Jovon Brown Jr. fell in love with cooking when he was 15 years old and first helped his parents prepare a holiday dinner for the family. Fast forward to today, Brown uses cooking as a side hustle while attending culinary school full time.
Brown, 19, attends Kendall College in Chicago and spends his days perfecting his cooking skills so he can one day work in a restaurant, preferably one that serves seafood.
“Out of nowhere, I started cooking every day. I fell in love with it,” Brown said.
The DeKalb, Illinois resident created his own barbeque sauce and fulfills orders through email and his Instagram page. The business started last summer when he and his dad started the grill but were out of sauce.
“I went to make my own and I wanted to put some fruit in it to make it a little better,” he said. “And then we thought it was so good that we should start selling it, and so, here I am today.”
Each jar of pineapple or blackberry barbeque sauce is $5. Most of the orders are delivered and shipped to people who live in Illinois but some have been sent nationwide, including to Louisiana. He’s currently working on a website to expand his business.
Most of the orders are made and sent during the summer months because of cookouts, and the profits are saved for tuition. Brown said it’s perfect because the sales don’t interrupt his schoolwork during the semester.
“In the winter, I get all the materials stocked up, and then when the warmer weather comes around, I start sending out text messages to my friends and family so they can spread the word,” he said.
Making and selling barbeque sauce is just the beginning for him, and to any other student looking to create a side hustle to make extra cash, Brown said, “Just go for it.”
“If you have an idea that you think you wanna make some money off of, start doing it today,” he stressed. “You never know, it could take off. It might fail at first, but it will take off if you just put time and effort into it.”