Jemal Peters turned his life around and followed his passion for cooking, after the birth of his daughter. He started up Big J’s Kitchen – a range of flavourful sauces to accompany food. He uses some of the profits from the business to help young offenders and disadvantaged young people – hoping his success will inspire them too.
(1) Who are you and what’s your business?
I’m Big J from Big J’s Kitchen – Flavour Of Da Street! In a nutshell I’m a go-getter foodie. I started my own brand that makes condiments representing the UK’s urban streets.
(2) How long have you been around for?
I’ve been around for about two years now. I starting selling my Big J sauces in butchers and delis across London such as Allens of Mayfair, Bayley and Sage and Moen & Sons. Then I was brought in by Dragons’ Den’s Sarah Willingham to do an exclusive “Big J Pop-up Kitchen” in JJ Goodman’s London Cocktail Club throwing down the jerk and BBQ for parties such as Malibu UK, Wray & Nephew UK and a few more. I’ve put in a good amount of work. Now we’re ready to hit major supermarket shelves.
(3) How will you make money?
By selling loads of sauce. I’ll also expand the brand and add new innovative ranges, but I can show you better than I can tell you, watch this space.
(4) What makes you different and why should someone take notice?
Big J’s is different because it’s the first of its kind. We’re the first food brand to truly and genuinely represent the UK’s urban streets at this level. We embrace the culture created right here in the UK and are proud to show the world what the UK’s streets can offer.
My “keep it 100” trademark is all about Big J’s being real, authentic and natural. There’s nothing artificial about Big J’s Kitchen at all.
(5) What was key in terms of getting started?
Gaining new priorities – namely my daughter. This motivated me to do better. Before having my daughter I was quite naughty and did a lot of things I probably shouldn’t have done. Having a daughter made me change my priorities – I got a job and changed my life around, which eventually led to creating my own business.
Food entrepreneur Jemal Peters
(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?
I’ve been a runner-up and finalist in a few business awards, but I would say my main achievement is gaining investment and taking my products from my actual kitchen to commercial manufacturing. That’s huge.
(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?
I don’t believe in setbacks, everything happens for a reason. You might not see it at the time but have faith.
(8) In five years’ time, I will be…
On top! With a major presence on all major supermarkets’ shelves and even more important – helping young people achieve their dreams in business too.
(9) What one tip would you give to those starting out?
I have a saying: “A dream is worth nothing if you leave it on your pillow…go get ’em.” The world is yours, you just have be motivated enough to get it.
(10) Who are your business heroes and why?
My business hero is Master P, the founder of No Limit Records and P. Miller Enterprises. He came up from nothing and made everything happen. I can relate to his story, so I have a lot of respect for him.
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