Today I’m delighted to be sharing my interview with Frankie Snobel, the founder of Tipplesworth.
Since their launch in 2013 Tipplesworth have been creating fun, fabulous and faff-free cocktails. Today Frankie tells us about life before Tipplesworth, the inspiration and evolution behind the biz and what the future holds.
What did you do before starting Tipplesworth?
I started out as a mixologist back in Canada and dabbled a bit in Australia too. Eventually I moved into a career in journalism, which led me to moving to London to join my sister and mum who were living here.
Did you always plan to set up your own business?
No not at all! It was the stars aligning for me to make the brave move of starting a business – the break up of a relationship, switching to a freelance journalism role, and a random encounter with an ex-Dragon who was launching a business programme for start-ups. I knew that I would one day tap into my passion for cocktails again, but didn’t know how or when.
What inspired you to start Tipplesworth?
I’ve always had a love of mid-century design and this combined with my passion for making cocktails formed the basis of Tipplesworth. I could see a big shift in the market, where home cocktails were becoming popular and wanted to create something beautiful that could tap into this. I was inspired by gentlemen’s whisky suitcases from the 50’s, which stored bottles of whisky and tumbler glasses. This then led to Tipplesworth’s cocktail case – which was the foundation of my business.
How has your business evolved since your launch in 2013?
I started out making luxury cocktail cases – with premium spirits, barware and glassware inside. And from there I’ve evolved into bottled mixers. Tipplesworth is now a team of three and we’ve crossed over from luxury retail into grocery and bars/pubs.
How did you approach your first stockist?
I emailed many buyers, but it was through a networking event (a gin tasting session for women in business) where I met the Head of PR for Harvey Nichols. And after an abundance of gin I had some liquid courage to give an elevator pitch to her on the tube (as I saw her on the platform post-event). The next day the buyer called and the rest is history! Once you get into one retailer, if the sales and publicity go well, it’s easier to get subsequent listings. But it still requires thick skin and being pleasantly persistent.
How do you see the market for mixers evolving over the coming years?
It’s only just starting to grow! The negative perception behind pre-batching cocktails is finally fading away and people are realising that you actually can have delicious and premium cocktails without the faff. And with the growth of people dining/entertaining at home, cocktails are beginning to make their mark. We hope to do with cocktail mixers what Fever Tree did for tonic.
Please share a business high and low with us.
A business high was securing our recent grocery listing with Waitrose. It’s incredible to see our bottles on their shelves, as it’s my favourite place to food shop! I’ve been known to straighten the bottles like a weirdo every time i walk by them like a proud mama.
Lows include losing a big gifting retailer early on – buyers change over quickly and sometimes that means being cut if you don’t fit into their new plan, which can be devastating. But because we had diversified, it didn’t hit us as hard as it could have.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in the drinks industry?
Just go for it! Make sure you do your research and take some impartial advice (as you’ll learn more from those brave enough to critique your ideas). Be agile, as it’s needed to survive long-term. Understand that there will be a lot of rejection and sacrifice, but it’s a rollercoaster ride that gives you career satisfaction like no other when it’s going well.
Where do you hope to take your business in the year ahead?
We’re planning to grow our grocery presence and also expand into more bars and pubs. There’s also a top-secret cocktail innovation in the works that will launch in bars nationwide shortly, but I can’t say much more, so stay tuned!
Check out the full Tipplesworth collection, shop the brand on Ocado and support them over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you so much to Frankie for taking the time to share her business journey with Tipplesworth. I hope you enjoyed the interview and give the brand a try – the Passion Fruit Martini is lovely.
I can’t wait to see the Tipplesworth biz grow, they’ve already achieved so much since their launch in 2013 but I can just tell there’s so much more to come.