The Hot Chilli Mama story is one of inspiration and having the courage to kick off a new adventure without ‘lack of experience’ holding you back.
Having worked at a ‘sensible day job’ for 34 years, Sue Porter was desperate for a change when she decided to take the plunge and start a new venture with her children in 2017. The aim was to help her kids earn some money and develop entrepreneurial skills, “I wanted them to learn that if they have land and initiative, they can earn a living.” Setting them up as business partners and not employees, Sue initially helped out on a part-time basis but found she loved it so much she ditched the day job and started working full time at Hot Chilli Mama.
With no experience working in the food industry but a passion for sustainable agriculture and organic growing principles, choosing chillies as a business venture was a no brainer. “The whole family loves chilli and we wanted an industry that welcomed small boutique producers. All of our chillies are grown on our farm in the foothills of the Otway Ranges. We are committed to keeping it real – no additives, no artificial preservatives, no colours. Rest assured, you’re getting high quality products when buying Hot Chilli Mama.” Sue says.
The family set about producing the finest quality chilli with products ranging from chilli sauce, jam, chutney, salts, pickles and started using farmers markets as their base to test and sell their products. “We love being able to trial new products with customers (much easier pre-covid!) and get instant and honest feedback. We also enjoy the happy positive vibe of the Slow Food Melbourne community. I return home a little bit happier after spending a morning at the Spotswood market.” Sue tells us.
Starting a new business can be daunting and challenging but the Hot Chilli family didn’t have to wait long to receive confirmation that they were on the right track. Within a year, Hot Chilli Mama won 3 Silver and 1 Gold medal at the Australia Food Awards.
Where to now? The family wants to find more efficient ways to increase chilli production while also tackling the challenge they face with climate. Hot Chilli Mama hopes to announce plans next year to deal with all that. Watch this space!
See Sue at Slow Food Melbourne farmers’ market on the 4th Saturday of the month at Spotswood Kingsville RSL.