Local self-employed couple John and Liz Newton

The awesome sauce of self-employment

For local couple Liz and John Newton, self employment has been their way of life.

For local couple Liz and John Newton, self employment has been their way of life.

Dealing antiques, freelance journalism, and most recently, their own line of hot sauce.

“You have to find a niche area, and then pluck it and you can’t be afraid to talk to people,” John said.

“You have to lift through the ups and downs,” Liz said.

“You have to work hard,” John added.

Although John still works a bit as a freelance reporter, he’s slowed down lately due to health reasons.

Now, their mainstay is Awesome Sauce; a unique hot sauce they’ve been working on for the past few months.

“We started off at markets in Victoria, and from there we went ant it became quite popular very quickly,” John said.

They’ve since expanded to sell their product at Lake Cowichan’s Hans’ Butcher Shop, and plan on expanding even further in the near future, Island-wide with a new distributor.

This is in part thanks to the hot sauce’s catchy name; a name John and Liz got from their daughter, unbeknownst to them already a popular phrase.

Also helping their product is a cute logo, with the family’s two cats Lola and Max featured. This has helped attract more tourists to their product.

“We’ve just been jacks of all trades all our lives, so this isn’t  too big a change,” Liz said, of the Awesome Sauce.

With the Awesome Sauce has come some unique challenges.

“It’s hard to grow from this stage when you’re selling to smaller stores and going into the large supermarkets,” Liz said.

Although the large supermarkets claim to sell local products, it’s financially difficult for smaller businesses to get their product into them.

There are advertising costs, distribution costs (they typically don’t want individual business owners coming in and out of the store with product) and in some cases payment for shelf space.

“You have to be prepared to wait, and to take the kicks as they coming along,” Liz said.

“Plus, you have to have something that is good.”

Recognizing the importance of supporting local business, the couple use as many local ingredients as possible, including peppers from Chemainus.

The couple hopes to keep expanding their business, and remaining self-employed.

It’s hard work, they say, but well worth it when taking into account the freedoms that come with it.

“I’ve always wanted to be free, and I am,” John said.

Just Posted

Roller derby returns to Fuller Lake Arena

Brass Knuckle Derby Dames in action Saturday

It’s time for a Spring Fling with the Cowichan Lake and District Chamber

Fun and fundraising is the name of the game at this annual event

Rayners prepare to bury Darreld, move forward after a decade of pain

Even though they’ll never know for sure what killed him, they know what didn’t, son says

49ers ready to host Vancouver’s Westside

Cowichan hoping to add B.C. title to league banner and Tony Grover Cup

VIDEO: B.C. man recognized for spinning basketball on toothbrush

Abbotsford man holds world record for longest duration of time of 60.5 seconds

Take the opportunity for some toad talk in Duncan Thursday

Cowichan Watershed Board is welcomes Elke Wind

Former Social Credit MLA dies at 88

Lyall Hanson was mayor of Vernon in 1981 and moved to provincial politics from 1986-96

WATCH: Officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

Police searching for escaped prisoner in B.C.

Ralph Whitfield Morris, 83, is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder

B.C. set to introduce pot laws, but years of fine tuning likely: minister

Legislation regulating recreational marijuana is expected to be introduced Thursday

Arrests made after truck crashes into unmarked police cars in Nanaimo

Two men facing numerous charges after allegedly fleeing scene on the mid-island

Canadian driver uses lawn chair as driver’s seat, gets caught

Ontario police detachment caught the male driver during a traffic stop

B.C. moves to restrict pill presses in opioid battle

Minister Mike Farnworth says federal law doesn’t go far enough

Most Read