Turning hobby into a side business, developing a local hot sauce business

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Turning hobby into a side business, developing a local hot sauce business

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Husband and wife Mark and Emily Slater have grown their love of hot sauce from a hobby to a full-time business in just a few years

Mark Slater is no stranger to making hot sauce. He’s been doing it in his home for over a decade, but has turned it into a full-fledged Newmarket-based business in the last two years.

His love of spicy food dates back to when he was young.

“I’ve always liked hot stuff. I’m a Quarter Guyanese, so maybe that plays a role as well.” I know.”

About 15 years ago, he decided to try making his own hot sauce.

“I’ve always loved cooking, so I decided to start making my own sauces,” he said.

For a while, Slater was making it for fun and sharing it with friends and family, but people started encouraging him to turn it into a business.

“People were always pestering me, ‘Hey, you should sell it.'” It has started.”

Slater and his wife Emily launched Need the Heat and started selling by word of mouth. He said he spent his first year or so doing small-scale sales and “building recipes and preparing processes.”

They expanded into local market sales and sold more regularly at The 400 Market in Innisfil and online. Creating an e-commerce site was one of his easy tasks for Slater, a web developer by profession.

That aspect of the business came easily, but starting a food company meant a lot for the couple to learn.

“There were a lot of big learning curves going into the food business. I had some pretty good mentors who reached out and helped me get past these hurdles. was from the industry and I’m still part of it and now it’s not just physical products but also food, it’s a really big challenge for us did,” he said.

Despite the challenges, the couple found themselves in a business that had a lot of demand. Then he said

“For me, I have to have heat in everything, hence the name Need the Heat. If I eat breakfast and I don’t have hot sauce, I feel like I’ve missed something.” People are like that,’ he said.

He and Emily pair hot sauce with any meal of the day, and an entire refrigerator door is dedicated to spicy condiments, he said. But in their business, it’s not just the level of spice that matters, but the taste of the sauce as well.

“Now, especially when it comes to sauces, the focus is on flavor first,” he said.

The majority of Need the Heat’s products are fruit-based. The first signature sauce that Slater called is the pineapple-based Pine In My Arse.

“I wanted something that started out like a little salsa and then got that heat,” he said.

He started with a vegetable base, but needed to add some sweetness to the recipe. When they started selling the sauce, he saw how popular it was and decided to try other fruits as well.

Now Need the Heat sells one called That’ll Peach Ya and one called Mango Unchained. Slater, who is also his father, said the funny name was inspired by his dad’s jokes and the fact that it was a fun product to begin with.

“Hot sauce is such a fun product, [people] Enjoy it very much. As many times I’ve been turned down to give people samples, it’s a fun product and even when people say no they laugh.’ mosquito? That’s why I started with those names,” he said.

One of our other products named Candied Menace is one of our top sellers. It’s a candied jalapeno, so it’s the only product that doesn’t use fruit, but it’s the best-selling product.

“It’s our mildest product, but it’s by far our most popular product, and people want that flavor, but they want a little heat, so it’s possible it’s going in tandem with that.” there is.

According to Slater, their jalapeños pair well with the charcuterie board, which is now very popular. The peach sauce, he said, is chutney-like and goes well with samosa, and is actually sold at Samosa Master in Newmarket. When it comes to the original pineapple hot sauce, it’s particularly versatile.

“Pineapple, I can put it on top of everything,” he said.

Their website has a blog section where they share ideas on how to use hot sauces and different peppers, as well as general information about them. It became Slater’s main job and part of his other administrative duties.

“She’s pretty much the main cook now because I’m focusing on my strengths. You know marketing…websites and everything she can go into production.” I know,” he said.

Need the Heat recently moved to a commercial kitchen, business expanded, and Emily quit her job as a personal trainer a few months ago to focus full time.

Slater said he’s amazed at how much growth has happened in just two years.

“Maybe it’s a testament to the sauce itself, especially the community in this area…Some of the people I sell to say, ‘I don’t like hot sauce, but I do like to support my local community, so Tell me your bestseller. One,” he said. “We get a lot of repeat customers. Our clients are great. Again, it’s not a hard product to keep up with because everyone enjoys it.”

With fall and the holiday season approaching, Need The Heat has launched Cranky Cranny, a seasonal sauce made from cranberry and habanero.

Products can be purchased directly online or by visiting the Need the Heat website to find out where to buy directly.