How to get into 500 retail stores before launch with Caleño’s Founder Ellie Webb
Updated: Jun 26
Today we’re learning from Ellie Webb who is the founder of a non alc company called Caleño. She is the only solo female founder in the No & Low drinks category in the UK, having launched her tropical non-alcoholic spirits brand, 3 and a half years ago.
This is a really inspiring story. Ellie’s launch plan totally flipped on its head when she got an unexpected call from Sainbury’s - which is the biggest supermarket chain in the uk - and ultimately launched nationwide into 500 stores. We talk through how she had to pivot to raise capital, her most exciting marketing moments to date and her crazy moment on Emily in Paris.
Now, just quickly if you’re a hype girl for Female Startup Club we’re gearing up for our next launch and we’d love for you to be the first to know about it! Go to femalestartupclub.com/waitlist to join other women who are part of FSC and keep in the loop.
This is Ellie for Female Startup Club.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
My name is Elie and I started a brand called Neo. I launched it almost four years ago now such as right of four years and I used to work in the drinks industry and then you discovered this world of non alcoholic drinks or not. It didn't really exist at the time and felt like there was definitely a space for it. So I've been running this business for about four years. I've done every job. Pretty much. I've worn different hats in the business. But I've always been known as the founder. I started on my own now have a team around me, which is amazing. So cool. It's interesting that, you know, four years ago, like you said, it was kind of not really a well known category. You were really on the cusp of this. What's now a booming trend or not even a trend, but a booming category. So I can only imagine that back then. It must have taken a lot more education in the market and a lot more persistence to kind of get this thing out there and to gain such, you know, enormously enormous traction that you have. Where do you like to start your story? What's the light bulb that kind of went off for you that got you thinking about building colonial. Yeah. So a lot of people funny enough asked me this. Um and for me it was actually went back around five years ago. I used to work, I still work for the drinks industry, but very much on the alcohol side. I was working for a drinks distributor at the time who sold predominantly alcohol to pubs, bars and restaurants all over the UK. And I worked in their, in their marketing team. And I think working in a booz and company, you just, you just end up drinking a lot basically because all the social events will evolve around drinking. I mean it's fascinating because you do, I learned so much about, about that world and you know, the nuances of spirits. I did training on wine and spirits and I found it fascinating you get to meet Some of the people that create these products. But back in 2017, start 2017 I think, you know, I had quite boozy christmas, I was getting towards my thirties, late twenties at the time and thinking I just can't, I can't deal with it anymore. I can't deal with the hangovers. I can't deal with like the next day anxiety and I really just felt like coming into the new year. I wanted to take a bit of a break, which is difficult right when you work for an alcohol company, but I decided to do a little challenge called dry january. And I was quite adamant that I didn't want this to change my habits, like not go out socializing with my friends just because I wasn't drinking. So I still went out met my friends and I can remember one night in in bristol city in the U. K. Where I lived being out with my friends. It was a fun night, it was a music night, went to see a live band, they were at the bar ordering they weren't taking part in january just me so much for solidarity and they were at the bar ordering gin, tonics, cocktails. Um and I was stuck there with a kind of diet coke and then I think I ordered another one and then after that I was I really don't want to drink this all night anymore, I didn't, I didn't know what what to order and it was like that moment when you go to the bar and you panic and you're like well I don't want any any of that sugary stuff or the stuff that gives order like day two os and squashes. So I was kind of stuck and throughout the month I kept having very similar experiences just coming up against it whenever I went to order a drink um I would normally end up drinking something, I didn't want to just because I felt like I was being punished just because I didn't want to drink alcohol. Um These were my options. So I kind of got thinking about that and and how the drinks industry is so innovative, one of the most exciting industries in my opinion to be in. Yet they got it really wrong when it came to to non alcoholic drinks and people didn't want to drink and as far as I could see me and my kind of late twenties actually wanted to cut back maybe start to live a little bit of a healthier lifestyle. Um and the more and more people I spoke to, they agreed with me and so this kind of sparked the idea which then eventually led to colonial but this idea of why aren't there better options available? Why are we still still drinking coke squash J 20. elderflower cordial is like why why is this still happening? And what I really wanted were these grown up flavor some well made drinks, whether it's cocktails or spirit of the mixer which was, which is what I tended to drink. What I really wanted was that taste and flavor profile just without the alcohol and that's, that's kind of what sparked the idea and and got me thinking about it and and researching and looking into space a bit more because I just couldn't, I couldn't understand why there wasn't more available. Have