This issues supplier in the spotlight is Scarlett and Mustard? We spoke to the founder Sandy..
How was Scarlett and Mustard started, and how have things developed?
Three years ago my son, then aged 11, decided to set up a stall outside our house selling our special family dressing – an unusual oil free recipe of my great grandmother’s which has been passed down the generations. Two hours later he came back inside saying “I’ve sold out and made £76!”. And so we started selling it at farmers’ markets and local shops, with great success.
Since then, we have grown very quickly and are now in some of the most prestigious food halls in the UK – Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols – and in over 750 independent farm shops and delis throughout the UK.
What difficulties have you faced along the way (if any?!)
Making all our products without the need for artificial additives, flavours and colourings, but still maintaining a good shelf life has required perseverance and determination, but we have done it.
Getting our stockists to have our products out on taste is a great way of introducing the range to the consumer, but it is a challenge to persuade them that this works!
Can you let us know a bit about the team behind Scarlett and Mustard, and who does what?
Julian (Col. Mustard) is in charge of sales, with Adam and Annie working alongside him. Sandy (Miss Scarlett) heads up production, branding, marketing and New Product Development.
How do you come up with new recipes?
They are usually via our home kitchen – Julian and I are both huge foodies and love to cook and experiment at home. If we come up with something really special, then we’ll look at bringing it into the range. Sometimes we are asked by our customers to develop a product – our Caesar dressing came about like that.
How do you source your supplies, and decide who to work with?
We try and use local suppliers for our ingredients and packaging where we can. This means we are geographically close, but also helps our local economy and keeps our food miles down. If we can’t source locally, then we try to use British where possible – e.g. all our eggs are British free-range eggs.
Have you got anything exciting planned for the future?
Lots! We are hoping to expand our specialist oil range with a couple of products alongside our pumpkin seed oil, which are super healthy and delicious. We are also developing a sugar free dressing, and plans for some more additions to the ‘Colonel’s Bit On the Side’ range of savoury condiments to sit alongside the ‘Billy’s Chilli Jam’.
What advice can you give to anyone starting out making their own products to sell?
The customer is king! Make sure you listen to customer feedback on the flavour and use of your product – at the end of the day, how something tastes is the only thing that matters as it is what keeps people coming back for more.
Test your products at low-outlay places – e.g. farmers markets and small local food festivals.
Finally, you will need a lot of energy and resilience to overcome many and diverse challenges!
See Scarlett & Mustard full product range here..