engage magazine issue 004 \'07 - Page 61

BUSINESS SUCCESS 61 Reggae Reggae Sauce With a £50,000 investment from Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh for 40% of his business, Levi Roots’ ‘Reggae Reggae Sauce’ has become the most successful product to come out of the BBC Two hit programme, Dragon’s Den. Levi spoke to me about the whirlwind of success surrounding the sauce, his family, his music and of course, the ‘Dragons’. Interview by Nikki Costa Levi, you were born in Jamaica and came over to London when you were 12, how did you find growing up here? “At first, it was scary- as it would be for any 12 year old. It was cold and I was used to hot weather! Even the leaves falling from the trees seemed strange so it was a bit of a shock to the system but I was lucky because I had a close family unit, which made it a bit easier. to force things at the wrong time, it won’t happen because it’s not meant to. My time had come with Dragon’s Den and if I hadn’t taken the chance I would’ve lost out terribly. I hadn’t even heard of Dragon’s Den and when I asked around no one had heard of it. I went in there with my eyes wide shut, so to speak. My mum told me to read Psalm 23, ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ and then just go and slay those dragons! ” been worse. But because I hadn’t heard anything I went in there thinking everyone was lovely and that they were going to love me!” We both break into laughter. You certainly won the Dragons and the viewers over. Everyone I speak to tells me that they can never find the sauce because it has always sold out. The manufacturers produce over 200,000 litres per batch, do they not? “The truth is Nikki, the demand is phenomenal. We produce 250,000 litres per batch. We can’t get it enough of it. It’s been the most successful product on the Dragon’s Den. Within three weeks of being on the show the sauce was on the shelves. Products from the show normally take three to six months to prepare.” Who or what would you say motivates you? My mother. Everything I do is for my mum. I want to make her happy. Even now with the success of the sauce and the money coming in, all I’m thinking about is taking my mum on holiday to Jamaica. She’s my number one.” What do you think your grandmother would say if she were still alive? “I think she’d be worried about her secret recipe! Up until the time I came to England, she taught me how to cook and everything I knew as a child. I know she’d be proud of me and I’m sure she’s watching over me.” During your pitch on the programme, Theo Paphitis pointed out that your calculations were out by a significant amount. Is there anything you would like to say to Theo now? By now Levi has already begun laughing and I soon follow. “ My calculations weren’t that inaccurate after all! Theo makes me laugh. I love his expressions. He’s a really nice guy.” You sold ‘Reggae Reggae Sauce’ at the Notting Hill Carnival for several years before deciding to pursue the wider market. What was your reason for making the transition? “As a Rastafarian I believe that everything has its time. We have a saying, ‘Nothing ever happens before the time’. If you try It obviously worked. So Levi, do you think being unaware of the Dragons’ reputation actually helped you? “Definitely. If I’d gone in there having heard about the way people perceive them - Peter putting people down, Richard not being positive about things and all the other things people say, it would’ve What is it like having Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh invest in you? “Peter and Richard have both been fantastic. Peter is like my shadow He’s been behind me all the way. He’s a pussycat really. I think the world of him.” ISSUE FOUR 2007 engage | uk