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Little Rock NZ
Showcasing big flavors of sweet chilli sauce
A versatile condiment that can be used as a spread on burgers, pizza or as a dip is the focus of Little Rock, a new startup based in Westport that markets multiple recipes of sweet chilli sauce.
Director and founder Tania Reynolds, along with her husband Josh, cooked up their first batch on a trip to Thailand in 2011, and have since dreamed of developing and marketing their own sauce.
In 2018 they purchased a pizza base company, Pipis Bakery, made sweet chilli and parmesan pizzas, and took them to a Christchurch food show the following year.
“People kept asking us, ‘where can we buy what you have on this pizza?’. We let them know that it was our own sweet chilli sauce that we make. One lady said, ‘if you bottle this, I’d buy it’.”
So, they did – and the woman bought it.
Reynolds founded Little Rock in 2019 with co-director Liz Hansen. In February 2020, Little Rock was GST registered and ready to launch – but the country was locked down the following month due to Covid -19.
After disruptions of the Covid 19 lockdowns, Little Rock is relaunching into the market this month with hundreds of 350ml bottles of the sauce, made with organic apple cider vinegar.
There are three flavours on offer; Original, Ginger - and Aromatic with kaffir, lime and lemongrass, and the sauces can be purchased online.
Hansen says the organic New Zealand apple cider vinegar is a key ingredient in the sauces.
“It’s what gives it that beautiful acidity that balances perfectly the sweet and the heat.”
The whole startup process has been a big learning curve for Little Rock.
“The biggest learning for us has been to bring production into our control. As soon as we started making our sauce ourselves, we were able to easily improve recipes, develop concepts and make trials.”
Reynolds says to be successful and achieve as a startup, an entrepreneur must have a vision, a willingness to take a calculated risk - and the grit to stick at it despite opposition.
“Underneath this I think a clear ‘why’ helps – loving what you do and seeing the big future picture.”