A Day In The Life Of…

06 Aug 2014
3 min read
Ben Jackson, Managing Director of Capsicana Chilli with heat in abundance!

My day starts at 6.30 where I jump out of bed to get my boys ready for school. We all sit down for breakfast and then I sort out packed lunches ready for their day ahead. I start the morning with a massive coffee – it’s my favourite thing after chillies! As soon as my fiancé leaves the house to take the boys to school I’m straight to work to get the orders ready that came in from retailers and the website from the previous afternoon. Then I’m on the phone to make sure my retailers have full shelves and to speak to new prospective customers. I took the decision not to go with a distributor. I was worried I would lose the connection with my retailers and so I deal with them all directly and I value this enormously. I usually stop the phone calls at around 11:30am as my retailers are all independents, usually owner-managed and they get busy around that time so prefer to focus on customers rather than take phone calls. This is a great time to get admin done or catching up on emails and social media. I like to check in on production to make sure everyone is okay, and to provide updates on anticipated order requirements so we’re packing the right products. Gone are the days of me packing my chillies or making sauce. At one point I did everything myself but inevitably had to expand and get other people on board – Amita packs all of our chillies and Dwayne runs sauce production. I run sales, marketing, customer services, dispatch and everything else.

If I get the chance I try and make something half decent for lunch. Sometimes this might be some chicken (or other meat) marinated in an experimental sauce made the previous day. Though sometimes I might only have time for a quick sandwich. I’m always playing around with new sauce ideas and the only way to test them out is to eat them! It’s the best part of what I do! Recently I’ve been playing around with some fab chillies called Pasilla de Oaxaca. They’re the smokiest chillies ever and very tasty.

At 2pm most of our orders are collected by Neil our courier – anything else is taken down the post office afterwards. Most days we’re receiving consignments of one thing or another – though usually it’s our chillies, the vast majority of which we get from Mexico. Yesterday afternoon I took some sauce samples over to a butcher (Chapmans in Baldock) a couple of towns up the road from me for him to try. We had great fun – he got his team and a couple of chilli loving customers involved for an impromptu tasting session which resulted in a resounding thumbs up and a new customer! As we have customers up and down the country most of the time I’m dealing with them on the phone – but I really like it when I can get out to see them in person. Then it was back to Capsicana HQ to deal with any customer queries. I’m usually checking social media again or putting posts up during the afternoon as well. I always break from work every day in time for dinner with the family. It’s really important to me that we eat together and catch up on the day – what new things have they been doing at school etc. The boys go to bed at 7pm and after story time the laptop comes out. There’s always something to do. Most evenings I’m planning out the following day making sure I’ve got my to do list in order. New customer calls. At the moment I’m working on some new sauce recipes so I’ve been spending evenings in the kitchen concocting new flavours. Most evenings I try and stop work at about 11pm and sit down for half an hour to chill out with my fiancé. Then it’s time for bed and a recharge!