Opening sales figures are looking promising for ‘Supa Sauce’ as members of the public who toured Nayland College’s Open Evening on Tuesday got to sample and purchase the group’s delicious product. Supa Sauce, alongside ‘Doctor Herb’ and ‘ATYR’ are participating in The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme this year and we have been following their journey through pitching their ideas to a panel of judges at NMIT, to marketing and selling their finished products.
Supa Sauce isn’t an original idea for CEO Ebony Doyle and company directors, Isaiah Masters, Julia Hamilton, Joao Cury and Winiata Tairaki Whiu. The idea is one that has been passed on from year to year by previous Business Studies groups. However, this year the students are taking the business to a whole new level.
When asked what they bring to Supa Sauce in 2020, Isaiah Masters said, “It’s more about our approach to the product, how serious we’re going with it, the lengths we go. We’ve got like business shirts, we’re getting business cards, it’s kind of more formal than what last year’s group have done.”
Because the brand already has recognition in the community the group have maintained the same logo and they are using the same chef, Andrew King, to make up the batches.
Andrew is the youngest brother of Business Studies teacher Murray King and he has been involved from the very beginning. In fact, it was Andrew that first introduced the idea of using the superfood Quinoa. His passion for promoting old-style home cooking and being able to make really simple nutritious meals from scratch was a motivating factor in developing Supa Sauce. The sauce is high protein, all-natural, gluten free and vegan, a healthier option that cuts down on sugar and sodium, while offering higher levels of protein than are found in traditional sauces.
Supa Sauce has a flavour that tastes like a mixture between Tomato and BBQ, however it is hard to truly compare this unique and original taste. The sauce is highly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways including as a dip, pasta sauce, in sandwiches, on pizzas, or as an accompanying sauce with fish, meat or vegetables.
Once Andrew has made up a batch of Supa Sauce, the students are in charge of sterilising the bottles and bottling the product. Last week Ebony and Isaiah worked with the chef to bring the sauce up to the correct temperature prior to bottling in Nayland’s commercial kitchen. Their first batch was on display for tastings and sales at our Open Evening on Tuesday night and the public responded well with $500 to $600 worth of sales made in that one night alone.
Pitching their business idea to a panel of judges at NMIT last term was a nerve-wracking prospect for some of the Business Studies students however Ebony really enjoyed her experience. “I actually enjoyed it ‘cos we had practices a few days before, I feel like we were ready and I think we did really well,” she said.
Joao added, “Yeah the judges, I think they liked our product. Doing the pitch helped us to know what we were doing presenting to them…Trying to sell the idea of our product to them was an experience.”
For Isaiah it was about “putting forward our product in a formal sense rather than just to friends or family… [it was] good to know where we are I guess in that area. We got a pretty good score we reckon.”
Running a business at the same time as juggling school work and other commitments has certainly been a challenge for the group. “We can’t only do it during school time so we have to use our extra time for it so managing our personal stuff with it [has been a challenge],” said Joao.
“Also trying to balance our schedule,” Isaiah added. “We all do stuff so trying to fit that into the schedule with operating a business while all of us are working, [playing] sport.”
However the challenge of it all has also been part of what Ebony has enjoyed about the process. “I guess it just keeps us on our toes, it’s just another commitment that we need to make, well, put it first.”
The next step for Supa Sauce is definitely selling. “We’re first planning to do some social media work to put it out there, gain some interest through there,” said Isaiah. The group also hope to join their classmates on a combined stall at the Nelson Market on Saturdays and are looking to contact Isel Market as another potential option.
In terms of long term hopes and dreams for the business Isaiah commented, “It’s unclear at this point, we’re trying to see where it goes this year, if we do well enough, and then we’ll pick it up from that point. We don’t want to look too far ahead.”
“It would be nice to have it in a supermarket or something like that,” added Ebony, “but as Isaiah said, we’re not really thinking too far ahead at the moment.”
For more information refer to the facebook page set up by previous year’s students.
By Sarah Luton