Who enjoys hearing about amazing people doing amazing things? Well, if that's you, you are in the right place!
In our customer spotlight blogs we take the time to talk to one of our amazing customers and get to know them and their business.
Hi Phil, how are you today?
Hello! I’m great thank you, although a little tired due to my little one keeping me up!
Thanks for taking the time to be part of our customer spotlight series of blogs! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your business?
Of course: My name is Phil Coleman, and together with my brother Rob, we run The Cole Men, where we specialise in making artisan chilli sauces.
What made you start a vegan sauce company?
Back in 2020, we all had a lot of time on our hands. Rob used some of this time to start making his own hot sauce, and he brought me a sample. I remember saying to him that it was so good, that if we didn’t sell it, we’d be daft!
So we decided to start there. It’s always been our ethos that we want to be a fully inclusive company, so everyone can enjoy our sauces regardless of dietary choice or requirement. This is why we work hard to make sure that most of our sauces are gluten free and vegan with as little allergens as possible, and if they are not, we look for ways to make them that way!
I’ve seen on your website you have a Chocolate creme spread! This sounds amazing. How did you create this amazing product?
Yes! We made this as an Easter special and it is delicious. We created this version using actual Creme eggs, with pectin, veg oil, almond milk and icing sugar, melted into a delicious spread. This one is not vegan… yet!
Which of your sauces is the most popular?
We actually have two that I can say are joint top: Our peri-peri hot sauce called “Bird Sauce”, and our superhot Carolina Reaper sauce “I Don’t Want To Set The World on Fire”. That second sauce is not for the faint of heart: we’ve seen people actually shed a tear after tasting that one!
Which of your sauces is your favourite and why?
Personally, my favourite is “The Great White Buffalo” hot sauce. It’s tangy, buttery, sweet, salty… it’s got everything you’d want in a sauce, in my opinion! Rob's favourite is Now We Know, our Ghost Pepper BBQ sauce. It was the first one we ever made, and it’s Rob's recipe for his perfect BBQ sauce!
What is your favourite thing to cook with one of your sauces?
Wings. They are so versatile and when they are done right (with a good brine and marinade) they are the perfect vessel for any sauce. Another top meal is Mac and Cheese with BBQ Ghost Pepper sauce… an absolute flavour explosion!
What has been the best experience since you started your own business?
Since we have been making sauce, we have met up with and collaborated with so many brilliant small businesses, and made some great friends along the way as a result!
The community surrounding chilli sauce and chilli products is vibrant and full of really creative and talented people. It’s been a pleasure so far! Also, when somebody comes to a market we are trading at just to buy more sauce from us specifically, that feels very special to us!
And what’s been the hardest?
Balancing our full time jobs with our business has been tough. Plus, I have a 1 year old kid who needs my attention all the time! But, we are able to split up responsibilities, break down tasks into easier chunks and prioritise our time accordingly. It’s been a steep learning curve, but a rewarding one.
Where do you get your inspiration for your sauces and products?
Rob and I have a very specific brand of humour that stems from years of watching lots of films and TV shows, and playing lots of video games. So a lot of the themes for the labels and flavours come from our love of pop culture! Plus, we have always both been huge foodies, and from a young age been putting all kinds of sauces on our meals: it’s a problem, we know.
What can we expect from the future of The Cole Men?
Rob wants to open a hot sauce shop in Manchester City Centre some time, and I want to start a pop up street food shop. We also have a variety of collaborations upcoming with local Manchester businesses, as well as ideas for new sauces almost daily! So watch this space…
How would you rate Sen5es as a supplier?
Sen5es have been invaluable to our business since we started using them as a supplier. All the products we receive are of great quality, and they are delivered so fast too! Could not recommend them enough.
What would you like to see from Sen5es in the future?
We would make great use out of an expanded range of gift boxes and gift packaging for hot sauces and similar, plus, having a range of squeezy sauce bottles in various sizes would be amazing: we’d snap them up in no time!
What do you think? Should we start stocking squeezy sauce bottles? Or should we just stick to glass packaging?