Behind the Biz is my weekly interview series where I discover small and growing businesses, the people behind them and their business journey. Today we’re diving into the food industry with a family-owned business.
Today I’m very excited to be talking to Jacob and Sam, the co-founders of Tigg’s.
Farming brothers Jacob and Sam James are the executive grandsons, and custodians of Tigg’s, based in the rural idyll of Herefordshire. But the Tigg-olution didn’t start here. The brand is based on secret recipes belonging to their beloved granny Anne – a former Miss New Zealand. All were inspired by the ‘zingy’ flavours of her Kiwi roots – and the result was fresh and vibrantly coloured, all natural dressings. These sacred recipes have since been handed down two generations – and today, they are Tigg’s.
There’s so much more to Tigg’s dressings than simply splashing on salads – although that is rather fabulous too. From marinades, relishes and dips to an incredible ingredient you can cook with, Tigg’s is one smart bottle. Use it in all meat, fish and vegetable casseroles, as an accompaniment to fish, zinging up a sandwich or stir into pasta – the options are endless.
Where did the inspiration for Tigg’s come from?
Tigg is our Grandmother and all the products we have (so far) are derived from her greatness! Her journey began nearly 70 years ago, in 1948, when she was crowned Miss New Zealand – this marked the start of quite an adventure (see tiggitup.co.uk for more in depth details). During her early years in NZ, she created what is now known as Tigg’s “Sweet Original” and from that day, this amber-coloured sensation has been a staple of our family and friends’ diet over the years – this provided the starting point for our all natural dressings, from here we developed a range of four delicious flavours.
How did you decide upon the name of your brand?
We briefly debated different brand names, but never very seriously. We love the name Tigg and it has always been know to us as Tigg’s, so why change it? Plus it gives Gran the credit she so definitely deserves!
What did you do before starting Tigg’s?
Jacob was at University in Bristol studying – and feeding fellow students bucket loads of Tigg’s! – but constantly running out of it. We decided that if students are willing to buy something then it must be good! Sam, also fresh out of University, was managing a farm in Zambia – gaining valuable experience learning different agricultural techniques to potentially implement back home on our family farm.
Did you always plan to be self-employed?
Being a farming family, we have grown up working for the combined good and so it has always been in our thoughts. We had experiences throughout our childhoods of buying and selling goods – including a thriving eBay business in our early teens! But in reality we never put too much thought into it – but we really enjoy the freedom running our own business provides. On the flip side though, we are sometimes envious of those who clock off at 5 and leave work behind. Being your own boss, means work is never far from your mind!
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
Having to learn on the job. Neither of us had any experience in the food industry – or in running a business in general – and it has been a case of learn to swim or drown! Even simple things such as terminology could throw us off, as well as, the more tricky waters of bureaucracy or food safety!
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
Adding Ocado to our list of customers! It was great to have one of the ‘big boys’ in the supermarket game believe in our products! Gran can’t believe something she created as a girl in New Zealand is now available nationally in the UK!
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Social media is so important already and is only going to become more so. We both need to improve our skills with social channels – but we love the chance to reach out directly to our Tigg’s family! If we had to choose a favourite – we would probably say Instagram, as we love visual things!
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Do it! If you don’t give it a go then you will never know!
Where do you hope to take your business in 2017?
We have a new product coming very soon and perhaps another later in the year. Beyond that we have many ideas – and are fortunate that Grandpa Tigg is no slouch in the kitchen, and perhaps it is time for him to shine! WATCH THIS SPACE…
I want to say a big thank you to Jacob and Sam for taking part in Behind the Biz. I really enjoyed hearing about their business journey and the history of Tigg’s. I wish them lots of luck throughout 2017 and I’ll be keeping an eye out for new product launches.