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Monday, February 27, 2017

Two Cowboys: Local Production and Community Support with Dave's Hot Pepper Jelly in Invermere, British Columbia, Canada

Your Maker

(Learn: * Inspire: ** Amaze: ** Live: *****)
(The Two Cowboys - Subjective Rate-o-Meter.)

People start businesses for all kinds of reasons.

As idyllic as some may make it sound, starting a business and working for oneself is not for everyone. Some people are born entrepreneurs. Others are not cut out for it. There are a few lurking surprises that may easily trip up budding and aspiring entrepreneurs.

First of all, it requires a massive investment - money, many hours of hard work, dedication, commitment, innovation and patience. All of these need to be orchestrated and delicately balanced, coupled with an enormous amount of luck for success. Then sometimes there is the bitter realisation that one might not make a whole lot of money from a specific endeavour after all. It is this last part that some entrepreneurs find particularly difficult to navigate.

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Facing reality and having to change course regularly is not easy for most people. It is paramount for a successful entrepreneur. If you are an entrepreneur, it can cost you your livelihood if you are too stuck in a particular frame of mind. These people are the ones that push on against the odds with, for example, an unrealistic profit goal as the primary motive for their labour. Their return on effort becomes a huge disappointment and usually continues to be, the longer they persevere. The harder they try, the worse it can become. The more they persevere, the more costly it becomes financially and emotionally.

Money, and more accurately, profit should not be the reason for being in business. It removes the agility that should naturally come with entrepreneurship. When people with an overbearing money motive become entrepreneurs, it is often out of necessity. They may not succeed in finding employment or be in a place that doesn't offer other opportunities to earn or enough for their standard of living. They are likely to be hampered by a lack of passion for what they do and for what it takes to succeed.

Financial reward should be the result or outcome of a successful business with the right foundational values. If a company exists for the right reasons, then profit becomes a by-product of an entrepreneur's overall success.

What then are the right reasons for being in your own business?

Makers and Connectors

Some people have a desire to become involved in all aspects of a company's operation. We call them the pathological learners. They are the makers and creators. One position, one job, product, a single career is not enough to stimulate their curiosity. Having their own business give these entrepreneurs an opportunity to do and try a lot of different things.

Their primary motive for being in business is to learn, explore and experience. They find new and innovative ways to accomplish goals. They are the inventors, engineers, creators and experimenters. Their success heavily relies on their ability to gather a team around them to fill the gaps they leave. They move from one fascinating opportunity and project to the next.

Other people start businesses with the desire to put a personal touch back into doing business. People are motivated by meaning and purpose and the synergy it provides with others. They are the connectors and value creators. Having one's own business intimately involves the owner with staff and with customers. It offers a chance to connect with people and with a cause that may not have been possible otherwise. Sometimes the reason goes beyond the business operations and involves a larger community or purpose.

We often get feedback from entrepreneurs that their single biggest reward from their business is the recognition they get from others. They are motivated by the contribution and value they provide to the lives of others. This gives them a feeling of accomplishment. They feel that they are offering a valuable service to their customers, and they pride themselves on doing the best job possible. The best part of doing it as an entrepreneur is that they get to choose the people with whom they associate.

If a business is founded on innovative production and the value it provides to stakeholders such as community, customers and staff, then it is on a solid foundation. Revenue and profits will come because the entrepreneur will be equipped to navigate the complexity of the endeavour and make the changes that ultimately unlocks value, and ensures the business' success.

The business then has a higher purpose.


We met up Dave and Kathy from Dave's Hot Pepper Jelly in Invermere, British Columbia, to learn about the foundations of their jelly business. Kathy and Dave is one of the first sponsors of the work we do to promote local producers. It is about time we tell their inspiring story.

The company was motivated by Dave's love of hot and zesty foods. After trying a flavoured Jalapeno jelly, Dave thought he could do better and began experimenting with his own flavours. He started cooking up batches of Jalapeno jelly more than 20 years ago. Originally, Dave would give it away to his friends and acquaintances. After giving away several hundred jars, he realised there was probably a market for his creation. He set up his first outlet with the Invermere Farmers' Market.

When he met his wife Kathy, who was also a devotee of all things spicy, they decided to turn their collective passion for hot foods into a family business. The result is the ten flavours of Dave's Hot Pepper Jelly, many markets and lots of travel later, several retail speciality stores and supermarkets stocking the treat.

The next chapter in this business is still to be written. We have a feeling it has the potential to make a significant social and community contribution in the Invermere area. It may be the catalyst to inspire more makers to start businesses possibly with social value. This business is not just about jelly. It can be a whole lot more. When we listen to Kathy's passion, we are betting it will be.

We have two favourite applications, other than the obvious uses for Dave's Hot Pepper Jelly. The one is with fried Camembert cheese. Put the Camembert (or Brie) in a pan. Top it with your desired flavour from Dave's jelly and watch the cheese melt and the jelly caramelise. Eat with toast or on a South American arepa. Delicious!

The second application may be more traditional. We've put it on barbequed salmon while cooking on the grill with a little herb D'Provence, salt and a lot of lemon juice. It introduced spicy sweetness with a definite bite and cuts through the fattiness of the fish. Highly recommended!

Dave and Kathy have been supporters of our cause from the start, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for valuing the work we do. We hope we can return the favour manyfold as we encounter them on our travels through Alberta, BC and beyond. We encourage you to support them and their business.

Hendrik van Wyk
Hot (Pepper) Cowboy

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