Two friends who gave up their nine-to-five jobs to start their own tequila cocktail business from their kitchens say they’re now turning over six figures in sales.
Wynter Karo, 26, and Alice Parmiter, 27, both from Wandsworth, London, were inspired to create their alcohol brand Pimentae after spending some time in Mexico. The pair went full time with their business in March 2021, ditching their £30-£40,000 jobs at Sky and ASOS. “The concept was very much born in the kitchen,” Wynter told The Mirror.
“We often sat on the balcony, drinking an unholy amount of spicy margaritas, forever wondering who’d be tasked with the laborious job of making the next round… We used our friends as focus groups to test various iterations of our spicy margaritas, ranking them based on spice, sweetness, aroma, colour and what they’d be prepared to pay.
“For the six months pre-launch, we – alongside the rest of the UK – were working from home. By miracle, myself and Alice lived a three-minute walk away from one another, so we allocated every spare minute building Pimentae and taking the concept to market.”
Wynter and Alice started the business with £15,000, made up from their personal savings, loans from friends and family, their monthly income and credit card spending. The launch money was used to develop recipes, trademark Pimentae, launch their website and buy their bottles and labels.
In the last year, the friends have made more than £100,000 in net sales and say their best successes have come from trade shows and festivals. “Our bank balance takes the shape of a roller-coaster ride, with large outgoings followed by influxes of significant revenue, depending on whether it’s time for a production round or festival season,” explained Wynter. “Cash flow management is the difference between Pimentae existing or not.” But the start of their business was not an easy ride.
“We’ve learnt the hard way – if you need it, there’s probably a globally shortage of it,” said Wynter. “Due to Mexican law and strict regulations surrounding the Agave plant, tequila can only be produced in Mexico and in turn imported to the UK. A consistent supply was imperative for us to regularly produce our cocktails based on demand.
“Sadly, we were too early stage to work directly with a tequila brand, so we ordered our tequila in bulk via a wholesaler. Five days before our production round – manufacturer’s set these dates in stone – our wholesaler sold 700 bottles of our tequila to a larger brand, so we had no stock for our next round.”
But Wynter and Alice have no regrets and plan on growing their business over the next few months. The pair currently don’t employ anyone else, but will hire part-time brand ambassadors over the summer.
Pimentae offers two different tequila based drinks – Tommy’s Chilli Margarita and the Cucumber and Elderflower Eclipse mix.
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