Spicing Things Up with Sriracha Box

Chandler TannerWorking as an attorney at one of the oldest firms in New York City, Chandler Tanner finally understood what the classic rock band Loverboy meant when they sang “Working for the Weekend.”

In the City that Never Sleeps, Tanner found a work culture that constantly awaited Friday’s gateway to the weekend—and dreaded Monday’s return to the office. “I didn’t like to see that,” remembers the 2009 BYU business management grad. “I worked too hard in school to not enjoy the day-to-day.”

Tanner, who had graduated from Harvard Law School, liked practicing private equity and hedge fund law. But he felt an entrepreneurial itch. And it was in a spicy hot sauce—the kind packaged in a green-capped bottle emblazoned with a rooster—that he and business partner Brady Mower found a new venture to transform Monday.

Sriracha, the pepper-and-garlic Thai sauce that inspired a cult following, first pinged Tanner’s radar when he tasted it on a spicy sandwich. He soon spotted the red bottles lining grocery shelves and spicing up new dishes at chain restaurants, while fans cheered on social media.

Tanner returned to Provo where he and Mower, a friend from the Marriott School and a 2010 marketing alum, hatched a business plan: they combined the popularity of the rooster sauce with the trendiness of subscription boxes to create Sriracha Box, a gift package of spicy novelty products, like Sriracha-flavored jerky, popcorn, or a Sriracha cookbook.

“The wide breadth of ‘Sriracha goodness,’ as we call it, is tough to come by,” Tanner says. “Your store might have Sriracha chips, but you’re missing out on all kinds of other Sriracha-flavored goodies.” Sriarcha Box researches and gathers these products, putting them in the hands of the sauce’s biggest fans.

The first batch of boxes shipped in May 2015. “Our initial launch was well received,” Tanner says. “People were active on our social media accounts, tagging friends and commenting. It was great validation.”

The service has since been featured in several online media outlets, including a  Real Simple list of Father’s Day gift ideas and Product Hunt. The attention—and rabid Sriracha fervor—has orders climbing.

Mower and Tanner’s aspirations don’t end with sauce. They have a few other ventures up their sleeves, including an aerial drone photography retail business and more small subscription services.

Tanner and his wife, Tiffany, make sure to take their two young sons, whom they are raising as true-blue Cougar fans, to as many cultural events as they can find in Provo. And as an entrepreneur, with several exciting projects to juggle and more time to work from home—his two-year-old just learned how to say Sriracha—Tanner is happy to report that waking up on Monday is now a joy.  

“We are just working as much as we can to succeed in our ventures,” Tanner says. “If you can’t tell, I love business.”