Entrepreneur, retail speaker, chef and reggae musician, Levi Roots transformed his jerk barbeque sauce business from a small enterprise operating at carnivals and shows into a national retail phenomenon in the space of a couple of months, all thanks to his appearance on the hit BBC show Dragon’s Den. One of the most charismatic and interesting retail speakers, Levi is an expert in creating a brand and image that sells to almost anyone.
Starting out as a reggae musician in Brixton, Levi performed with the like of James Brown and Maxi Priest, became nominated for a MOBO in 1998, as well as having the privilege of playing for Nelson Mandela during his visit to the area. It was only when his musically themed appearance on Dragon’s Den aired that Levi became a household name.
Reggae Reggae Sauce is a jerk barbeque sauce adopted from Roots’ grandmother’s family recipe. Before his big break, Levi would sell his concoction to anyone and everyone at the Notting Hill carnival, amassing 4000 sales in 2006. Even at this point, Levi had a savvy business knowledge and acumen that kept him ahead of the competition in the extremely busy carnival environment, something he can expand on during keynote speeches as a business speaker.
After appearing at a trade show with his flavoursome condiment, a BBC producer spotted him and proposed that he came on the show. After acquiring a £50,000 investment from Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh in return for 40% equity in his firm, Levi soon saw his Reggae Reggae Sauce in 600 of Sainsbury’s stores.
Since that decisive day, Levi has built a business empire worth £40 million and extended his product range to frozen ready meals, soft drinks and cookery books. Roots’ charismatic personality also led to him appearing regularly on television cookery shows alongside his own series Carribean Food Made EasyLevi Roots.