How we became Angus & Oink

How we became Angus & Oink

“Rub me, smoke me, sauce me, eat me!” The website of Scott & Malissa Fraser’s business Angus & Oink encourages you to do everything you’d want to do with their range of sausages, beers, sauces, and rubs. We talk to Scott about how they got going.

What did you do before you started this business?

I worked in Oil & Gas industry for 20 years as a technical manager. We lived overseas in South America for four years and that’s where the inspiration for our sauces, rubs, sausages and beer comes from. We also lived in the Middle East.

One day you wake up and think “what do I actually want to do?” So we did it.

What inspired you to start up?

We love to cook and barbecuing has always been a passion of mine. Cooking with wood, charcoal and fire & smoke. We developed a real interest in this type of cooking after visiting the US on business and then found similar types of cooking all over South America.

The sauces and rubs that went with the food we loved were not readily available in the UK when we came home to have a family. So, we decided to make some and they went down well with friends and family.

River Cottage had a lot to answer for!

Tell us about your business in 100 words

We created Angus & Oink Ltd in our home kitchen with my wife, Malissa. After travelling the world for work, we returned to Aberdeen to have a family and found it very difficult to source good quality hot sauces and the authentic flavors we missed from overseas.

Angus & Oink was born from a passion for food, flavour, BBQ and authenticity. The business was established two and a half years ago as a micro hot-sauce company. Now we have grown from a home business to working full time within Angus & Oink. Our initial range of four sauces focused on the BBQ and grilling markets which are expanding nationally and internationally.

We have since followed up with three grilling rubs, three types of sausage and now a range of beers. We shall be launching a new sauce, sausage, rub and beer in Q1 2017.

How would you describe your business to your grandma?

We sell spicy stuff from that place we used to live very far away in South America.

And yes, people like spicy stuff these days.

And no, you probably wouldn’t like the sauce… but you might like a beer!

Where do you get advice, support or help?

The company has two full time employees but is supported via an advisory group that have equity in the company. Angus & Oink have support from Wired Studio for website, media and press; from Pinsent Masons for Legal and contacting issues and from a private Venture Capital individual for advice on growth and planning.

We also gain advice from Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise, ONE (Opportunity North East) and other business entrepreneurs.

Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?

We started A&O with £1,500 and have not added any capital since starting up. The personal challenge was to grow a company with the very minimum of investment. The equity that was given to partners involved a small cash investment from their part.

We have recently accessed a crowdfunding platform (TESCO Backit) which was successful in raising £5,600 to upscale production and launch a new sauce. We overcame startup costs by divesting equity to people with the skills needed.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

I think we are close to becoming a recognised brand in the small but growing market of BBQ/grilling in the UK. Our brand is trusted for quality products and great flavours. I’m proud when a customer re-orders our product.

We’re now working with the two times European BBQ Champion team Miss Piggy’s to launch a new range of products under a sub brand called Meat Co Lab.

We also supply sausage down to Manchester and Oxford, so it’s great to see the products moving further afield. We’ve now started to export too which is amazing!

We have also been nominated for several categories in the 2017 North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards, including, Best New Foodservice Product and Best Young Business. The awards will be announced on the 30th of March, so we are very excited to hear the results.

How do you differentiate your business from others?

Our brand is funky and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We try and have fun with the brand, teach people how to use our products and in turn how to BBQ. The diversity of products offered by the brand is also unique – we offer authentic BBQ sausage, beers brewed for BBQ and food pairings as well as our line of hot sauce, condiments and seasonings, tying the whole lot together under a BBQ/Grilling lifestyle brand.

What’s it like to be your own boss?

Busy! Moving from a corporate culture to a self employed one has its merits. But you alone are accountable for the performance of the company. There are no HR, payroll, tax, secretarial services…that’s you.

It has required learning new skills which has been interesting but sometimes it can feel overwhelming with the amount of parts that combine to form a business. We have less free time than we used to but it feels good to be working and building something of your own.

Where do you see your business in 5 years time?

We would like to see ourselves as the UK's leading BBQ lifestyle brand and have export routes to Europe, Australia and the US/Canada working.

We enjoy keeping the evolution of the brand going and our experience from overseas in the Middle East, Southern US and S. America will help us evolve and keep current. We’ll look at different market segments in food service, catering, retail etc and see where our products fit best.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

You must start, don’t just talk about it. DO IT. And it won’t be perfect but it will start the journey.