you always seen yourself as someone who wanted to start a business, Were you wanting to be an entrepreneur or had you kind of just come across this realization lightbulb moment and decided like hey maybe I could be the person to start this thing I think I think like everyone, you know when people, you know you would say oh wouldn't it be nice to start a business and then you know it never ends up being anything or you think I've not come up, I've not come up with the right idea yet. I definitely was in a space where I was looking for what's next, I wanted to progress in my career today I'd followed like quite a linear path I always progressed, I think I've had about four different positions in the company. I was in in like a relatively short space of time, so I was always looking to progress and I was kind of looking for the next thing and it didn't feel like the next thing was was in that company, I really wanted to grow a brand and go out there and say I've done this, but I kind of looked at brand manager roles and you know brands that existed and I kept getting knock backs, I kept getting told no you don't have experience because the work I did was very B two B. As opposed to B. C. So I kept getting told when I would go for interviews with beer companies within the drinks industry because I loved the space I got told um you know I always got beaten by by someone who had more experience in that area and so I think I just ended up getting quite frustrated and and kind of saying to myself, if no one will give me a job, then I'm gonna just go out and create my own role for myself, which is what ended up doing. So, yeah, I think I fell into it because of really from necessity and frustration in my situation of wanting to to do something and grow something and having said, I've done it, but not being given the opportunity, so, kind of took that narrative and and took control of it if, if you know what I mean, and launching a business, felt like the best solution, absolutely best experience you can get for sure, 100% 100%. I wish I'd done it earlier, me too in those early days of kind of having the idea and coming up with the concept, you know, for me, when I look back at my journey going through the non L quiNINE, which is such a complicated process, the R and D was just, it was just madness for you in those early days. What was the R and D part of this story? And what was the process for you coming up with a formula and kind of developing your first product? Yeah, good question. So it started with me going to the internet, as I said, like, I did have a bit of training in spirits, I've done um what's called the Wct, which is your spirits and, and one training. So I understood how the process of how they were made and I kind of thought, okay, well I just need to apply that to um what I'm trying to do, but just not be left with a flavored alcohol at the end of it, which ended up proving harder than I thought. I mean I went online, I bought different botanicals that I knew about that I thought would would be great as ingredients and, and I tried to distill the flavor from them from just in my kitchen at home, like heating them, um, putting small amounts of alcohol to try and extract the flavor. And I think I, I spent, I spent about a month or two doing this and going back and forth and then, and then I just hit a wall and I was like, I just don't have, I don't have the, the expertise needed to move this forward. I felt stuck. So I ended up finding someone on linkedin of all places. Um She was a beverage development specialist who actually lived close to me and so I contacted her and told her what I was looking to do and she was like, look, this hasn't been done before. She didn't, she didn't say, yeah, absolutely, I can do this, she was like, we can figure this out together, how we do this, you know, me know, having a good idea of what I wanted to blend to taste like in the different distillates and ingredients to include, but not really knowing how to get there. And also I didn't just want this to be a kitchen product, I want, I knew I wanted, I knew this could be big, I could see the potential to really change the drinks industry and and how we thought about not drinking, so I always wanted this to be big, so knowing that from the beginning meant I needed to get someone with expertise in this area, creating a safe non alcoholic drink that would be safe for people to consume, but also get the flavors coming through so that people don't just drink it and go, this is squash or this doesn't taste of anything or the flavors just get lost. It was really important to me that it was going to be a great tasting product, so that process basically took um a year and a half, more or less, I was still in my job at this point, so any time I, I could, I would meet up with this person and we basically um speak to different companies, all the different distillates and start blending and you can go really specific on provenance of ingredients and where they come from and the type, like, you know, one flavor of pineapple can be super different to, to another same with coconut, you can kind of get toasted flavors and, and so it was a lot of experimentation and a lot of going back and forth and a lot of talking to bartenders and literally going into restaurants and bars with my bottles and getting feedback and then going back and, and iterating and were you thinking of this as kind of like going down the retail distribution pathway from the get go or were you thinking about this business as a ddc or you know, kind of starting small locally at farmers markets and things like that and kind of selling directly through your own website. I think with the big business, I've always thought big, I've always, from the very beginning, I wanted this to be a global, global business because like I'm