DrinkPreneur Live 2015 will be held in London on September 23. We decided to ask some questions and get to know better this year startups. Today I’m speaking with Managing Director of LOVO Drink about their beverage project.
Jess came up with the idea for a vodka and coconut water RTD primarily from being active on Instagram. She came across a company called Coco Vodka in Australia who brought the same concept to market over there and she thought it was a great idea. Jess and I had discussed starting a business for years, but this was the first idea we could really see a gap in the market for. We realised somebody else would do it if we didn’t, so we took the plunge.
Neither Jess nor I have experience in the drinks industry. Jess was an interior designer and I was a project manager in Insurance. However, our previous jobs have set us up well for LOVO; Jess is a formidable saleswoman and has a keen eye for design, and I know how to plan, manage budgets and get stuff done.
We came across an idea for a drink we were convinced we could make work. We didn’t set out with the dream of entering the drinks industry, but when an opportunity we both believed in came up, we went for it, and as they say, if it’s not a bit challenging, it’s barely worth doing!
LOVO is the first premixed vodka and coconut water drink in Europe. There are only 128 calories per 250ml bottle, no refined sugar, and no artificial colours or flavours. We are transparent about what’s in LOVO (unlike a number of other industry players) and provide a great tasting drink that meets the needs of people who care about what they put in their bodies (that’s not boring old vodka, lime and soda!). And it’s this that’s the key; we are here for lifestyle conscious people who work out, eat well and don’t want to undo all their good work when they enjoy a drink or two. We represent a balanced way of life that’s considered, spirited and free.
As with any start up, we’ve faced a few problems; we came to market very quickly and switched from cans to bottles very close to launch. This led to design compromises and has resulted in a need to rethink our packaging, so we’re now going through a rebrand. Other than that, we haven’t experienced anything monumental, just the normal day to day issues with running a company. In fact, contrary to what everyone says, we’ve found everyone in the industry really receptive and helpful, from buyers, to manufacturers, to customers and press. People say it’s a horrible industry, especially for newcomers, but so far we’ve found the opposite (fingers crossed that continues!).
In a word, exposure. Like any new company, we’re always looking for sales opportunities. We’d be tentative about selling into the supermarket giants right away, but we’d love to start making contacts, so when we’re ready, we know who to talk to. Similarly, we’ll be looking for finance early next year, so exposure to possible investors would also be a plus.
Thanks! I’m not sure we’ve been around for long enough to be allowed to give advice, but we’ve found the biggest benefit to us has come from outsourcing things we can’t or don’t want to do to really high quality people. You can’t be an expert at everything, so if you’re going to pay someone else to do something for you, make sure you get someone good!
For more information about LOVO Drink visit their website.