I am originally from the island of Dominica in the Caribbean. I moved to the UK in 1996. About 2 years later, I was listening to the local radio station; BBC Radio Norfolk. It was a phone-in programme.
One caller rang up wanting the recipe for a cocktail which he had whilst on holiday in Barbados. The radio presenter called the bar in Barbados asking for their secret.
The bartender gave the caller a recipe, but I realised it was missing one key ingredient: the Caribbean coconut rum punch. My mom had a very nice recipe which I always wanted to market. In fact, my mom made it from scratch for parties in Dominica. I made it for my friends at UNI.
I emailed the radio station and offered to make the caller a couple of bottles for Christmas. The presenter suspected I wanted to market the drink so he put me in touch with a drinks manufacturer who gave me some mentoring in the early days.
I wanted to link the product to Dominica so I called it Sisserou, which is the name of the national bird of Dominica.
The initial launch of Sisserou rum and coconut cream liqueur was in 1999.
I was on BBC’s ‘Dragons Den’ in 2007. I traded for a few years but then I had to stop due to personal circumstances.
Sisserou was then rebranded towards the end of 2015.
The packaging is sourced from Italy and the product is made by an established drinks manufacturer in the UK.
Since the relaunch the brand has won a bronze medal in the 2016 International Spirits Challenge.
The explosion of Social Media has made it easier for smaller businesses to be successful.
I will be launching a reward based crowdfunding campaign shortly. My plan is as the company grows to give something back to good causes on the island.