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Spicing up weekends for stags, hens and corporate firms

Bringing together suppliers such as five-star hotels and remote farmers is a tough task for events business Chillisauce, which is why founder and CEO James Baddiley is investing in technology and digital tools to make the process smoother and customer experience more memorable.
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Stag and hen parties are now firmly part of pre-wedding celebrations and with the number of people getting married on the increase according to the ONS, the number of Brits planning stag and hen parties is likewise to grow – something events form Chillisauce looks set to capitalise on.

While Chillisauce started life in a bedroom, it quickly grew into an empire – one set to hit the £20m turnover mark in 2016. Inspiration struck founder James Baddiley during the time when the internet boom was reaching its peak, having previously said in an interview with Real Business: “It was apparent that revolutions like this didn’t come along very often and I was determined to find an opportunity.”

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After deciding to sell events, Baddiley went about choosing a wide range of unique and interesting activities and experiences, taught himself how to write front and back end code and launched a website for his company a year later.

Now, in large part due to the organisation’s team building events having gone from strength to strength, as well as an increase in overseas activity, the team is convinced that via the combination of renewed marketing and product development strategies it will conquer the events space once and for all.

And it will take some nifty technology to make those strategies happen, with it’s recent investment in digital being the original reason why the firm had been selected as one of 30 Digital Champions by Microsoft and Real Business.

But it hasn’t always been easy. “When a business is growing fast, scaling it can be challenging,” Baddiley explained. “Like many businesses, IT has at times been challenging for us. Building complex systems that continue to disrupt the market has meant it’s taken us a while to learn what works and what doesn’t.

“Over time, we’ve learned to always put someone core from the business into any key projects to guarantee it’s a success rather than rely solely on external experts that don’t understand our business and market as well.”

Check out the video below to further view how a digital approach has been a real boost to the business – and the challenges it faces along the way.

Baddiley’s valuable insights are also part of a wider digital guide, produced in partnership with Microsoft, which features the inspiring stories of four other companies embracing digital to grow. Don’t miss out on their interesting thoughts – visit the guide here.

Follow the Chillisauce journey further by reading our digital guide – with other inspiring stories

Access the full Microsoft 30 Digital Champions guide here

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About Author

Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

Real Business