Welcome to our very first in our series of ‘Small Business Spotlight’ interviews. We have started our small business spotlight to share some of the businesses we love that we think are doing some really amazing things! Lumos was started with one focus in mind, to help small businesses, what we have found throughout our journey is that we often learn much more from the businesses we work with than anything else. Through the small business spotlight, we want to share some of those learnings with other small business owners to help inspire others to innovate within their own space and learn from others on the same journey.
For our first in the series, we have been incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity to listen and learn from the wonderful Sanjay Aggarwal from Spice Kitchen. Spice Kitchen is a family-owned artisanal spice and tea company that is run by Sanjay and his mother Shashi. As an onlooker and someone that has had the privilege of spending time with Sanjay and the rest of the team at Spice Kitchen it is clear to see their passion and enthusiasm for everything they do. Spice Kitchen not only offer an excellent range of spices, spice tins, and teas but they deliver them with excellence, a genuine company with customer satisfaction at the heart of everything they do. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at with Sanjay had to say about his business and his journey so far:
Your Business Name:
Social Media Links:
Brief Introduction To Your Business:
We are a family business that is all about family and a small business with a massive heart. Everything we do is centred around our love for food, community, and most importantly, family. We have a mission to share with the world the true joy that can be found when people come together and connect over a beautiful meal that has been made with love. We know from decades of experience that family mealtimes are pivotal in maintaining true bonds and connections, and feel that as a society, we’ve lost something in our fast-paced lives. We want to inspire people to make flavoursome food that is simple but tasty, that they will want to cook for their loved ones.
What Are Your Main Products:
What Inspired You To Start Your Own Business?
Spice Kitchen 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. On Christmas Day in 2012, Sanjay and Shashi were chatting over the dinner table, and Shashi said she wanted to do something meaningful with her spare time. Sanjay suggested that she start selling traditional Indian Spice tins (also known as a Masala Dabba).
What Makes Your Business Standout From Other Similar Businesses?
We are all about getting the detail right and genuinely providing the WOW factor to every person who buys our products. We include handwritten notes in our orders, together with surprise gifts that surprise and delight our customers. We take the time to respond to every email, Trustpilot review and social media mention personally, and make space in our diaries to call our customers to build rapport and find out if they loved their order. Customers sense this from us, that we care and that our approach to customer service is genuine. They literally feel the love!
What Has Been Your Biggest Success To Date?
Maybe being invited to appear on The Hairy Bikers, or being invited to cook for the CEO of eBay and his team.
What Is Your Advice For Someone Who Wants To Start Their Own Business?
As a small business, we know we need to take risks and often just take a step towards making a change, whatever that might be. A project can feel large and overwhelming, but if you take just one step – even if it turns out to be the wrong one – then you can nudge closer to the goal. Because, even if you take a step that’s wrong, you can learn from it and do something else. You aren’t going to learn anything from inaction. And you’ll never get time back spent on procrastination!
What Is It That Keeps Your Customers Coming Back?
Because Spice Kitchen was never set up to make money, we are always going to be driven by a love for what we do rather than profit. This means we will make the right choices, for our customers and for ourselves. If something feels good and is right we will do it, but we will never make a business decision based solely on money. Mamma Spice has always said that if you do what you do with love, you can never go wrong. We’ve been championing family mealtimes since we set up in 2012, and so when the country was locked down and back in the kitchen cooking together, we were excited to be able to offer support and also excited to see people coming together in a challenging time. At this moment, we got lots of new customers who were experimenting with cooking with spices for the first time, and so we decided to write a free recipe guide to go out with each of our tins to help our newbies! That was a big project but the feedback has been incredible.
What Are Your Plans For The Future Of Your Business?
Watch out for our Spice Kitchen cookbook, which will be finished by the end of 2022!
Tell Us Something Interesting and Fun About Your Business?
We are big on collaborations with other small businesses which is exciting and creative, and while we aren’t ready to share too much at the moment, watch this space for a Spiced Gin in the next year! We also support some incredible charities, one in the local area and another internationally. Our local charity partner is The Whitechapel Centre in Liverpool who work with homeless people. We’ve been sending spices and exploring ways we can help further with cooking lessons, and even writing a cookbook to support their residents.
What Is The Most Popular Product That You Sell?
Our flagship Indian Spice Tin with 10 Spices and Silk Sari Giftware.
What Product Would You Recommend To First-Time Customers?
Our World Spice Tin, which has 10 awesome blends inspired by cuisine from around the globe. There is literally something for every palette.