Meet Hannah Lamiroy, the creative genius behind Tinkture iconic Rose Gin, made from fresh, hand-picked David Austin roses and sold in quirky bottles.
The gin, named after Hannah’s 94-year-old grandmother and muse Tink, is distilled by hand in small batches in beautiful copper pots in Cornwall. The gin is a golden amber colour and turns a dusty pink when mixed with tonic. Her first batch sold out within in a month and proved to be Fortnum & Mason’s best ever selling spirit of the month.
In this interview, Hannah talks about the business she runs with her husband Sam, their highlights and the challenge of selling gin in different shaped bottles.
I came up with the idea when… I could not find what I was looking for. I wanted a clean, organic, delicious, interesting and captivating drink. Something with a sense of history, a flavour and an ethical stance I could engage with. I could not find it, so set to work myself.
The biggest challenge is… simply starting. In honesty, the challenges have been regular and unrelenting. To take something from a dream, a ‘great’ idea around a table with a few good friends, to actually making it happen and willing it into existence is not easy. Once the physical product is there and the unbelievable happens (people actually buy it and love it) then you know that it’s too good not to pursue further and things get even more difficult. The next challenge is scaling up into a legitimate business. Throw two children, a dog and running a home into the mix and life gets even more complicated. It’s not easy, but I love it and would not change it for the world.
The average day is spent… There are no average days with a small business. We do a bit of everything as and when it needs doing. I get up early, answer a few mails, then get the kids up ready for school, breakfast, school run, walk the dog and then into our little office. Some days are purely admin, other days are all about creating; distilling, tasting and recipe developing (I love these days!). There are the PR and selling days; out on the road, visiting shops, seeing our amazing customers and doing events.
The team consists of... myself, my husband Sam, my business partner Mark and his wife Cath, and our friends Jill and Alice. We are in the process of hiring an extra pair of hands as the business expands.
My favourite quote is… “I can and I will”. It’s what my gran ‘Tink’ (Tinkture’s muse) always used to say to me as a little girl, whenever I got stuck on something.
I am where I am today because of… the strength I have and support I receive. It enables me to overcome my fear of the unknown. Every day I am entering uncharted water. The fear of failure is very real, but the desire to succeed is greater still.
I am who I am because of... life, circumstance and love. I never thought I would be running my own drinks business. I’m still not entirely sure how, but with a lot of help and support from everyone around me, I am at the wheel doing my best to guide Tinkture in the right direction.
The best advice I've been given... “Don’t look behind you; keep going”. It was given to me by Jan who grows our organic roses. She’s an incredible lady and it helps to not worry about what is going on around you, what others are doing or saying about you. Do your own thing, do it as well as you can, move to your own beat and things have a way of working out.
In five years I’d like to be… doing the parts of this job that I know I’m really good at, while an amazing team keeps the company running like a well-oiled machine. Who knows, maybe even go on the occasional holiday with my family; that would be lovely!
The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online... you are actually much closer to your customers and audience than you think. It feels like you are just putting something out there. But in reality you are just one click and a couple of keystrokes away from the very people that make your business a reality.
The websites I most frequently use are... Squarespac, Gmail, Dropbox, WeTransfer, Xero, HubSpot and a bit of Pinterest.
Our biggest mistake and what it taught us… unlike other drinks companies, who use one size and style of off-the-peg bottles for several different drinks, we decided to use seven. Yes, SEVEN different styles/shapes/sizes of bottles. None of which were actually designed to hold drinks in the first place. All for ONE product. Not smart, not easy, not cost effective, not recommended. It taught us that, while ridiculous, we can overcome almost anything! And it galvanised our resolve to create bottles that people actually keep for life and Re-Use. The reaction from our customers and seeing them buy our refill pouches to keep using their bottle has proven that it was the right thing to do and worth the pain.
What apps do you use to be more productive… Instagram, dropbox, wetransfer, xero, hubspot, receipt bank and Waze (thanks Mark!)
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By Annabel Jack