Meet the producer: Tubby Tom’s
Tom Hughes is the founder and owner of Tubby Tom’s – a Gloucester-based producer of handmade hot sauces and spice mixes, dedicated to small-batch production and strong flavours, which has recently expanded to keep up with demand
What were you doing before you launched Tubby Tom’s?
I went to university to study animal welfare and loved it, but I always knew I wanted to do something creative. I loved food, so after I graduated, I took on a catering gig for a local farm/event place and then pursued a career as a chef in Cardiff.
Why did you launch the brand?
I originally started selling the sauce because my friends egged me on to do it. It all started with a single batch of BBQ sauce I’d made in the summer of 2014. My friends loved it and joked about how I should sell it and brand it as ‘Tubby Tom’s’. I thought it was pretty funny and it seemed like a great idea, so I made some more, drew up some sketchy labels and took it down to our local farm shop.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned since starting the business?
To do what you do wholeheartedly and believe in yourself. To cherish your friends, family, and loyal customers – I couldn’t have got this far without them. Also, remember why you’re doing it and stick to your ethos and ethics.
What makes your hot sauces and spice mixes stand out from others on the market?
Our sauces crush all opponents! We make them with a lot of passion for the craft, we’re about max flavour and are huge foodies at Tubby Tom’s HQ. We make everything our way, and unapologetically. There’s a lot of boardroom-style, copycat, soulless bland businesses out there that are ready to suck your blood and steal your ideas, but they never stick around for long.
What is the best thing about being a small business?
We’re a tight team, we work hard and play hard. Our lunchtimes are epic and we’re all genuinely friends – in and out of work. We get to listen to loud, heavy music and bash out the world’s best hot sauce all day – what’s not to like?
…and the worst?
There really isn’t a worst bit! We do work super hard and it’s really tiring – it’s kind of like Groundhog Day, but we’re working hard to invest in our future here – we have our sights set on some shiny machinery to help us soon!
What’s next for Tubby Tom’s?
World domination! We’ve got some crazy recipes in the pipelines plus some exciting food truck and event ideas.