Levi Roots

Levi Roots

From issue 8, Autumn 2010

The musician, chef and Dragons’ Den winner talks about two very inspirational women and how they taught him the value of money…

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Simply put, I met some Dragons and made some sauce! Two women have been my inspiration in life. I got my inspiration for food from my grandmother, who I spent my first years with in Jamaica, and from the age of eight I lived with my mother in England and learnt her style. Music is important to me, but three years ago I decided I wanted to get out of music and do something different. I decided to blend my love of music and food together with Reggae Reggae sauce, so I went on Dragons’ Den and the rest is history!

Is Reggae Reggae sauce inspired by Jamaica?

No – it’s not got the typical Jamaican flavours and it’s not as hot, so it has a broader appeal for people everywhere. Its creation has a lot to do with the Notting Hill Carnival where I first sold it.

Are you careful with your cash?

I grew up in the Caribbean and back then we used to save money in a tin under the mattress. It was difficult. Today most people keep their cash in the bank, but back then the temptation was to just dip into it. So I had to develop a good attitude towards saving money. My grandmother was a great saver and she’d always save for a purpose, and never touch the money unless she reached her target. It would be great to see how happy she was when she finally did. So I grew up learning to be careful with money. I never had much so I learnt to respect what I got, but at the same time to always save towards a purpose rather than just putting it away for a rainy day.

You’ve written a book based on your experiences…

Yes, I’m really excited about it! I’ve learnt so much about being an entrepreneur so it’s my advice and tips on how to take your idea and develop it into a successful business. It’s about how someone like me with my background managed to build a business – a how to do it the Levi Roots way!

You do lots of talks with young people as well, sharing your experiences. Tell us a bit about them…

I do and it’s a great way to meet the young people who buy my sauces and visit my Facebook page – it’s good to chat face to face with them. I love going into schools – it’s where the next generation of Levi Roots’ will be found. They need role models, as that’s the only way they will listen and identify with what you are doing, and hopefully they can identify with me and take on board some of the advice I have to offer.

What advice would you give about budgeting?

You have to be careful but as well as that try and save towards targets – have a purpose. These days we buy things because we want them, not because we need them, so try and think about how hard you’ve saved or worked towards getting your money, and think carefully about what you then spend it on.