Welcome to our brand new series where we chat to one of our lovely customers and find out more about their amazing businesses.
We have been working closely recently with Joe over at Howl at the Moon, as they have recently added their products to our other site, Sen5es Food. Sen5es food is a new site by us which helps you to sell your products online. If you are interested in selling your products online head over there now.
As part of this process he was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about his business.
Tell us a little about your company? How did it start? Howl started in 2015, when I started making hot sauce just for myself and friends and family...the usual start up story...and then properly in 2016 when I'd finally got all the necessary certificates and lab testing of the product, etc.
We started selling in April 2016 at Mattas in Liverpool, that was the real start, once we were on the shelves that was when it felt like a real business.
What is howl at the moon sauce? What makes your product unique?
I started off making one recipe that I'd developed myself, using a combination of tomatoes and onions with roast garlic, chillies from the international food market in Liverpool and the delicious sweet note of maple syrup.
The maple syrup was a gift from my auntie, who'd moved to Canada, she came back to visit and left this massive bottle with us and we didn't know what to do with it.
The combination is delicious of the sweet, the sharpness of the vinegar and the heat of the chillies. We make about 6 regular sauces plus seasonal editions, but this is the original recipe, and still my favourite.
What would be your advice to anyone looking at starting their own business selling an artisan product? If it's a foodstuff, speak to your local Enviromental Health Officer, because keeping them onside is the best way to make sure you don't have any problems and can get to market more smoothly.
In terms of the product itself, look around at what is already being made and try to get a unique angle on it. And spend as much time and money as you can on packaging, if the design is good it will sell a lot more.
Which of our bottles do you use?
The original, and all the main sauces, come in the 150ml bottle, sometimes called the Worcester sauce bottle, or a "woozy". Then we use the 250ml Sauce Bottle for the brown sauce/spiced breakfast sauce.
Your label is very cool. Can you tell us more about how you came up with the design? These are mostly done by a Irish guy I met in Liverpool, he is a screenprinter, and you used to see him at gigs in Liverpool, because he was really into music and he did a poster for a show I was putting on.
I used to promote gigs under the name "Howl at the Moon", noisy, punky stuff and that seemed a good name for the hot sauce too.
Turns out that Gary the screenprinter also really likes hot sauce, so he did the first labels and logo for free and we went from there, after the first year I sent him some money for the labels and he's done most of the labels ever since. I think the logo is quite classic, retro and modern at the same time.
How did you first hear about us here at Sen5es? Through eBay, I was looking for cheap bottles and I noticed that the bottles were a good price AND it was listed as local to me, so I came and picked them up myself.
Stuart at Sen5es was really supportive and helpful, at the time I was only buying 40 bottles at a time, because this was still friends and family I was selling too. I usually buy 300-400 monthly now.
What are your experiences with using us as a bottle supplier? Really helpful in terms of getting orders together quickly if there is an unexpected order I have to fulfill, when I have done limited runs they have been able to come up with some more unusual bottles.
As an example I had to do a short run of 50 bottles for a friend's wedding and they helped sort out some suitable packaging and shrink caps, even though it was only a tiny order. Would you recommend us to other producers? Absolutely, I always have and I always will.
A big thanks to Joe for taking the time to answer a few of our questions. Just like Joe said, as well as choosing the correct bottle, you also need to have a great design for your label. And by making friends with a screen printer, that seems like a great way to do it!
If you want to learn more about anything featured in this blog makes sure you click on any of the links throughout.
If you want to be our next featured customer and get some promotion for your business, send us an email and let us know. We would love to hear from you.
All the best
The team at Sen5es