How we started our business with £900

Our business started by accident.  

Popa Singh had a dream of creating a special future for our family though he did not know how or when this would happen.  He had tried for over 25 years to start a business and it had never quite worked out.

 My brothers and I had grown up seeing Pops try many different business endeavours from chauffeuring, multi-level marketing, food trucks to catering.   

 During the mid 90's (whilst working as a graphic design lecturer), Pops used to moonlight as a chef at a members club for East Africans in London.  It was here his chilli sauce started to get famous, with people taking it away in containers and travelling specifically to enjoy his cuisine.

 One day, in October 2008 Pops came home, soaking wet from the rain and I asked him "What have you been doing now?" (by this time we as a family were used to him trying crazy ideas and attempting unusual activities). 

 He proceeded to tell me he had been out to local shops trying to sell his chilli sauce in bottles and not had much luck. 

 A few days later, during my lunch break, I was surfing the web and came across the BBC Good Food Show in Kensington, London.  After an initial enquiry, I decided to book a stand at the show using my credit card, I think it cost around £900! 

 The same night I returned home and announced to my family what I had done.  I told them, in order to make my money back and to pay off my credit card, we had to make and sell 1000 bottles of Pops' chilli sauce. 

 I asked if everyone would be interested in taking part and thankfully the answer was "Yes!". 

 For the next 9 days, my family and I acquired the knowledge required to make the sauce from Pops and proceeded to turn my mother's kitchen into a mini factory.  

We picked chilli by hand at the dinner table when we began our business  

We picked chilli by hand at the dinner table when we began our business  

On the first day of the event, my brother Butch and I were carrying 35kg boxes of chilli sauce up 5 flights of stairs at the Kensington Olympia whilst my mother was at our stand, selling bottles of chilli sauce, still boiling hot from being cooked the night before. 

Over the next 3 days, with the rest of our family, we proceeded to sell out of Mr. Singhs Hot Punjabi Chilli Sauce! 

On Sunday evening after the event closed we sat there counting our takings and reflecting on what had happened over the last 2 weeks.  

Almost simultaneously all 7 of us (in the family) agreed we had created a special situation and had a uniquely special product. 

We knew we had to do this again and realised this was the birth of Mr. Singhs! 


By Kuldip Singh Sahota, CEO, Mr. Singhs, London