Some might think sharing the same surname as a well-known “hooky” TV businessman could prove a stumbling block when starting up a new venture – but one man has embraced the challenge.
Byam Trotter (24), of Upper Largo, launched Trotter’s Independent Condiments in November 2009 and, unlike ‘Only Fools And Horses’ namesake Del Boy, he has made a real success of it.
The surname and the cheeky tweaking of the ‘Trotter’s Independent Traders’ name, however, really are where Byam and Del Boy’s similarities end.
Instead of flogging everything to anyone down the market, Byam is making a living selling a mixture of unique dips, sauces and pestos to a more refined clientele at farmers’ markets and other outlets across the UK.
So successful is he that Byam has now moved out of his mum’s kitchen to sign a five-year lease and convert a former chip shop into an industrial kitchen, known as the ‘condiment factory’, on Methil High Street.
Byam said: “The idea of doing condiments came from my parents who had discovered one (called Mostarda) in Italy which they couldn’t find back in Britain, so I realised there was a niche there and that’s how it started, just cooking from my parents’ kitchen and selling to local farm shops and dairies.
“I had finished university, where I graduated in event management, but was finding it very hard to get a job – though I maybe wasn’t looking that hard, to be honest – so I thought that was the time to become self-employed, as it is what I had always wanted to be.
“I had a very good response at first and realised I could make a business out of it.”
Although not from a food background himself, Byam has had plenty of support from both his mum and dad, who are very much ‘foodies’.
His mum attended catering college and his dad Christopher is a well-known chef and appeared in the Mail last year, publicising his ambitious plan to create a vineyard in Largo.
Although Trotter’s Independent Condiments is Byam’s own adventure, he admits seeking their advice and expertise.
He continued: “They have never said this is what I should do but they’ve been a huge help. Mum does all my photos for the website, and graphics and branding, and dad has helped me a lot with recipes by tasting them and advising me.
“The market in Britain for condiments is pretty fierce, so I’m doing stuff that no one else makes and working with ingredients that are unusual. Just trying to keep things different to stand out.”
Byam has now expanded his range to include other condiments such as Mojito Jelly, a wild garlic pesto foraged from Fife, a raw fresh tasting chutney and a hot jelly, which uses Scotch bonnet peppers.
He added: “At the moment, I’m selling to farm shops and dairies from Nottingham up to the Shetland Isles.
“Supermarkets would be nice in the long run but not with the current brand, as I think they are looking for different things, unless it was a Waitrose or M&S, which would be brilliant.
“I’ve just written a five-year business plan. Basically I am just trying to build up the production and build up sales so I can hopefully have enough to convince a lender, whether it be a bank or private lender, to give me money to build my own purpose kitchen.”
This time next year, he could be a millionaire.