What can we say? 2023 was a mad one. In a good way.
No need to sugarcoat anything, 2022 sucked for Condimaniac and saw us seriously considering closure for a bit. You can hear all about it in this podcast episode we did. Yes, we have a podcast!
Luckily the doom and gloom didn't last. So, what did 2023 have in store for us? Let's go through it month by month. We're guaranteed to forget some bits so do let us know if you notice any!
Historically not a strong month in ecommerce, however as per usual we put on our Veganuary promotion and achieve all our targets. We're still wary though and unsure how 2023 will go.
We knew now that the first episode of Gordon Ramsay's Future Food Stars season 2 (the show that Kier had filmed in the summer of 2022) would air soon. We don't really know what to expect but are quietly excited. We also release Lazyki and people love it.
Future Food Stars season 2 starts airing - not much happens for us. It's hard to know how a TV show that airs weekly on BBC1 at prime time affects a business. The reality was: Not a lot. Whilst Condimaniac is mentioned twice throughout the show and we do see a spike in visitors, that is kind of it. No significant sales increases. Still a very interesting experience overall! Spoiler: Kier made it to week 6 and returned for the final, so ended up in 7 out of 8 episodes. If you want to know more details, we also did a podcast episode that dives deeper.
We present in front of a board in hopes to secure a £26k loan for our business from our council, then head straight to the airport to have our first proper holiday... ever? 10 days away from the business to visit Iceland, Denmark and Germany. Got back and immediately did Hot Sauce Society in Peckham, which was our best market day ever.
Here's Kier on top of a condiment pyramid in Reykjavik:
We find out we secured the loan! We also deliver our first ever shipment to our new distributor and release Ginger & Rose Pickled Onions.
We buy a new powder filling machine that we're yet to use for the first time. Hopefully once we get it running it will enable us to jar our seasonings a lot faster and more efficiently (we do it all by hand with a spoon currently).
Our loan money is also paid out to us - one contingency is that we need to hire staff and create jobs!
We get another Great Taste Award for Maple Candied Jalapeños. We also do a Hot Sauce Master Class in Shepherd's Bush where we teach 20ish people how to make sauce. Kier also does a lot of work on our upcoming members club, Club Maniac (tbc, but hoping to release in early Feb, 2024).
We also post a job ad in hopes to hire our first part-time employee ready for the busy Q4.
We release Onion Gravy Ketchup, which goes mini-viral on TikTok, because people are angry that a sauce costs £5.95. We sell over 500 bottles in a few weeks. Continue to sell it like hot cakes to this day.
A video of Kier making a custom sauce goes viral on TikTok, meaning we get well over 300 orders in a few days. The same video then goes even more viral on Reels, resulting in even more orders. We also hire our first employee Imogen just in time for everything to go bananas.
Custom sauce continues to be viral to the point we have to stop accepting new orders as the backlog is just too severe. Black Friday sales beat 2022's record. Everything is manic. We get hundreds of messages asking about custom sauce. November turns out to be best our best sales month ever. We get well over 1000 orders on our own website alone.
We just manage to clear our backlog to 0 around the 20th of December and close out a successful year of trading feeling hopeful for the future. We have sooo many plans for 2024 and want to thank everyone who's ordered, shared, liked, messaged, commented or told someone about our little business. We appreciate you.