So I’d made the decision to produce and market RocketShip! … so what next? Well I knew I had to concentrate on just making one killer sauce. Everyone at the BBQ seemed to enjoy the Scotch Bonnet version … this was up at 350K on the Scoville scale, so pretty hot which is what my intention was.
I felt I needed to refine the sauce, I spent the next month just making small test batches using every spare bottle, jar and container I could put my hands on. The Scotch Bonnets were difficult to get hold of in larger quantities, the spice shop in Norwich didn’t have enough 🙂 so I swapped them for Red Habaneros which I could buy in 2kg boxes at a local wholesaler … the Red Habs are a close cousin of the Scotch Bonnet, same Scoville rating just slightly less sweet, but the flavour was still great … I was getting lots of really positive feedback from family, friends and neighbours … I even gave Tom the postman a bottle when he dropped some letters off one morning 🙂
Finally, I’d got the recipe right … it tasted great, I was delighted with it and everyone who tasted it said the same. I’d kept things simple using fresh locally sourced ingredients, which really appealed to me … supporting small businesses and the local economy seemed a great thing to do. I hadn’t used any additives either … there was no rubbish or artificial ingredients in the sauce .. I liked that even more 🙂
I believed I’d created something that was a bit different to a lot of other hot sauces on the market. It was a little bit thicker with more texture, I liked the fact that it sat on the plate and didn’t swim everywhere … my greengrocer Chris said to me once ‘you mean its like ketchup Graham’? … well not exactly haha, but similar I guess. It meant it could be used as both a condiment style sauce as well as something that could be added into a recipe.. fantastic! Caroline (my in-house food consultant :-)) tells me the scientific name is ‘thixotropic’ … basically it means you need to give the bottle a shake first before you use it lol hahaha.
My next task was to find the right bottles, I’d always liked the traditional 150ml/5oz sauce bottles … I’d been using all different types for the test batches and there wasn’t anything else that got anywhere near the style of the 5oz … so I found a company that sold them online and bought two dozen.
The next dilemma was the label! well not just the label, what about a logo …. what about a brand, blimey things were getting complicated – I had a really good catchy name, but the brand and logo needed to stand out too … something that would catch someone’s eye and make them feel like buying it, but more importantly come back again and buy some more! …. all of that together plus a great flavour had to be a winning formula surely!
I’d always considered myself quite creative, but developing a logo and brand was a tall order, not something you could knock up on PowerPoint 🙂 lol …. but the solution wasn’t that far away 😉
One Saturday morning, Luke and I were walking the dogs over at the Blickling estate … I started telling him my plans and the latest dilemma I was facing, we continued to chat and he casually said ‘I’ll get one of my guys to have a look if you like Gray’ …. brilliant thanks mate …. Luke runs a Video Production company called Meantime Media, based in Norwich and apart from film production he does a lot of animation work, so he got one of his guys Martin to start having a think about some ideas.
I remember I was sitting at my desk in my home office doing some ‘Day Job’ work, I was actually on a Skype call chatting with some colleagues when I saw an email alert on my screen come in from a Meantime email address. The Skype call was going on a bit so I quickly went to my inbox and opened the email up from Luke … he’d written … Hi mate, Martin’s done this as a starter for 10 … let me know what you reckon … I could see there was an attachment, I opened it up to see this JPEG picture !! I’d given Luke the brief, eye catching, memorable … in particular I wanted an image of a Rocket taking off ….. Martin had nailed it, I loved it …. suddenly a voice on the phone said ‘Graham when do you think you could get that done for us?’!!! I’d completely switched off, and was totally engrossed in my new logo …. Sorry I said, do what exactly? 🙂
Fortunately the people on the call were all mates and I explained what had happened, I showed them the design … they thought it looked brilliant 🙂
I’d always been impressed with how the Craft Beer brewers were disrupting the beer industry, their branding, logo’s and product designs were outstanding not to mention the range of new flavours …. this was in the same league, I loved the 1930’s art deco feel, it had a classic memorable look to it … I was well excited to say the least.
The next job was to get some proper labelling done … I needed to figure out what needed to go on the label (apart from the obvious) There were rules, legislation to think about …. I needed to deploy my secret weapon again … my in-house food consultant Caroline 🙂
Next time I’ll tell you about how I got the business off the ground … oh! and of course my first Customer 🙂