Spice Of Life

I’m always on the lookout for smart ways to teach young people the life-changing lessons of financial education. A little while ago I learned about a father and son team who had got into the hot spices game – and the aftertaste was a solid understanding of how to earn a buck.

Whenever Peter Terrett went to the US he’d bring back lots of bottles of Slap Ya Mama! spices and sauces. Then one night over a curry at the dinner table, he had an idea. He decided to start up a business with his teenage son, Mason, to distribute the brand in Australia – with the aim of showing Mason how money works.

They called the business ‘4D Flavors’ and spent months researching the market and planning the business. Mason tells me “it can be hard because we’re father and son, but we’re also business partners – fifty-fifty”.
(Now to be totally transparent I will disclose that Peter sent me all their products to try, though I was hampered by the fact that my fiancée thinks BBQ sauce is ‘too spicy’.)

“Dad has taught me how to pitch our spices into stores”, says Mason. “I do get a lot of rejection, but I don’t take it personally.” I assured Mason that sort of attitude wouldn’t just help him in business; it would also make him bulletproof with girls.

Mason tells me he now notices different things when he’s shopping: “I see through the different marketing angles they’re using, and their pricing. And I take more time to look at their entire product range before I buy anything these days.”

And the hard work is paying off. Mason has devoted “like, thousands of hours” to the business, and they’re now selling around $1,000 a week to about 20 stores. While they’re reinvesting most of it back into the business, Mason has earned around $500 in the first year, which like all smart businesspeople he plans on investing in the share market.

Peter’s aim is for the business to grow to eventually pay for Mason’s education – though by the sounds of it he’s already getting a ripping real-world education that will last him a lifetime.