not, I probably not over like over egging it when I say there just really wasn't much available and I could see the potential, I didn't jump straight to retail. I thought potentially we're a bit early for that. I thought about bars and restaurants, so actually seeding the idea with those guys and getting using them to get feedback. Um, and really see the product with consumers and then also did see, so that's actually where I, I launched festival was, was online with my own website. First version friend created for me, a second version was like, I think I paid like £5000 for a guy to kind of build all for me and then, you know, you go from better versions, but it was definitely due to see first and get get consumers buying the product. And then and then build it out from there. But it didn't quite didn't quite go um The plan that ended up happening wasn't quite the plan that I first what's the plan that ended up happening versus the plan you thought? So the plan that ended up happening was I've met I've met someone about six months prior to launching. I'd gone along to Festival drinks festival called the Mindful Drinking Festival um run by guys called Club Saudi. He may have heard of your kind of non alcoholic wine experimentation days but they're basically big champions for people in the industry and you know really pushing consumers to try his products. So I went along with 20 bottles I've made at home just to get feedback from people. And there I met someone from Sainsbury's uh you know retailer in the U. K. And he said to me he really liked the product. He was obviously there scouting for different drinks and looking at this category as kind of an emerging space. Said he really liked the product and we'll be in touch on monday and I was so skeptical. I was like retailers don't just walk up to you and that's amazing. But he did he got in contact and at that point had 20 bottles. I was still kind of blending in my kitchen. And this is pre launch right this is totally prelaunch. Prelaunch prelaunch and then as the months progressed I was getting closer and closer to doing my first run of 1000 bottles And he gets in contact, this is close to Christmas now and he said look the buyer is looking at this category and she wants to start stocking nonalcoholic options in store. Why don't you send in a few bottles? So I did and I hear back and basically cut the story short. They want to put you in 500 of their stores nationwide by unexpected expecting that. That's the dream. Oh my gosh that's a whole other logistical supply chain. Oh my gosh okay I want to get into that. I have a few more questions before we even get to what that means and how that changes the course of your you know the next phase of your launch I guess. How are you thinking about the money piece of the puzzle? Obviously it can be expensive when it comes to R. And D. Consultants working with people in that space then producing the M. O. Q. S. Um the bottles, the bottling and kind of you know the website and getting everything ready to launch. So I'd love to talk about the money piece of the puzzle, how much capital you needed to get started and how you were thinking about the money piece and how you were going to kind of build a business. Yeah so I think the original thought, I mean I had the idea in 2017, worked on it for about a year and a half and during that time I was still working so I needed to find a way, to I knew that was holding me back. I was getting up early in the morning at five, working my business, going to work, coming back, working on this idea, but I knew I needed more time in order to kind of make it work, so I need to go full time, had a mortgage, you know, had financial commitments, so I couldn't do that without, without a bit of cash and I had my own money that was put into the business, I think in total, I put it like in total around 10 £10,000 is what got me um, to a liquid to kind of a prototype product, I was pretty fortunate on the branding side somewhere that had interned like a great agency in London where it in turn, a few years before offered to do the work, the branding work pro boner, which was a massive, like a massive stroke of luck for me because that would have been a big chunk of my budget. So I was really scrappy in the beginning, but with about 10 grand, I managed to do what I needed to get the, like the whole business to a place where I could put it in front of investors and then, you know, when I was speaking to say, because I quickly realized I'm gonna need, I'm gonna need cash to find a large production, The marketing spend that inevitably comes with launching with a large retailer and also some people, I was a solo founder so I didn't have anyone working with me at the time. So it started with them, you know, a small amount of money, you know, less than 10,000 and then, I um, my first round of investment was a quarter of a million to basically the runway being like 12 months to kind of idea to last me for help me bring in a few staff on the operations and marketing side and sales to fund that first round of production and any marketing spend and also help me market the product and get out there because food and drink is so competitive. You do need to mark, get the product to get out there and, and doing sampling and events. Like I spent my first few months just running around with a bar or driving around with a bar in my car and then just kind of trying to get the product out there. So that, that's kind of what the first bit of money look like. If you're an e commerce brand owner, you've probably thought about whether your product suits being subscription based, Maybe you've got a beverage brand or a beauty product that has a high repeat purchase rate, join fast growing, Shopify brands like athletic greens and rise coffee that are growing their commerce subscription