What do you currently do?
I am part of the Lemonaid team. We’ve been launching a range of organic soft drinks in UK, though we originate from Germany and we’ve been trading from there for the last 7 years. Since moving to the UK we have been bringing our product out to all sorts of different people and lots of sales in local independent cafes, and we’ve hosted a lot of tastings and events. We’ve also been to a number of music events such as festivals and we’ve just started to launch a new range of cocktails. Our marketing is pretty grass roots, we try to connect with the local art scenes, and have been looking into long term partnerships.
What is your inspiration in the business?
A friend of mine started it, his idea was to make a product that sourced exclusively from social ingredients. We overlook the production process so we know that our product isn’t using any fertilisers and we use only direct trade from places such as South Africa for example. We are a social enterprise and donate an amount of what we make to charity, to support schools and our profits help fund projects. We wanted to make a product that does well on the market purely because people like our idea and like our concept. Hopefully this will then make them want to buy our product so we can help fund these projects.
Who do you admire?
People who set their life out to help other people. I come from a business background so I’ve been inspired and influenced by a number of entrepreneurs. The idea behind what we’re doing is to use our revenue to do something worthwhile and this is engrained in the company. It’s great because our motivation is to go back to those countries and do something helpful and see how our product has been making a difference.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Things are going pretty well for us. We launched here in the UK earlier this year so it’s too early to look back. I think, as a team we under estimated the administrative work, and I thought I’d be on the street more than in the office. It’s just been me in the UK since January and I needed a few friends to help out and they came over 10 days ago and that’s made a real difference.
What defines your way of doing business?
Looking into the industry we’re in, it’s dominated by a few multi-national companies with masses of revenue and all their products are similar and shop shelves look like a uniform of all these brands that aren’t good for you. We wanted to make a unique product that’s more stylish and more health conscious and we want to be seen as a good, healthy alternative. We mainly use social media and other low key ways to get our name out there. Our customers are basically free ambassadors. Our way of approaching people is much different, we’re not coming with masses of money but getting them to like our motive and our product. We need to be genuine in ourselves so people believe in us. With the bigger brands you don’t really know whats in them, whereas with our product we can tell you exactly what’s in it and where the ingredients come from because we’ve been to the farms ourselves.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
To be honest, being a social enterprise helped us tremendously. Working in a highly competitive market where shelf space is limited, and where if one brand goes in one goes out. We’ve been lucky that many brands have been supporting us.