'I probably sleep four or five hours a night' - Kuldip Sahota, Mr Singh's

20 QUESTIONS: The chili sauce seller talks being branded by Loyd Grossman and why he loves working with his family.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 31 Jul 2014

1.  IF YOU HAD DONE SOMETHING ELSE WHAT WOULD IT HAVE BEEN?

I would be running a website selling action toys and memorabilia from the 80s, because I collect 80s toys such as Centurions, original Transformers and Thundercats. It would be my side business while working as a toy designer with Lego Technics. I’m a big kid really.

2.  WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU NAME YOUR BUSINESS?

When we first started off the brand was always called Mr Singh’s, but it had about four or five different other names on the label. When we got approached for a TV show called High Street Dreams we went through a branding process. We had a couple of options: Singh For Your Supper, Mr Singh’s, Seven Singhs. We were fortunate enough to work with Loyd Grossman and he said to imagine someone asked ‘Can you buy a bottle of X?’ ‘Can you buy a bottle of Mr Singh’s?’ rolls off the tongue and is the most memorable, so we stuck with it.

3.  IF YOU COULD BE BASED IN ANOTHER (town or) CITY WHERE WOULD IT BE?

I would be based in New York. I think it’s got a really excellent energy over there and certain parts of it are really foodie, like east London is. We sell our sauces over there as well.

4.  WHEN YOU STARTED, HOW DID YOU RAISE MONEY?

The business was started with £1,000 on my credit card, then through the next few years I funded it through my savings. Then in 2013 we got six figure private investment.

5.  WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST IMPORTANT DECISION SO FAR?

To go out to get proper investment and get a business partner on board who understood business. As an entrepreneur you’re very passionate and do your own thing, but at the same time you need someone who’s very logical and cold, and without that I think we wouldn’t have got to where we are today.

6.  WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST MISTAKE?

Where do I start? I think we’ve made all of them. Our biggest mistake was outsourcing manufacturing to a copacker [a company that manufacturers and packages food for other businesses] who could not deliver a quality product. That almost cost us our business.

7.  WHAT IDEA DO YOU WISH YOU HAD COME UP WITH?

Facebook, just because of what it’s become in what is a relatively short period of time and what it’s capable of in the future.

8.  HOW DO YOU HANDLE STRESS?

Deep breathing and working out every day.

9.  WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?

I worked in H&M on High Street Kensington on weekends. I did really enjoy it, because it was the first time I’d stepped out of east London and gone to a really nice part of town. It opened my eyes to the world and what’s out there. It inspired me to want to do something with my life.

10.  WHAT WAS YOUR WORST JOB?

It was actually in retail as well. I was working for Esprit on the sales floor and it was terrible. No one cared about you, you were just another number and told just to go and fold a shirt or stand there and do nothing.

11.  WHAT WAS YOUR BEST JOB?

When I worked at a corporate finance house in the City, because it was basically like being at school and being paid a lot of money for it. There were four of us lads in the office and it was banter and laughs every single day. I’ve never enjoyed another job as much.

12.  IF YOU WERE ON THE APPRENTICE WOULD YOUR TEAM BE NAMED?

I’d call my team The Warriors, so they get that warrior feeling running through their veins and want to go out and win the challenge.

13.  WHAT COMPANY WOULD YOU INVEST IN RIGHT NOW?

There’s a company called Solar Roadways in America. They developed these solar panels that would generate three times as much energy as America needs if they replaced all of the roads with them. They’ve already raised $2.5m of their $1m target in their Indieogogo campaign. It’s one of these products that, if it catches on, will change our future for the better.

14.  APART FROM PROPERTY, WHAT IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE THING YOU’VE BOUGHT?

I bought my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, a diamond bracelet for her 21st birthday.

15.  SUIT OR JEANS?

Bespoke tailored suits every day. I do like a bit of dress-up, because I studied fashion when I was at uni.

16.  FLEXIBLE WORKING OR OFFICE HOURS?

Flexible working 100%. I think office hours are going to die out. I worked from home for 2.5 years and got cabin fever, so I don’t think it’s possible to do it all the time, but maybe one or two days a week. I don’t work normal hours - I probably sleep four or five hours a night. I don’t have much of a life.

17.  WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE OFFICE?

My brother. He’s incredibly handsome and makes me laugh all the time. I work with my family and it’s great having them around. My office is my grandfather’s old office and we get lunch cooked by our grandma every day. He was here for 40 years and when he passed away we inherited it.

18.  WHAT APP CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT?

My thumb is constantly attached to Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp.

19.  WHO IS YOUR BUSINESS IDOL?

Elon Musk is someone I really admire. He’s set up PayPal and Tesla and what he’s doing with SpaceX is incredible. The Hyperloop on the west coast of America is brilliant.

20.  IF YOU WERE PRIME MINSTER FOR THE DAY, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?

I’d introduce lessons for people of all ages about human behaviour, because I think a lot of the frustrations in every day life and the problems people face are down to a lack of communication and understanding why people act the way they act. I think it’d make the world a better place.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime