So you’ve been really good all week, green juices every morning (nearly!) the gym Monday, spinning on Wednesday and yoga on Thursday, or something to that effect. And then the weekend comes rolling in and you can finally let your hair down. But do we really want to un-do all of our angelic, healthy living? No, but we still need to have some fun and forget about any stress from the week...ohh what to do! Sound familiar to you?
Jess, fed up with the calorific, sugar-laden drinks on offer came up with the solution…Lovo or soon to be called Twisted Halo. Lovo is gently sparkling coconut water and vodka. No refined sugar, artificial colours or flavours. The perfect twist to our halos!
We chat to Jess about building her business, the re-branding process and what we can expect to see when they re-launch as Twisted Halo. And Jess’s best pieces of advice to others looking to start their own company.
Hi Jess! Please can you introduce yourself and your brand?
I guess I am a pretty ambitious (20 something yr old) woman whose phone is filled with too may pictures of my labradoodle dogs! I moved to London after University and still think it is the best city in the world. I am the founder of Lovo Drinks, which launched last summer. Lovo is a gently sparkling blend of coconut water and vodka with no refined sugar, artificial colours or flavours.
What were you doing prior to Lovo? And did you expect yourself to be an entrepreneur?
Prior to Lovo I was working in the Interiors industry. I have always enjoyed being creative and knew at some point I would set up my own business. The main issue was that I never knew what that business would be! My parents have always had their own businesses so from a young age the idea of being an entrepreneur had been instilled in me.
What did you study at St Andrews? Did this inspire your entrepreneurial spirit?
I studied Classical Studies at St Andrews-a far reach from the alcohol industry. I was never a huge fan of my degree so ended up getting a part time job with a Marketing company in the area. It was a great learning experience and really felt like it put me a step ahead when I left University.
LOVO really is the perfect summer drink for all of us who are health conscious but want to be able to enjoy ourselves!
-What inspired you to launch LOVO?
The go to low calorie drink of vodka, lime & soda on a night out had finally beaten me. I was tired of ordering the same old bland drink when I asked around so were my friends. I thought there has to be an alternative that ticks all the boxes but there wasn’t! At the beginning of 2015 I started on my mission to create a great tasting low calorie alternative to drinking a vodka, lime & soda. .
- What were your next steps after coming up with the idea?
A lot of google and hard work! I had no idea how to manufacture a drink, let alone launch one. Starting something in an industry you don’t know can be challenging but not impossible. It has been a huge learning curve to date!
We are really excited to hear about the re-branding. Could you tell us what we can expect to see?
The rebrand is a complete upgrade. We have improved the overall look, recipe and packaging. We have worked really hard with a great agency (Howell Penny) and spent a lot of time getting to grips with what the brand stands for. The overall brand look and packaging is more sophisticated while still maintaining our fun personality. We have really considered our expansion and flavor development, working out how the brand will develop as we grow.
What made you want to rebrand?
There were many factors that encouraged me to make the decision to re brand.
1. We had feedback from buyers that our packaging needed to look more alcoholic, which I completely agreed with. As we wanted to launch the product in the short space of 6 months, not enough time was spent on working out the branding look.
2. We wanted to change the name as some consumers had difficulty pronouncing it and there was potential for international trademark issues as we expanded.
3. I felt we could do better. In my opinion the brand was not reaching its potential!
What has been your creative process? Re-branding is a huge challenge for any company, as people become so familiar with your look. What strategies do you have in place that will help your customers re-adjust?
It is a big challenge to ease the transition! We have various events lined up and will be running a big social media campaign. We have some great influencers we work with who are fully behind the brand and will help us spread the word! A strong Marketing campaign over the summer will be key to help existing customers adjust and introduce to new ones.
We love the name ‘Twisted Halo’ – it’s the perfect explanation for your drinks ;) when did you think of the name?
The naming exercise was a huge undertaking with our agency and not taken lightly! It took us weeks before we found the right fit that ticked all of our criteria. We would think we had a great name, then would do trademark searches and find out it was not possible to use. Your name is often the first encounter a customer has with the brand, so in essence, it needs to speak volumes!
Was that your first step in the re-branding process?
We did quite a few workshop sessions with Howell Penny where we really worked out what the brand was about, and subsequently what it wasn’t. We talked about the target consumer-who is she, what is she like? We worked out where we wanted to sell and so on. Through these workshops there was a lot I discovered about the brand that I didn’t even realize. Really focusing in and getting clarity makes the following design process very simply. Suddenly any design or brand work becomes much simpler as you have a really strong understanding and focus. I think this initial process is something a lot of start ups rush through.
How come you use vodka as your chosen ‘twist’ to your angelic drinks? Or is it just a favourite?
Vodka is a great base as not only does it work well with other ingredients it is also low calorie. Vodka has always been a go to for me, even at boarding school (hush hush!)! There is potential for us to expand into other spirit blends but for now our focus is vodka.
When exactly can we expect to find Twisted Halo out and about?
Twisted Halo goes into its first production end of May so you can expect to see our launch from beginning of June-exciting times!
And what shelves will we be finding them on?
We will be launching with Harvey Nichols and 31dover.com as well as other retailers. If you are following our @lovodrink social media accounts we will keep you updated!
From your journey as an entrepreneur, what are your best pieces of advice that you can offer to others on a similar journey?
1. Have faith that it will all work out exactly how it should. Start ups are full of ups and downs and no matter how easy someone makes it look, behind the scenes there is always stuff going wrong!
2. Make time for yourself, family and friends. You don’t need to run yourself into the ground to make your business a success. If you let yourself get overly stressed and exhausted you will not be in a positive frame of mind to make good decisions.
3. Don’t beat yourself up when something goes wrong-it’s a learning curve and something you should embrace and enjoy!