We are launching our very own small business initiative. Every month, we will be conducting exclusive interviews on small like-minded, British brands and shed light on their journey, story and inspiration.
First up are our friends, Kuda Cocktails. Hear all about how their founders started this vibrant rum-based cocktail company and the journey they have been on so far.
What inspired you to start KUDA Cocktails and where does the name KUDA come from?
I hate to be cliché but like so many recent businesses, lockdown really gave us, not the idea, but the courage to realise we could turn our existing product into something to sell and share with people. It was over many rum punches during those weeks of beautiful weather last year that those ideas really began to flow!
We wanted our whole brand to be authentic and based on true experiences which is why we chose KUDA as the name – Kuda was our father’s fishing boat where countless memories were made.
Can you tell us a little about the recipe and its main ingredients and from where they are sourced?
The recipe is our mother’s – she was born in Trinidad in the Caribbean and we grew up there with friends and family drinking her rum punch. The recipe has never changed and has always been made with quality and simplicity at the heart of it.
Sadly, so many punches these days are made with poor quality rum and are full of sugar and concentrated fruit juice. From the moment we started KUDA, we agreed on our one aim: that we use high-quality ingredients and that meant using Trinidad rum and freshly squeezed lime juice.
What are your core values?
Remaining authentic and constantly reminding ourselves of the reason we started is most important. We don’t want to be a company that churns out drinks with no meaning or story behind them – there are plenty of those already.
We also really care about our packaging and making it as sustainable as possible – our bottles are made from recycled glass; the stoppers are natural cork and biodegradable and we use eco friendly tape on our boxes. Sustainability is absolutely at our core and something we will continue to work on as we develop as a brand.
What challenges have you faced since starting KUDA Cocktails, if any?
We were so naïve at the start thinking we already had our product and that was the hard part done. It sounds obvious but having no experience whatsoever in the drinks industry was and still is, the biggest challenge. We had no idea what went into starting a drinks business and the various licenses required. Every new step we make, comes with those same learning difficulties.
Another huge challenge was sourcing everything – we were absolutely set on our bottle shape, only to find it was in short supply. Similarly, it was difficult to find a supplier in the UK that stocked the specific rum we wanted.
Did you receive any good advice before starting your entrepreneurial journey and do you have any advice for anyone thinking of starting their own business?
The best advice I’ve received is to just do it – ‘nothing changes if nothing changes’ and you can talk about it all day long but nothing materialises from talking! It’s easy to tell yourself you need more time, but realistically, you learn everything as you go and are never prepared at the start.
What future plans do you have for KUDA Cocktails?
We will be launching our next cocktail soon and will also be bringing out a limited-edition Christmas drink – both are family recipes.
We are also introducing a smaller 200ml bottle which will serve two cocktails. They will be great for events but also for people to buy if they would like to try it first before committing to a 700ml bottle. They are mini and very portable so perfect for picnics, table place settings at parties or gifts.
As busy entrepreneurs How do you switch off and relax to charge your battery? Any tips?
I think the great thing for us is being able to share the load and allowing each other time off. I would advise anyone who owns a business to learn to delegate – half of the battle is letting go. Travelling is my number one way to relax. That and trying out new restaurants. We are also lucky to have a product which doubles up as a relaxant!!
Do you use Tincture products? If yes, do you have a favourite?
YES! We absolutely love Tincture products. I can’t choose one so my two favourites are the ones I use every single day - the Yoga Mat Cleaner which is a god send, and the Washing Up TINCTURE. What’s not to love when you have such beautifully packaged products that are functional, effective and most importantly, good for the planet! I am also yet to find a better hand sanitiser…
My sister constantly says how amazed she is at the difference Tincture products make to her asthma when cleaning her bathroom – she says it becomes non-existent.