Based in Liverpool and established in 2012, Spice Kitchen is a family-owned artisanal spice company run by mother and son team Sanjay and Shashi Aggarwal. Sanjay and Shashi are on a mission to share their love of food, spice and cooking with the world.
The business was initially set up as a retirement project for Shashi, who ran a successful family shop with her husband until 2007. After 5 years of her retirement, she missed having a purpose and giving back.
Sanjay says: “On Christmas Day in 2012, we were chatting over the dinner table, and Shashi said she wanted to do something meaningful with her spare time. I suggested that she start selling traditional Indian Spice tins (also known as a Masala Dabba).
So, on that infamous Christmas Day, we sat together and made a beautiful Masala Dabba, wrapping it in a piece of silk sari fabric and writing a little bit about the key spices included. I listed it on eBay, and to our complete surprise, it sold on Boxing Day. From this moment, Spice Kitchen was born. Neither of us intended Spice Kitchen to become a ‘business’ or even make money, but exciting things started to happen. We received an email from a company in New York wanting 10,000 spice kits and we worked day and night to hand blend our products. And we were invited onto The Hairy Bikers, given a stall at The Good Food Show, and asked to cook for the CEO of eBay and his team.
Through all of this, we quickly learned that digital skills were crucial to launching a successful business. Here are some of our top tips on how to launch a business online in 2022.
1. Take risks
It is important for businesses to take risks. If you don’t, your brand won’t stand out and you’re not going to grow. But, it’s important that you’re careful, that you take your time to consider all the factors and make wise decisions. Taking risks and making rash, unwise decisions are very different things!
2. Be visible online
Being online gives small businesses an amazing opportunity to grow. It was crucial for us to have our own website, though – in the early days – not knowing anything about e-commerce was a challenge. It is important to know that growing your business comes with a lot of trial and error – it’s not something you can get right from the start.
We immersed ourselves in the technology and worked with other e-commerce shop owners to learn some tips and tricks that we could implement. There are so many options out there for small businesses, such as having a landing page if you don’t have a website, and taking advantage of the power of social media – which we use to share what we do on a day-to-day basis.
3. Share what makes you unique
When launching a new business, it is important to share your unique story online with potential customers. People want to see us blending spices and the behind the scenes of the business – it made people go from liking our products to liking our business as well.
As a result, we are very supported by our customers and we are always inundated with lovely, positive feedback via email or on TrustPilot.
4. Listen and learn from your customers
Our customers teach us a lot on social media and let us know what we can improve on all the time. It’s wise to really listen, and take the feedback on board, because at the end of the day, they are the ones paying for our product.
5. Understand your limitations
Branding is one of the most important parts of your business. We have made a lot of mistakes in the past and we were initially naive in terms of how vital the appearance of your packaging is. When launching in stores, we found that our packaging sleeves – which were designed and printed at home – weren’t selling well. Investing in a graphic designer who knew how to make our packaging stand out was one of our best decisions and investments.
Make sure you know your limitations as there will always be certain areas that you will need help with. The best thing we ever did was finding the right company who really understood our products to help us with our branding. Being online gives you access to the whole world and there are some great resources out there to help guide you through the process.