Scotch Boyz Year in Reviewed 2021
by Scotch Boyz
QVC’s The Big Find
QVC is a shopping network that aims to “deliver the joy of discovery through the power of relationships.” Each year, they run The Big Find, a search contest meant to introduce fresh, innovative brands to their customers.
“We applied to be part of The Big Find through a platform called Range Me,” says Scotch Boyz’s co-founder Drew Gray. “We knew about QVC from long before so we were very excited when we made it through the initial selection process and were notified that we would have a Skype interview. My co-founder, Matthew Wallace, and I did the interview, and it was challenging because our video kept freezing! But luckily we were selected by the judges.”
But it soon became clear that the challenges to being highlighted on QVC would extend beyond faulty technology. “It was definitely challenging to get our production run for the show,” says Drew. “Especially with COVID. The shipping from Jamaica to the fulfillment center in Miami took a bit longer than usual, but we were able to pull it off.”
While both Drew and Matthew participated in the initial interview, Drew was the one to go on-air to represent Scotch Boyz. “I’d never been on TV before, so I was nervous,” remembers Drew.
He was also worried that the internet would fail—a regular occurence in Jamaica—while he was on air. But luckily it aired without disturbance. “I was taken aback by all the positive feedback we received,” says Drew of the experience.
If you'd like to check it out, QVC is currently selling Scotch Boyz’ 5 oz. Authentic Jamaican Pepper Sauces in sets of four. Orderees will receive two Fish & Meat Sauces, two Jerk Sauces, and a recipe booklet filled with ideas for using them. “We developed the recipe book as a team,” says Drew, “and we were sure to include the crowd favorite, our signature Honey Scotchy Wings Sauce!” Click here to see Drew explaining the products on air.
Shea Moisture’s Trailblazers Fellowship Program
Less than .5% of Black-owned businesses make over $1M each year, the vast majority of these businesses don’t have any employees, and over half of them are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trailblazers Fellowship Program, sponsored by Shea Moisture Men, is an Atlanta-based venture that was created in 2021 to reverse these statistics.
“We applied for the Shea Moisture fellowship program through the Gathering Spot in Atlanta,” says Scotch Boyz co-founder Kemar Swaby-Strong. “The Gathering Spot is known for creating an innovative space for up-and-coming Black individuals. So they partnered with Shea Moisture to create a fellowship program to help Black men in business thrive.” This incubator program was specifically designed to help Black men because, with regard to its products, Shea Moisture generally skews to a female audience.
In October 2020, the program selected its first 25 up-and-coming small business owners—including Scotch Boyz. Kemar and his co-founder, Neil Hudson, flew to Atlanta to receive the fellowship, meet the other recipients, and spend a weekend learning from other founders.
“We wanted to meet and greet the folks behind the program and understand their perspective. It was super enlightening,” says Kemar, adding that Scotch Boyz had been hand-picked from a large and diverse applicant group. “When I spoke with one of the coordinators, they said, ‘We really saw a big potential in your brand. We knew if we didn't get you guys you would have continued on a very big journey. So we wanted to make sure you got in and we provided the resources.’”
Fellowship recipients are given a membership to the Gathering Spot, brand amplification, mentorship sessions, attendance at a speakership series, and a $1,000 financial grant. They are also matched with other young, Black innovators in Atlanta. “They paired us with another distributor, Greenwood Whiskey,” says Kemar, “so we would benefit from shared knowledge, those shared tips and tricks of how to improve our business. For me, personally, that was an enlightening experience—to see other individuals going out there and pushing the boundaries. It was kind of amazing to see that.”
The fellowship also helped Scotch Boyz create a business plan for giving back to their community and working with small, local businesses to create further opportunities. “They loved that idea,” says Kemar of their new mentors. “And they loved the history of the sauce and how we got together.”
Thank you to everyone who loves Scotch Boyz for your continued support over this past year. We’re excited to be moving forward with you and to see what the next year has in store for our brand!