We just can;t get enough of the Hot Pickle included in the November subscription box. As such we were very excited to sit down with Michael from love-pickle.co.uk to get to know their back story and pick up a few tips along the way.
Michael, like many in the food industry your story starts in the City. What was the moment where you decided to that you wanted to fully commit to the food industry? Was this a difficult decision for you?
It was when I realised the full potentiality of the product and positioning it in the market. Making a decision to leave a career in the City after many years is never easy, particularly when embarking on a venture into the unknown. However, the challenge of launching a food product based on a family recipe was very exciting.
We've tried a couple of pickles from the range and in this months subscription box includes you Extra Hot Pickle. What's your own heat threshold like and which of your range best represents your taste?
My favourite is the Extra Hot as it is the perfect balance of flavour and heat for my taste, all the flavour with a slow rising of heat. I have quite a high threshold for chilli but flavour must not be compromised. It's why the Extra Hot is a multi award winner!
Love Pickle is manufactured in the UK using local suppliers but your pickle maintain origins in India. How did you go about developing this range?
The chilli tomato pickle and the tamarind chutney are based on a family recipe and are handmade using traditional methods to capture the authenticity of the products. The brand is positioned for the premium market, the packaging, range and quality of the products have been developed for this target market.
Congratulations of the range of awards you've picked up included Great Taste Awards and the National Chilli Award. It must have been great to receive such validation so early in to a young venture. What has been the proudest or most exciting moment for you so far?
Thank you! The awards (5 out of 6 products) are a tremendous achievement for a small business and brings a valuable element of credibility to the range of products. The journey so far has produced many proud moments from fantastic consumer feedback to getting both products listed with British Airways First and Business Class flights to India, seeing the product on a shelf in Selfridges and getting the first repeat order. Most exciting moment has to be pitching to BA and getting the nod.
What words of advice would you offer for anyone wishing to start off in a similar path? Have their been any major pitfalls or hurdles?
Not sure I'm the right person to offer advice! First and foremost you need to have a great product with a wow factor, packaging and branding are important but will not make any difference if your product is average. Have a solid business plan (3 year) with clearly defined objectives, targets and timelines, review every 6 months and understand performance drivers. Ensure there is adequate financial resources in place to develop and sustain business as it begins to grow. Invest in NPD and think strategically, next 12, 24 months. Have a vision and understand and accept that you are responsible to generate business.
There are always pitfalls and hurdles in any business and apart from the main issues such as business sustainability, lack of funding, cash flow etc., I would advise to deliver on customer satisfaction every time and do not compromise on quality whether that is product or service.