If you enjoy cooking or, for that matter, if you love food and live to eat, then you know what a good sauce can do to your food. It can accentuate the taste to a whole new level, and there are some things that you will never be able to eat without a loyal sauce partnering. Royal Pepper Hot Sauces are crafted to be uniquely balanced in heat and flavor, and we couldn’t help but wonder the story behind this saucy business and how it all started.
“It started with an excess of peppers from our garden in 2018. I started to experiment for fun and would share the sauces with my friends and family. Some were great, some not so great. Pretty soon after, our friends spread the word, and we were getting requests for the sauces. We officially launched the business in 2020, just before the pandemic.” – Nick Kostovski
How did you come up with this sauce recipe?
A lot of it is inspired by my family’s cooking and through experimentation. Some of the recipes (The Duke especially) are inspired by my travels to Mexico.
Who are your customers?
Anyone looking to add some heat along with extra flavor to their meals. Many of our customers love cooking and preparing meals at home for their families and want to change it up. Our sauces are versatile and can also be used for marinating food or as a dipping sauce.
How big is your team?
As of now, it’s the two of us. I am the sauce creator and my partner who handles the creative and marketing side of the business.
How have to managed to market your business when you first started?
Royal Pepper Co. has had nothing but praise and support from so many in the community. We’re also grateful to be living in a neighborhood that organizes.
Numerous events for the community. Last year, Royal Pepper donated a prize pack for our neighborhood event to keep the Halloween experience going for kids during the pandemic. The organizer promoted Royal Pepper along with other sponsors on Facebook. The prize winner shared their winnings, and word of mouth in our neighborhood began.
How has the business changed with covid?
Our business was in its early stage with the pandemic, so our biggest challenge was promoting our products at live events such as hot sauce shows or other food festivals. Unfortunately, most of the shows were cancelled last year and even some this year. Not having the outlet for people to try before buying is an actual setback.
What is the biggest challenge you are facing as an entrepreneur right now?
Amidst the common pandemic challenges, we were able to get into three retail locations. However, we could not get across to as many customers as we had hoped due to repeated lockdowns and curb-side pick up only. We are also currently facing a glass bottle shortage and will need to change to a different style of the bottle due to supply chain issues caused by the pandemic.
If someone had to try one of your sauces, which one would you recommend and why?
I would say The Prince. This sauce started everything for Royal Pepper. This sauce is very versatile; you can drizzle it on your meal, use it as a marinade, or as a dipping sauce, all without overpowering your food!
My favorite is The Marquis, and I recommend this to people who usually eat hot sauces.
What is your everyday routine like now?
Promoting Royal Pepper is our main day-to-day focus. We try and maintain an active presence on social media. Instagram has been an excellent tool for us to help connect with consumers, retailers, and other promoters. We continually try and participate in events such as BBQ and grilling contests and prize donations.
Any message for our fellow entrepreneurs out there?
Once you have your product, focus on establishing a significant digital presence. A web presence with an online store is vital, as is social media. If you are a manufacturer (big or small), reach out to the Ontario Made program. If you qualify, you can be registered, and your business will receive a digital branded logo to help promote your products. Take advantage of small business resources provided by the government, such as Digital Main Street. Also, investigate any grants or loans available for small businesses, and do not be afraid to ask questions.
You can follow them on Instagram at royalpepper.ca
Author: Ravleen Bali, Content Writer for Onside Media, Canada. If you have any stories or comments to share, kindly email: –[email protected]