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PD's Hot Chilli Company

three bottles of hot sauce with PD's Hot Chili Company label
PD's Hot Chilli Company

With a family recipe in hand, this husband and wife team take on the artisanal food scene with their sensational hot sauce

Owners/Founders: Prem and Debra Sivalingam

Location: Orange County, California, USA

Business Description: Demand for hot sauce is at a fever pitch. With the globalization of palettes, blends of spices once considered exotic are now foodies' condiments of choice. Since 2000, hot sauce has seen 150% growth in the United States, more than BBQ sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard- combined!

With a family recipe handed down from India, a southern California couple decided to make a go at producing small batches of their sensational sauce. Armed with a newly issued business license in September 2016, so was born PD's Hot Chili Company, named after the founders Prem and Debra Sivalingam.

“I enjoy our sauce as a food enhancer,” shares Prem Sivalingam. “It has nutty undertones and is full of flavor. In fact, our hot sauce pairs well across of a variety of cuisines.”

The company enjoys direct-to-consumer sales and is growing its restaurant distribution. Currently, PD’ s Hot Chili Company sauce can be enjoyed at contemporary American restaurant Oceans & Earth and authentic Mexican restaurant Real Tacoz, both in Yorba Linda, California.

How it started: It could be said that Prem Sivalingam has been nurturing his entrepreneurial spirit for years. With an undeniable craving to launch his own business, Prem had been contemplating the right venture but wasn’t really sure how to start. Then he came across the MOBI coursework while perusing articles about “entrepreneurship” on Flipboard.com.

“I did some research on MOBI and then learned it's offered for free,” Prem remembers. “You can't beat that! So, I registered online for the program and ended up taking both the Starting a Business and Business Expansion courses.”

How My Own Business Institute helped: “My wife and I worked together through each session. We'd print out the course worksheets and reading material. We had a general idea for our business and our product, but we didn’t know where to start and where to end. MOBI's business plan template was good guidance for us,” Prem remembers.

Unclear about the regulations for small batch food production, the Sivalingams paid special attention to MOBI's Licensing and Permits session. Through networking with local chefs and other artisanal food manufacturers at their local farmers market, the Sivalingams learned about becoming a permitted Cottage Food Operator (CFO). 

While PD’s Hot Chili Company sales growth rate has exceeded expectations, Prem is keeping a close eye on this self-financed family business. Admittedly frugal, Prem shares that he's constantly evaluating operations and deliveries, quality control, packaging, labeling and marketing plans. 

“Being part of the artisanal food scene brings me a lot joy. When I meet others in the industry, I enjoy hearing the stories behind the recipes,” Prem reflects. “When I see someone enjoying my family's hot sauce that we’ve created - it just makes me so happy.”