A compliment by a friend at a Christmas party two years ago was the inspiration Sheadine Thomas-Quimby needed to start her own business.
The La Horquetta mother of two-year-old twin daughters transformed part of her family’s kitchen as her workspace and began bottling and selling her homemade garlic sauce under the name Trini Twin Sauce.
The 30-year-old social worker told Business Day she spent nine months testing, learning and preparing herself for the market. During that period, she met and complied with the conditions set out by the Food and Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health to ensure her product was safe for consumption and distribution.
“I am inspired by my children,” she said when asked why she chose the name Trini Twin Sauce. “The cost of living is high nowadays, so you have to look for something else you enjoy doing to bring additional funds to the table. Caring for twin babies is expensive so they are my inspiration. Also, I started doing vlogs titled Trini Twin, about the life of a mother of twins in TT, so I kept the name and the logo.”
Thomas-Quimby said her hope is to become a household name, and while she’s launched her company with garlic sauce, she has another product in the works that she hopes to release soon. So far, she said, business has been good and friends and family have been her main advertisers, even taking her product across the region from Barbados to Antigua.
She is adamant about keeping the business a family business. She said Trini Twin Sauce was approached by a reputable food chain to use the recipe but not the brand because the brand is unknown. The offer was rejected. Meanwhile, a small business willing to use the brand name uses the sauce at its restaurant. Thomas-Quimby said she has approached many supermarkets and other restaurants to purchase, distribute, or sell her product but has had no luck so far. She hasn't allowed that to dampen her spirits and is keen on making her business work.
“Right now, I am looking for an investor. I want to have a commercial kitchen and I have been doing business courses as well. So far, I haven’t taken any loans but have considered doing that. And I need a garlic peeler because having a job and a family is very time consuming,” Thomas-Quimby said.
She’s purchased a machine that pours the garlic sauce into her pouches – a step up from having to do it herself with the aid of a funnel and good eyesight. And in the absence of a garlic peeler, her husband, parents and in-laws help. The fresh seasoning that goes into the garlic sauce, she said, is hand-picked by her father, a farmer. Her mission – as stated in the company’s description – is to “spread our cultural flavours to every taste bud that encounters our rich, irresistible products.”