it’s a labour of love. There’s absolutely no point doing anything without loving what you do. Inspiration for me comes from my senses; listening to a song that gives you chills, tasting a perfectly prepared dish, or getting lost in a painting or photograph. It inspires me to create.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
JC: The best part of our day-to-day job is when someone is happy with the end product – whether they loved one of our records, were stoked on one of our shows, enjoyed the sauce at a restaurant or took a chance and purchased it from a shelf and got what we were doing. Anytime someone is happy and excited, that is the best part of our day. 

The most challenging part of our day is dealing with egos. I think it’s a full-on epidemic and figuring out how to balance all of the egos to get something done is our biggest challenge.

JH: That depends on what I’m doing. If I’m on the road the best part of my day is performing, getting lost and being free in the moment. There could be eight people or 80,000 people watching, but either way that is the best part of any day on tour. That being said, touring is hard. If anyone ever said touring didn’t present challenges, they are romanticizing the experience. It can be difficult being away from your home and family for weeks or months on end. 

As for Dine Alone Foods, the best part is seeing what you’ve created being enjoyed by people. That goes for everything I do.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
JC: I have definitely noticed that I give a lot less attention to myself and am not taking care of myself because work always comes first. Not eating properly and not taking the time to exercise has affected my health. However, I am starting to work on that now especially since I just had my first son – that really motivates you to shift priorities and balance work/life out.

JH: There are always going to be ups and downs in work and life. The trick is to learn how to adapt to your situation and keep moving forward. When you have goals that you are determined to achieve and enjoy what you do, work doesn’t feel like “work.”

Where do you see yourself in five years?
JC: I see myself as a 42-year-old man looking better than ever and teaching my five-year-old son to ride a bike, skateboard and to be kind and considerate. As far as my companies are concerned we have just opened offices in Nashville and Los Angeles. I see this building more globally, both on the music side and food side. I see the food line expanding considerably and possibly branching off into new and exciting projects. Who knows, I have no barriers around what we do, which keeps us limitless. 

JH: Keeping my ear to the ground, consistently learning, growing my businesses and doing what I love.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
JC: We are old dogs and we can’t change people. What we have to realize is that you might not be able to change someone to fit your needs but you can change your approach to get what you need. I think the basic psychology of business is something that I had to learn through many experiences, both great and awful.

JH: “I can’t.” That statement is one that I used to use from time to time or was said to me when I was a younger, naive individual. Having a negative outlook or having one forced on you can impact your ambition. I have always tried to remain positive and push forward; avoiding or dismissing naysayers has enabled me to overcome barriers. I think being able to adapt to your environment, not dwell on small setbacks, and push forward is essential.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
JC: Achievement as a whole. The money thing is not our motivation but I am fully aware I need to make it and it is important. After all, I am in the business of selling products. If these products sell and we are smart enough in managing our business model, we all make money and it allows for growth, new ideas and more smiles on many pretty faces. 

I am not a miserable person by any means. I am fun to be around, but I am never really satisfied. As soon as I accomplish something I am already on to two or three or 12 other things. The only thing I can say that makes me feel euphoric is my child’s laugh and smile. That is a feeling that I have never experienced before and I have experienced a lifetime of stories already.

JH: Success looks however you want it to. If you love what you do and are able to do it for a living you’re successful in my mind. Money does not = happiness, happiness for me is loving what you do.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
JC: The greatest thing about my job is these can happen daily. Just today I listened to a new song by a band that hasn’t been a band in about 15 years. This band meant a lot to everyone I work with and to be hearing this new song produced ear-to-ear grins throughout our office. We recently had a party for the launch of our sauces and that party was one of the more amazing, fun parties I had been to in a while. To see our collective team rally together to create such an amazing day for friends, family and business associates was remarkable. 

JH: I’m fortunate to have memorable milestones in different levels of my professional life. Just last week we had the official launch for Dine Alone Foods and it was a great success, attended by colleagues in the food industry, music industry, friends and family. Another milestone: having my band (Say Yes) added to Riot Fest music festival this September (2014). We will be sharing the bill with bands like The Cure, Billy Talent, The Flaming Lips and, of course, my old friend City and Colour. It will be an honour to share the stage with such great artists, old friends and hopefully new ones.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
JC: Breathe fresh air, stay fit, have as much fun as possible, make mistakes and learn from them. We only have so much time and, as you can tell, not enough people are having fun, so take it upon yourself to enjoy your life and enrich those around you. Also being passive aggressive is the worst and I would love to slap every passive aggressive person in the face for wasting so much time. 

JH: Work hard, enjoy every moment, make your mark and leave your ego at the door.

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
JC: Paddington’s at the St. Lawrence Market. I love getting their breakfast sandwich with well-done bacon and an inside-toasted Kaiser roll with onions, hot sauce, lettuce, black pepper and one little shot of mayo. That is my favourite place to go and one of my favourite sandwiches. I love going to Real Sports and having pints before heading into games and concerts. I guess my favourite spots are any spot I am having great conversations and a good time.  

JH: There’s a tiny restaurant in my town (Burlington, ON) called Blacktree. It only seats about 30 people and is by far my favourite restaurant in Burlington. The unique decor and art, paired with its ever-changing menu, is always an amazing experience.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
JC: I am a new father and retired “me” time into “his” time. My job creates a lot of amazing moments and it doesn’t feel like a job. I don’t need “me” time when I have this little dude who I don’t want to develop into a prick.

JH: I love entertaining, having BBQs in my backyard with friends and family is always a great time. I love anything with an engine – motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs, you name it. Other than that, playing/writing music with the boys in “Say Yes” is always a time.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
JC: I love Costa Rica. The temperature, the water, the food, the culture, and I have had some of my most amazing downtime moments there. We rented a place in the rainforest on the water that had this infinite pool overlooking the beach and I remember having the best nap of my life there. I didn’t have a worry or a thought… my only thought was that this moment is perfect.  

JH: Tough call, Japan is always a crazy place to travel. I’ve been twice now and I don’t think it could ever get boring. It’s a beautiful country full of tradition. Australia is another great country to visit. The Australians are extremely nice just like us Canadians.

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
JC: Royce Da 5’9” – Legendary.

JH: Remedy by Hot Water Music.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
JC: Doesn’t matter. I am doing what I love and that is the most important. 

JH: No idea, something that mixes passion and creativity. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
JC: We support several different causes but we don’t wave it around publicly. We can leave that for those who need attention. We are subtle with our approach and don’t use it to fill any empty void. Sometimes it’s releasing a song, a compilation, starting a challenge, secretly donating to friends, dropping off old merch, etc. 

JH: I do but I don’t feel the need to boast.

What to you is notable?
JC: A good person that has the ability to be humble and bring out the best in people. That is notable to me.

JH: Sincerity.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
JC: Carrier Pigeon.

JH: Phone booth.


#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)

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