and retention businesses on up scribe scribe gives you the out of the box tools that you need to build, grow or scale your Shopify subscription and retention business deploy a beautiful customer experience in minutes that treats subscribers like royalty and drives brand loyalty. Additionally, scribes knew reorder product makes it frictionless to capture reorders in a single click to help you increase your business's profitability and customer lifetime value, give your e commerce business the charge that it needs today by visiting up scribe dot iO slash female startup club to learn more. And you'll also receive your first month free. That's up Scribd dot io forward slash female startup club When you went through that raise. You know, we've heard horror stories of people, you know, having 200 meetings before they get their first. Yes. And it's very difficult. It can be very difficult in the beginning, but hearing your story and knowing that you had that, you know, p. o from Sainsbury's of 500 stores. Did that make the experience a little easier to go out and raise by having that kind of traction that you could show as as proof or was it still the hard slog? It's still a hard, still a hard slog and it's still a lot of preparation. You still have to build up the plan. You still have to show that you thought 12 months ahead. You know, you have a vision for where the company is going and, and you thought about, I think the hardest part is for me was that I've never done any of that stuff before, so I was learning and then having to do it and so it was stuff that didn't come naturally to me, so it probably just took longer. I had to ask a lot more questions, but definitely, I think having, having commitment from a national retailer saying that, you know, they want to stop your product really helps when it comes to investment. So, and it's really clear how being really clear on how the money is going to be spent, but I think I would say that going in as a solo female entrepreneur on my own with zero experience and business definitely out of time stood against me. I think there were, there were a few questions raised around my age and you know, you know, would I be able to do this? And I think I didn't really, this was my first experience, like to that point, I had not really thought about going into business solo on my own and not really thought about the fact I was female and it's only really when you start to experience investment boards and um, you know, people in the space and going out to pitch that you start to realize this is quite unusual um or was at the time and we're talking, you know, for four or five years ago now. Um, fortunately it is changing maybe not quick enough, but at the time it was, it was quite unusual to see a young girl on her own pitching for quite a large amount of money with no experience. Gosh. And so there was a lot of belief. Gosh, isn't it so bizarre, So bizarre. Obviously that it seems like it's slowly starting to shift even though the statistics are so, you know, low still about the amount of funding that goes to female founders, but hopefully it is trending in the right direction and as we know, there are so many more female founded businesses coming out, but still it's such, it's so cringe hearing those questions that you get asked around gender and can you do this? And it doesn't seem like it would happen if you're a guy to be asked. Those kinds of. Yeah, I think generally it just feels like, yeah, generally just feels like women have to prove themselves more. I definitely felt like I had to prove myself. That was the underlying feeling like, yeah, when you were going through that process, you mentioned, you know, obviously you didn't really know what you were doing, you were just figuring it out by learning as you go. Were there any kind of resources or courses or grants or things that you were turning to that other founders might be able to look to as go to resources. Yeah, absolutely. I looked for local grants, I looked for local resources or just national ones as well. And I got some of them too. I think we, you know, we're really lucky, well particularly the U. K. That there are people available and companies availing to kind of encourage entrepreneurship and help you. I went along to workshops to understand more about business and financials, which I wasn't particularly strong in. It wasn't like my my strong suit, but suddenly I was in a position where I had to understand a profit and loss balance sheet and I didn't know how to. So I just took advantage of as much as I could and spoke to people that were further along the journey than me. I think that can really help and and later down the line, I think being part of communities, you know, you communities, you've got people that are super early on in the stage and people that are later on, So now where I am, I'm, you know, four years into running my business. I can offer help to people that are just the start. Um So I definitely went on that a little bit more and I think, you know, just ask people, the worst they can say is no, I don't have time, I don't want to, but generally I find people want to help if they can, but just keep an eye out for for any free resources because you just don't know what a difference it could potentially make. And whenever I got grant money like great I can put that towards this bit of marketing or use that to do some more R. And D. On products so it can make a real difference. Yeah, absolutely. Gosh, very cool. I want to dig more into now. Kind of the launch period. Especially that first year in business where you've obviously launched into 500 stores, you are going all ham in marketing. I'd love to understand what you were doing around the launch, what was working and kind of what your focus was to You know get your first customers through d. two c.
