Scotch Boyz, a Black-owned Jamaican sauce brand started in 2012 from humble beginnings with four childhood friends (Drew Gray, Matthew Wallace, Neil Hudson, and Kemal Swamy) who shared a passion for cooking and a love for great food. After participating in a BBQ cook off and being overwhelmed with positive feedback, they decided to bottle their sauces.
Unfortunately, after completing high school all four friends went to separate universities. However, once a year they would reunite in Jamaica for Drew’s annual BBQ. Each year, news would spread about how amazing the food was, drawing both old and new faces seeking to get a taste. Drew had perfected a sauce that his grandfather first made in Portland, Jamaica over 60 years ago.
The brand, which received investment as a 2022 winner of the SheaMoisture Next Black Millionaire Fund, is passionate about making an impact on the communities that it works with, such as support of small farmers and The Scotch Boyz Foundation (which is dedicated to providing additional support for underfunded schools in their local community).
As one of the winners of the fund, Neil Hudson and Scotch Boyz received a $100,000 grant, a dedicated Target endcap in over 600 stores and online at Target.com, and a variety of business development coaches and services.
Hudson was born and raised in Westmoreland, Jamaica, but moved to Atlanta from Boston five years ago when he was offered a position to relocate to Atlanta to manage relationships and sales at companies like Cox Communications and Southern Company.
Hudson spoke with the Atlanta Voice to discuss Scotch Boyz
The Atlanta Voice: Why did you decide to start your business? Was there a moment that inspired you to start your business? Also, tell me a little bit about the creation of the business.
Neil Hudson: Scotch Boyz was born at a BBQ competition in Jamaica with my three childhood friends. After graduating from high school and going to separate universities, we didn’t see each other often, but we’d always reunite for the BBQ competition. After winning BBQ competitions, people kept on reaching out for more sauce, so we decided to start our own company. Now, Scotch Boyz brings the unique island flavors of Jamaica to you, no matter where in the world you may be.
AV: How did you all come up with the name “Scotch Boyz”?
NH: Scotch bonnet peppers are the heart of our sauce recipes and Jamaican cuisine. My friends and I, the creators of Scotch Boyz, are real yard boys (slang for a Jamaican person) who love Jamaica and nothing more than good Jamaican food. The name Scotch Boyz not only pays tribute to who we are but where we come from.
AV: Is there a mentor in your life that inspired/inspires you as a business owner?
NH: My dad owned a restaurant growing up but the most successful people I saw were entrepreneurs. There is a Jamaican Billionaire, Michael Lee Chin who paid for the exam fees for the country’s entire graduating class and he is someone that I have always looked up to.
AV: The brand recently received investment as a 2022 winner of the SheaMoisture Next Black Millionaire Fund and received a $100,000 grant, how did that make you feel and what was the money used for?
NH: I was thrilled when I got the news that I was going to be a part of the Next Black Millionaire program as I knew this would propel Scotch Boyz to the next level and it has. Getting on the shelves at a major retailer is harder than getting into Harvard and the NBA combined. The mentors I had through the Next Black Millionaire program helped make that a reality for Scotch Boyz. The Next Black Millionaire program accelerated Scotch Boyz’ growth and maturity by at least a decade. With the grant, we are able to continue proudly supporting over 200 farmers in Jamaica. With every purchase of our Scotch Boyz sauce, our proceeds go to supporting small farmers as they work to grow their businesses and contribute to their communities. By supporting small farmers, we can make a positive impact on local economies and help ensure a sustainable future for farmers and their families. This is similar to SheaMoisture and how they sustainably source their Shea butter and coconut oil providing fair wages, resources, and opportunities to more than 53,000 women in cooperatives in West Africa.
A part of the grant went to also hiring our first full time employee and that has allowed me to step outside of the business to focus on partnerships and value-added tasks to help scale the business.
AV: What are your business goals for the remainder of the year?
NH: I have an ambitious goal, ten thousand in two. I want Scotch Boyz to be available in 10,000 doors in the next two years. The first step is to expand in all Targets and I’m hopeful that based on the strong sales I had with the Next Black Millionaire end cap that this will be a reality.
AV: What type of advice do you have for future business owners about taking the plunge?
NH: It is always okay to ask for help with your business and goals. Owning a business can be a lot of work and it is important to have a strong community you can rely on to help carry the load. Thankfully through the Next Black Millionaire program, SheaMoisture has helped Scotch Boyz expand in ways I didn’t think were even imaginable! Also, do your research, identify who you will need to make your business successful and find ways to partner with them.
For more information and to purchase, visit https://www.scotchboyz.com.