In 2015 I built a small wooden bar in my back garden, ordered a box of jam jars and began with building a website.
For the first 5 years, I was a secondary school teacher, working in London. Living in a flat share meant that it wasn't viable to have my own means of transport. Initially I would have to borrow my lovely mums car and travel to small events to serve cocktails on the weekend. The little bar was my first design and was super heavy and just about squeezed in to the car.
I would travel back to my mums house in Reading on a Saturday morning (where my bar was stored under the stairs!), load the car and travel to the events. On Sunday I would clear everything up and head back to London, ready for the next teaching week! It was often exhausting, but I really enjoyed it. This was a regular occurrence for the first 3/4 years, which mainly consisted of small cocktail parties at houses and the occasional wedding.
Fast forward a few years, and I was lucky enough to have my brother, Ethan join me. I went down to 3 days teaching, in a school closer to Reading, whilst Ethan worked in Maintenance for 3 days a week. The rest of the time we were planning and attending weddings and events. I had worked so hard to get to the point that my brother could join and I couldn't have been more proud to be working with him.
At the end of 2019, we moved into a lovely new office, with a kitchen with an industrial dishwasher (finally we could stop washing 500 jars in a dishwasher at home...) and space to meet and great couples to discuss their wedding. It had been a long journey to get there and we were finally on the verge of going full time - super exciting. We had made a big deal of working hard to ensure that we could afford the equipment we needed for events and to kit out the new office.
In 2020, we were struck by the dreaded Covid, which hit the events industry really hard, as well as so many others. It felt like everything that we had worked for had just been stripped away. We had to give up our office and sell all the equipment we had purchased, on top of losing all of our events that year. Ethan had to take on a full time role elsewhere, as the business could no longer support the both of us (or in fact either of us!).
I was determined not to lose it all. We had always talked about putting together cocktail boxes for deliveries, but thought that it would be a future venture. It turned into an overnight business change, in order to survive. Having handed my notice in for teaching, pre-pandemic, anticipating my new full-time role in the business, I was left with having no choice but to invest my last bit of money in buying my first products for, a then weekly, cocktail box delivery service. I took on a delivery job, taking fresh fruit and veg to care homes and vulnerable individuals from 5am-9am, then I would temp where I could for work during the day, before building cocktail boxes on the dining room table in our 1 bed flat and juggling the admin side of it all in the evening.
I'm proud to say that I fought to keep us going and I am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel! We are eagerly anticipating the return of events and have been enjoying making and delivering cocktail boxes all over the UK. Know that every box we make and every event that we plan, means so much and we do everything to make it the best possible experience.
One thing that I have taken from my experience, is that you shouldn't give up on your dreams, anything is achievable. We've taken a massive step back, but will keep working to move forwards.
We hope to see you soon! Joe