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You're A Boss, Babe: Ellie from Caleño Drinks

In our September Roccabox, we have included some fabulous female owned brands to celebrate these ladies making waves. Meet Ellie from Caleño Drinks... 

Tell us how your brand started... 

In 2017, I took part in Dry January for the first time and decided water and endless glasses of fizzy sugar was seriously outdated and dull! I had a background in drinks and understanding of the spirit making process, so decided to try and create my own non-alcoholic spirit that I could drink in the evenings. I started tinkering with ingredients, extractions & distillations, working on my recipe for almost 18 months. A trip to Colombia then gave me all the tropical inspiration I needed for the final flavours, and cemented what I wanted my drink to be about – making “not drinking” fun for everyone, by infusing Caleño with the Latin free-spirit I had grown up with.

Top tip for starting your own business?

Dream big and be absolutely committed to getting there. Be tenacious and don’t give up, especially when it gets tough. That’s when most people give up, but that’s the most important time to keep going. 

One thing you wish you knew before starting?

How hard it would actually be to create a non-alcoholic spirit. The idea seemed pretty simple, but it took about 2 years to get it to market, as it was a completely new innovation and category, and even then I was still tinkering and improving the recipe blend. 

What's the best advice you have received on your business journey?

Don’t try and do it all yourself. Instead surround yourself with people who are better at certain things than you are – just know and remember where your strengths are. That’s where the magic begins to happen. 

What inspired you to start your own company?  

I was working on Caleño for two years before quitting my job. It was terrifying leaving a stable position but I wanted a different challenge. I was slightly disillusioned by the corporate world… the corporate machine moves a lot slower and has a tendency to dull creativity and I really wanted to be more involved in a creative output. I have always been ambitious in my career and have always pushed myself on to the next level. Running a start-up is exciting, yet challenging at the same time! You definitely have more control over your own destiny, which I love. 

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

From the very beginning I knew I wanted Caleño to be different, but always fun, colourful, vibrant. In 3 years’ time I would love to see that Caleño is bringing joy to millions of people around the world that have taken the positive step to reduce their drinking and are enjoying us as their alternative. 

Who is your Boss Babe inspiration?

Wow, so many – who to start with?! My mum and my two sisters inspire me every day as they are so positive and have always believed it me – one even so much so, she joined the business! Aside from that, there are some inspiring women in my industry doing great things like Raissa & Joyce at Double Dutch tonic, and Livia of Livia’s.  

What is your secret to success?

Choose something you feel passionate about, not something that you think will be a quick way to make money. There will be hard days and if you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ll soon give up. Be prepared to work hard, and stick at it. Remember the hardest part is getting started, but don’t be afraid to ask for help – there are so many lovely people at there that will be willing to give you their time. 

What's the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?

The day I received my very first batch of bottles only to discover that hundreds of the bottles had been terribly labelled. I just sat there and cried as I’d worked so hard to get to that point and was let down at the very last hurdle, just before I was due to launch. Luckily both my sisters spend their Christmas break helping me relabel bottle after bottle whilst watching Christmas movies!

We included a Caleño Drinks sample in every September BOSS BABES Roccabox, get one here. x 

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