We love learning more about our customers. And that's why we love doing our customer spotlight blogs. It gives us a chance to learn more about them and their businesses.
In this months customer spotlight we were lucky enough to talk to Janet from Alda's Orginal. A Jamaican drinks company based in Carshalton, Surrey. We talk all about her inspiration for starting her company and what the future might hold.
Check our the full interview below to learn more about this amazing customer. Their website is still under construction but make sure you take the time to go and give them a follow on Instagram to find out more about them and where you can buy their delicious products.
Hi Janet, thank you so much for taking part in our customer spotlight blog. Can you please tell us a little about yourself and Alda’s Original?
I’m of Caribbean decent, l was born in Jamaica and lived there with my grandmother Alda. Alda’s Original was formed in October 2020.
The pandemic allowed me the time I needed to setup and do all the relevant research and tests needed. I’ve be making sorrel for family and friends for many years. They have always encouraged me to make it available to purchase.
Whilst setting up the company, Alda passed away at the age of 100 years and 7 months. Alda left behind 4 of her 8 children, 53 Grand children, 97 Great grandchildren, 61 Great Great Grandchildren and 2 Great Great Great Grandchildren. So it was not difficult finding a name for the company. Alda is the original Grandma.
What is Sorrel and what makes it unique to other drinks?
Sorrel is a drink made from the hibiscus flowers with ginger and other spices. It has been drank in the Caribbean and Africa for hundreds of year’s. Often recipes have passed down through generations.
It's vibrant red colour and exquisite smell and unique taste. It must be experienced to understand the uniqueness of this amazing drink.
I read online that Sorrel has quite a few health benefits. Can you tell us more about this?
Sorrel/ Hibiscus is rich in vitamin C and vitamin B, and contains antioxidants. The pigments make it a vibrant red colour.
What inspired you to start your own drinks company?
Family and friends encouraged me to get my sorrel out there for others to enjoy as there is no other premium quality sorrel on the market.
You can buy sorrel in the supermarket but it not the traditional sorrel as it's enjoyed in the Caribbean.
What were the challenges in setting up your own small business?
Wow, there are so many. From getting the company registered, sitting down to do the Level 3 food hygiene, sourcing equipment and labels, VAT returns and the list goes on. When you are starting out there are so many hats to wear.
As well as Sorrel I see you make a marinade, chilli jam and chutney. Which came first, the drinks or the other products?
The Sorrel came first, than I created a low calorie version. But I felt these amazing flowers with so many healthy benefits and it vegan, gluten and dairy free isn’t used enough. So I then made a cordial, which is becoming the best seller during the summer months. Then came the chutney, then the Marinade and then the Jam.
What’s next for Alda's Original?
I have a huge list of other products I’m working on and the plan is to get at least 2 new products out each year.
What has been the highlight of starting your own business?
There have been so many highlights. Just standing back and looking at each bottle makes me very proud.
Getting these products to market, customer feedback. Doing events such as the Foodie Festival. One of my favourite highlights was the success of doing the Free From show at the Excel this summer. I absolutely sold out of pretty much everything and the feedback from customers and fellow exhibitors was amazing.
How important are local markets and festivals to your business?
They are very important for people like myself as that’s where you gain experience in what works, what the customer wants. And it gives you the reassurance that your product is what customers want.
How would you rate Sen5es products and service?
5 stars, I have a premium product and Sen5es bottles complement and show it as such.
Thanks so much to Janet for taking the time to tell us all about Alda, her amazing grandmother and the company that has taken her name. What a great tribute to give her.
Did you and your business want to be featured in our next customer spotlight? Let us know! We love hearing from our customers and it's great marketing for your small business.
All the best
The team at Sen5es