and kind of I mean this is so many part question but also to make sure that your marketing was working for Sainsbury's as well. Yeah, I think in the beginning because you know resource was super tight. So when I launched for about 34 months I was on my own. So everything I was doing, I had to manage myself effectively. So I think for my marketing it meant just being quite laser focus in what I was doing and not trying to do at all. So it meant not having lots of different social media accounts. It meant like not trying to do loads and loads of festivals and events that can afford it. And B I was just one person. So I tried to be quite laser focused on what I was doing. So three things I did. One was collaborations. So it was speaking to other brands that had bigger followings me and had like, you know, solid customer base that we're in the kind of same health wellness space where I thought colonialism, non alcoholic spirit would appeal to people, but also felt in keeping with the brand. So, I teamed up with healthy chris brand called Emily's vegetable crisps. Um oh there was a kind of a soda drink can company that had like a tropical soda that I linked up with the served. Um I went down to Pineapple Studios because I really wanted the brand to be about dancing and fun and and the experience supposed to just like the drinking and there was this problem I found that when you talked about not drinking, people just assume that you're going to be really dull and boring and not be able to have fun out. So I kind of purposely chose brands that were like clean your quite vibrant, quite colorful, quite out there and collaborated with them. Um In what way, what kind of collaboration? So we would run social conditions. So basically to boost the colonials following and then offer prizes at the end of it. So that was one way um Giveaways, you know, that kind of thing. So that that worked really well because at the time I didn't have I didn't really have anyone following me, no one knew about the brand. I needed to get the word out there because I was going into 500 stores. So that was kind of the first way to do it. The other way was I reached out to influences. So probably people at the time was back in 2019 with maybe anywhere between, you know, a few 1000 to 2030 50,000 followers. And again, the only card I had to play was that it was dry january and I knew that a lot of people be taking part in dry january. This is when I launched. So I messaged a load of people and said, look, I'm launching this, this new brand and basically offered to send them out some bottles and if they liked about it then please feel free to post. So, again, that was like leveraging their followings and people that they would post you that might be interested in in the space and and might be taking part in dry january. So, again, that was another way of, Of getting the word out. And the third one was just sampling was getting people to try the products, the bottles are £18 a bottle. So they're not, it's not like buying a chocolate bar for a couple of pounds or a bag of crisps, your parting with a bit more cash. So, a lot of the time people want to try something before, before they buy it at that price point. So, I was going into Sainsbury's stores and doing samplings at the front of store. I got like a lot of really skeptical people like what's the point? But you know, why would I not want to drink alcohol and talk to them? And actually it was funny seeing the turnaround and people that were really skeptical would then end up leaving with a bottle actually really interested. That was quite fun. Yeah. And just going, just driving around to different markets and places in London, just trying to get the word out. So january was a big month for me because I knew that that was when a lot of people would be taking part in the challenge or you know, just trying to take a step back from alcohol maybe after having quite a boozy christmas like I had had a couple of years before. So those are the three main things I focused on. And then once funding came through, I also started spending more money on social media advertising, which at that time, you know, worked really well and kind of getting just getting exposure out to thousands and sometimes millions. Yeah. Gosh, how times have changed when it comes to facebook and instagram ads. 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So you can quickly prioritize who you'd like to interview and hire linkedin jobs helps you find the candidates you want to talk to faster and you can post a job for free, just visit linkedin dot com slash F S C. Again, that's linkedin dot com slash F. S. C. To post your job for free today. T and CS apply as you've kind of progressed, you know, in the last couple of years from that, you know that first year to now, what are the kinds of exciting marketing initiatives that you're doing to stand out and what are the growth drivers that you pull now to continue to grow? Um I think we launched in 2019 and as we know, 2020 was was covid quite early, quite early on the year. We got, we got hit by the pandemic. I know, and so we sort of had our first year, someone was a really important time for us. We have as a, as a non athlete brand, we have different peaks in the year, like january is a big time for us. So it makes sense to spend a lot of money. Then we dabbled in in a couple of events in summer. The first year we launched, but to be honest, where the brand has really come alive with its marketing has been this year when we've been able to go out and meet people in real life. So at the start of this year kind of, well kind of out of lockdown sort of Anyway, there's a moment where I'm talking to the team, we've got huge campaign plan. We've got a massive bright yellow busses going to drive around the country dropping off bottles of cleansing and I'm gonna do these big sampling activities in three key cities. So London bristol and Manchester up in the north as we've got planned. And then we're kind of hearing right after christmas that things are gonna be shut down. We're kind of heading back into into Covid, I'm like, oh my God, no, this is terrible. And so we have to make a bit of a call, do we pull it, do we lose money or do we try and pivot and I think the fact that we were, we're still really small, we could be quite agile. So we changed those plans slightly so that we could do something outdoors where, you know, we're