“Why would I pay $14 for a bottle of your sauce when I can buy one for $4 from Coles?”
This was a question I was asked recently by a prospective customer. At the time, my mind was blank. I simply smiled and began to tell him all the wonderful things about the sauce he was interested in, but truthfully, I was a little bit offended and somewhat outraged having my pricing questioned.
As the man walked away without sauce, however, I began to think about all the things I should have said (which is generally how my mind operates) and I realised that his question was very straightforward. My inability to list those reasons on the spot not only cost me a sale, but it also made me realise that selling the story and the reasoning behind both the sauce and the pricing is required in today’s market where money is tight, and customers are questioning their spend in all areas.
So this article is dedicated to the man who questioned my pricing – thank you for asking, and I hope you will see this and give us another chance!
What makes our sauces special?
There are so many hot sauces available these days. There are chilli products popping up everywhere from major mainstream brands, and it is easy to see that spicy products are a current food trend. I know I speak for a large number of Aussie sauce producers when I say that we are feeling the pinch from more and more cheap chilli products replacing ours in people’s homes, so here are 8 reasons why you should buy our sauce (or from another small batch Aussie producer).
1. We are Australian
This may seem like a small thing, but in a market where so much of what we buy is manufactured overseas, it’s becoming rare to find Australian owned and operated businesses. We are proud to be one!
2. We support other Australian small businesses
We source our chillies and fresh produce from Australian growers. All of our sauces contain more than 90% Australian ingredients, with most being 98% Australian. Some spices & rare ingredients (and at times during the year, garlic) are impossible to obtain locally which is the only reason our sauces are not made from 100% Australian ingredients.
Our labels are designed and printed in Australia. We have been able to keep this process locally thus far, and we are truly proud of it. We pay a much higher cost for labels than if we had them printed in China, but the quality, customer service and experience of sourcing these locally (and supporting another small business) is rewarding.
3. We support the local community
We donate products to local schools, charities & raffles on a monthly basis to assist with their fundraising capabilities. We love to support our local community where we can, and I know all small business owners feel the same way.
Small batch producers know every ingredient in their products!
We know about chillies. We love what we do. If you have questions about how to use a sauce, what’s in it, where the ingredients come from, or general chilli knowledge, those questions can be answered directly by the maker… me!
Every chilli that goes into our sauces, is washed, sliced and processed by us! We also goes to the markets to pick up the fresh produce. I have built relationships with both the wholesalers and the growers.
5. Quality Ingredients
We stand by the ingredients in our products. We choose to use Aussie grown chillies and premium ingredients as we truly believe it tastes better that way. We don’t use artificial colours, flavours or preservatives (check your $4 supermarket brands for additive numbers). We also don’t use water (which is the number one ingredient on a lot of supermarket brands) or thickeners!
6. The Flavour
If, like me, you are a foodie, then you appreciate the flavour of a sauce above everything else. Small producers spend huge amounts of time in the test kitchen coming up with amazing flavour combinations that are sure to please your palate! When inspiration strikes, and I come up with a new sauce, it’s exciting. Every one of The Chilli Project sauces has a place in my fridge and menu. Each sauce has been developed for a purpose and I find every one of them delicious!
7. Quality Control & Customer Service
I could tell you about the time I poured $2000 worth of burnt sauce down the sink in 2021, but it still brings a tear to my eye! Small batch producers like us take pride in their product. We are connected to the recipes we develop, and when things go wrong (which occasionally they do), we are devastated. Each sauce is prepared, cooked, blended, bottled and labelled by hand, so if you ever have an issue, there is a real person to contact.
8. Profits go to the family
It sounds so obvious and so simple, but it’s true! Big corporations give profits back to shareholders. Our profits go straight into the cost of raising our daughters! Owning this business also allows me to have a flexible work schedule to take them to activities, so every sale results in a smile on my face and sometimes a little happy dance. Your purchase makes a difference to our family!
9. The people behind the brand
As mentioned above, this is a family business. I, Michelle, am the creator & sauce maker, and I am helped by my husband and 2 daughters with labelling, packing and delivery. We are real people behind the brand, and have a real connection to the product. My daughters love our sauces, and are my biggest supporters! They are also doing happy dances with every sale!
10. And finally the price….
For all the reasons listed above, small producers like us cannot compete with mass produced $4 supermarket brands, but if you pick up your Tabasco from the supermarket (which I love, and it has a place in my home), you may not think twice about the price, BUT both Coles and Woolworths are currently selling Tabasco for $9.50 for 150ml (the same sized bottle as ours). We sell 4 of our sauces (including our multi-award-winning Signature Blend Hot Sauce) for $10.95. The difference is not a big one after all.
**REMEMBER YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR AMAZING STOCKISTS TOO!
We have a network of valued stockists right around Australia, and by purchasing our sauces from them, you are supporting yet another Australian small business in the process!