‘We need to keep the momentum going’. The Rebel Chilli founder, Paul Moore, talks about starting and growing his business.
Rebel Chilli was founded by myself and my brother, Ken, when I was in college. We started making a sauce in our mother’s kitchen and selling it at our local farmers’ market.
I took sole ownership of the company during my time in college, where I balanced completing my degree with managing the company.
When I finished my degree, I embarked on full-time operations with the business. I was joined by Graham Clarke, co-founder of Kookydough (pictured above left with Paul), in late 2014 as we teamed up to take Rebel Chilli to the next level.
“Since going full-time, the number of our stockists has grown from 20 to 220 around Ireland.”
The Red Sweet Chilli was awarded a gold medal at the Blás na hEireann Irish Food Awards in 2014 for ‘Best sauce in the country’.
Exports to Dubai began in January 2016 and the products are now on the shelf in Waitrose and Spinney’s in Dubai. Exports to the UK started in May 2016 and more will follow very soon.
What I do every day
I do all of the day-to-day operations of the business, which includes marketing, accounting, sales and production.
There is always so much to do and it can be difficult to balance it all, but it’s about doing what is most urgent and laying everything out so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.
Regarding feelings about the business, it’s my baby and I’ve obviously become very attached as I’ve built it from the ground up.
It is incredibly hard work, but seeing something that I have put so much effort into, grow and progress, is extremely rewarding.
The business is doing well at the moment – sales and brand awareness are growing, but we need to keep the momentum and to focus on the next big thing that will allow us to expand even further.
My business ethos
My ethos is that you need to work incredibly hard to achieve what you want. You cannot relax and be happy with what you have done as you will instantly become irrelevant, others will pass you by.
Running a new company is constantly about solving problems. Once you have one issue resolved, you need to focus on what needs to be done next.
I also believe that you have to try and remain positive as there are so many things that will happen in business that will bring you down.
“Take the positives, learn from your mistakes and move on. Horribly clichéd, but absolutely true.”
Responding to setbacks?
No major setbacks yet, thankfully. The worst was having to drive up the country to drop off a pallet of sauce that was heading to Dubai, on an extremely tight deadline, with the delivery address in the absolute back-end of nowhere.
My mother is an inspiration to me.
I find it difficult to switch off as there is always something to be done. I’ve been running a lot lately and it’s good for clearing my head out.
Advice on growing a business
Make sure that you’ve tested the market for your product or service, and that there is a market for it. Talk to other people who are in a similar position, as it can get quite lonely at times. But everyone faces the same problems, regardless of the size or type of the business, so it’s good to chat to others because it helps to know that it’s not just you.
My hopes for the future are to grow Rebel Chilli into a leading food brand in Ireland and beyond. I want to get the products sold all over the UK and the US, as these markets hold the most potential for us. I believe that Rebel Chilli is good enough to be one of the best chilli sauce brands in the world and we need to get established in both of these markets for this to happen. In the short term, I have a few new exciting products to release to expand the range.
“At some point down the line, I’d love to open a Rebel Chilli Café selling the type of food I love.”
Images from Rebel Chilli . ⊕