A PERTH mum is raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from a smash hit product that she says Coles and Woolies will never stock.
The reason? It's called S*** the Bed. Former TV journalist Renae Bunster started making hot sauce for friends a few years ago, but it became a full-time job after a crowd-funding campaign to kickstart the business in 2015 raised $250,000 off a target of $65,000.
The 39-year-old said the success of the campaign was due to the colourful name of her flagship product, which "went viral" online. After securing a US Food and Drug Administration import approval last year, the company was able to send its first shipping container to the US.
"We've had massive demand from America," she said. "It's in the top products on Amazon, we've just exported 40,000 bottles. Every year our turnover has tripled. This year we'd love to get to $1 million but we're definitely going to get to $700,000, now Amazon's on board."
Her company, Bunsters Hot Sauce, has three products of differing intensity, with S*** The Bed rated "12/10 Mega Heat". "I'd been making regular hot sauce, and fans said to make one really hot," she said.
"I thought, no one's going to eat this, I'm going to give it the funniest name. A photo of it went viral back in 2014, we ran a crowd-funding campaign and raised $250,000 from the UK, America and Australia."
She said most hot sauces were created by men and marketed towards men - with names like "Satan's this" and "Death's that" - and she wanted her sauce to be "funny, not scary or religious".
Ms Bunster said it was also "massively popular" in Australia. "We're going into IGAs and butchers. The reason they love it is because they know it will never end up heavily discounted on the shelves of Coles and Woolies, because they will never stock a product called S*** the Bed."
The standard bottle retails for $18 and the black label is $30 a bottle. "It's actually quite an expensive sauce," she said. "We've built in really high margins so we can extensively advertise on Facebook. That's our biggest overhead.
"It's quite profitable for me, because we're going after the luxury market. We are the Moet of hot sauces - we got the bottle made in the shape of a Dom Perignon champagne bottle. If I was competing with other people making the sauce for six bucks [we wouldn't survive]."
Bunsters makes its sauce at a factory in Melbourne and now has a distribution centre in Los Angeles. Ms Bunster estimates she has sold around 50,000 bottles since launch.
"We make 18,000 bottles at a time and we cook several times a year," she said. "We've sold 20,000 bottles since October. Now Amazon is ratcheting up, every day there's more and more sales."
And unlike the major retailers, Ms Bunster is optimistic about Amazon's impending arrival in Australia. "It's going to be a massive boost for small, boutique producers who only have access to local markets," she said.
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