still early on in january and people were still out shopping, doing their, you know, their january sales shopping. So we got to sample with a hell of a lot of people, we got the bus out there and and actually, because I think a lot of brands were, were afraid of spending money at that time, we didn't really see many other brands doing anything. So I think for that reason we got a lot of impact and a lot of cut through because we were quite bold and going yes, we're still going to go ahead and do this and go for it and then it's just built from there. We um we then did our biggest ever summer campaign this year called um say yes, the summer of no regrets. And that's really the sentiment now is going go out live your best life, don't worry about hangovers, just like enjoy it and you know, drinking flanders, it's not about sobriety and and just completely switching off the alcohol, it's there to help people that want to moderate and maybe like me want to drink less alcohol, but want to have a great option when when they choose to do that. So we went out as a big campaign, It was again, a bit of a risk because we, we decided to spend big on out of home media. I think we reached like 60 million people um, impression wise across the UK went to 50 different locations. We, we bought an old defender that we repainted when I call her Shakira and she was like our Sampling truck that's driven all around the country. Yeah. And then we sampled sampled like 70,000 people already this year. So this year was like a really big bold year for us in marketing, I think just having a couple of years and we couldn't really do much and our hands are a bit tired, like really in person brand when people show up and we give them a drink. There's music, there's, there's quite often dancers, there's a bit of an atmosphere and we couldn't do that very well virtually. It was a real struggle to bring that to life. And I was sick of telling people you can have fun when, when you don't drink and needed, we needed to show people. And so this was our way of showing people and changing perceptions. So I think to me that's been the kind of proudest moments for me and the team in terms of marketing, wow, that sounds so much fun and so exciting to kind of what I also love about this is like, you know, you always think you're going to launch a brand, everything is going to happen straight away, but things do take time. It does take years of building the foundations and setting the tone of the brand to then have your kind of pivotal key year, that kind of really kicks things off and kicks, it kicks it into the next level as you look to the future. What are the kinds of things that you're getting excited about now, excitement? I mean, I'm excited most of the time because I love, I love the industry that I'm working in and I've got a great team, I think I'm, I'm really excited currently about the bar and restaurant industry opening back up because again, I talk about experience, but really people go out to restaurants, bars and pubs to really get an experience. They can't get home and that's meeting with friends, family, great food, great drinks and a really great atmosphere and that's not a channel that we've been able to play in for for a long time now, in fact, just before the pandemic hit, we were just starting to make inroads. So that's the channel, I'm really excited about that to help us bring the brand to life at the start of the year. We were in less than a handful of markets, we're now kind of rapidly increasing to 30 40 markets towards the end of this year, so that's huge for us and some really, some really big markets as well. So I'm really interested to learn about how the non outlook industry is going to mature in other markets and what learnings we can take from the UK and what would be different because there's going to be different nuances. So that's also really exciting because like I said from the beginning, I wanted this to be a global brand, so it feels like that dream is being realized, but to what you said before, it does take time. I remember the first year going and working so hard, I'm doing all this stuff and it, you know, nothing's really changing. But now I, you know, I meet people for the first time that I've heard of your brand or I've tried it, I bought it from one of the retailers that we, that we work with, so just like gradually that awareness grows and all of the effort that you're putting in does pay off, but it takes, unless you're super lucky and your brand just takes off, which is really rare by the way, really. Um, it does take quite a lot of hard graft and work, but I'm excited to see the progress that's happening. Me too, I'm so excited for you. Holy moly, what advice can you give to founders who are just getting started and entering into the beverage industry, whether it's in elk or no elk Yeah. Um, I think generally what I would say to to anyone starting out is just grasp every opportunity that comes your way um, and don't be, don't be afraid of failure because I think people who are afraid of failure eventually ends up holding you back and meaning that you don't do things like it's okay to fail and learn from it and then and then try again. So I think advice to people maybe starting out the drinks industry or or food and drink be tenacious, don't take no for an answer and be curious, ask questions. Meet people, grow your network for me. Building a network in the space has been hugely valuable, I think often say the team people work with people they enjoy working with so it can go a long way just being a nice person and helping and, and you know, eventually that will come back around, it's kind of good karma, right? And I think specifically to female entrepreneurs, I think in the beginning I was maybe afraid to be confident and bold in in my opinions or my assumptions. Um and I think having my own business has shown me that actually I can do this and I'm very capable and I think quite often, particularly women, they lack that because it can sometimes take time to build up that confidence. But hopefully this podcast will show you and all the other amazing women that have been on here is that we're capable of so much so having that confidence even if you have to faint, it sometimes just go in and just be bold and if you're pitching for investment or you're pitching for a new customer and just just have that, have that belief in you that's going to be okay.
