London bus driver aims to be next Levi Roots with new spicy sauces
A bus driver from London is hoping to be the next Levi Roots after launching a trio of Caribbean spicy sauces.
Gilchrist Thomas, 43, developed his MySauce range at his home in Waltham Abbey, and hopes to make the business a big enough success to leave his current job and run full time.
The three sauces are Hot Scotch Bonnet, mild Scotch Bonnet, and a spicy pineapple marinade (RRP £3.20-3.75, per 115ml bottle).
Thomas told FFD the products’ main point of difference from what is currently on the market is they are vegetable-based sauces, making them free from gluten and suitable for vegans.
Thomas stumbled across the recipe for his sauces after experimenting with different flavours and was encouraged by friends to turn the idea into a business.
By October last year the MySauce brand was launched under Thomas Kondiments and it is already stocked in London stores and eateries including Eat17 Spar, Deli on the Green, Jerk Spice, Saw’s Quality Butchers, and Haelan-Organic Health Store.
“I started the business with just a few sample bottles,” said Thomas, “so I really had to get the name out there to potential buyers and got good positive feedback on my products.”
Now Thomas splits his time between his day job and running the business, delivering sauces to stockists, networking and contacting potential buyers in between work shifts.
“I attend meetings in between shifts, so I have to take a change of clothes and sometimes I only have half an hour to spare to get back to work, so I have to do a quick change on the bus,” he said.
A former DJ, Thomas lost his parents at a young age and found himself “on the wrong side of the law” before developing drug and alcohol issues.
After completing a Maths and English course, Thomas graduated from the University of East London in 2012 with a 2:1 degree in Social Sciences.
He hopes that through success with MySauce, he can give back to his community and mentor young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to launch their own business.
He said: “I believe that no matter what life throws at you, you can turn things around with the right attitude, drive, focus, and positive encouragement.”