So question number one is, what's your, why? Why are you waking up every single day and focusing on building this business? I think my underlying why is to make not drinking fun for people. I think for so long it's held a stigma that it's not um it's changing and I've seen it change drastically in the last five years, but we still have a long way to go globally. So for me that that's what keeps me driven and keeps me focused everyday. Amazing question number two is what's been your favorite marketing moment so far? Um I think me driving a giant yellow double decker bus around London, you were driving the bus? Oh my God, that's so cool. Did you have to get a special license or were you just allowed to drive the bus? We, we had like giant slogan on it, saying say no to another soft drink and it was basically getting people to just think about their choice like of course people need to drink water and people can drink soft drinks but yeah, leave those for lunchtime, like upgrade your choice when it comes to non alcoholic drinks in the evening. So we were quite bold and that I think that was a big moment for us. That is so cool. Question # three is what's your go to business resource at the moment, whether it's a podcast or a book or a newsletter? Um I do love podcasts and audiobooks. I'm a sucker for being time efficient so that I can listen and do other things. I could do a lot of driving around. So just being able to kind of have something in my ear. Yeah, just, I genuinely found when I was building my business and listening to, I would listen to startup stories and just exactly like we're doing now, I'd listen to people that had built something from nothing that inspired me. No end. So I think that would be, that would be my advice. Absolutely. Question number four is, how do you win the day? What are your am or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and motivated? The thing that I always do is start the day with, you need to do list. So I have like a weekly to do list and then I look at what do I want to get done that day and I literally as I get things done, I cross it off and I don't know if it's just me, but it just gives me a sense of achievement and I can look about list and go look at everything I've achieved that day. And rather than just around just fighting fires and dealing with lots of minute things. I feel like it feels a bit more substantial. So that's my morning routine to do list. Question # five, What has been your biggest money mistake and how much did it cost you? Oh God, quite early on. I think I placed an order for around 6000 boxes to carry all my bottles only to sort of realized once the order had arrived a couple months later that actually six bottles fit in one box because we sell them in cases of six. So I'd ordered basically six times as much. Um so it was like in the tens of and it just meant that we then had to use those boxes for a lot, lot longer than we originally would have done, Which was a shame, but I didn't want to waste. So it was a costly mistake and it just made me realize I need to not rush things and think before I press and last question question number six is what is just a crazy story, good or bad from the journey of building colonia? Crazy story. There are so many, there's one that sits out. So we once got approached for millennia to feature in Hollywood movie story. Jamie Dawn and Ben Stiller. It was for a non alcoholic cocktail making scene which is actually before Covid and then the film actually never happened. But instead we got a cameo appearance the plane you behind the bar in the second season of Emily in paris. So that was a big moment because I was a big my bottles. I literally on that is so cool, wow! Congrats, love that for you. Thank God, that was kind of random, but also quite fun. Absolutely. This has been so much fun. Ellie, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your journey with colonia and everything you're going to through at the moment. It's been such joy. Thank you all right, thanks very much for having me.