So here we are again, a whole season has past........yep those past few months of mostly chilly, wet days with a hint of sunshine was Summer, and we're diving head first into the festive season which means CHRISTMAS. Sorry I had to get the mention of Christmas (sorry said it again) in the opening sentence, running a retail business like the distillery means that this is the biggest, busiest and most important time of the year. This being something we knew and definitely confirmed when launching last year in November - a slight baptism of fire!
So I will mention our plans for the festive season in a bit but first I wanted to cover ground on what we've been doing since we last posted. So many people talk about how the weeks and months fly by and since we founded Lazydog the weeks and months have really gone at break neck speed. The continued juggle of running a business, managing day jobs, looking after a toddler and ensuring our house isn't a complete wreck is a tough gig.
So what have been doing all summer? Well after the first few months of this year we realised that Lazydog was beginning to build up momentum and 2021 was to be the year to push on and grow as much as we can. We attended a few events, some in new locations, some successful and some not so – we can’t win them all right? What this provided us with was the ability to assess which events are the best fit for Lazydog – quality over quality is feeling true with us. We want to reach as many people as we can to shout about British made rum and obviously Lazydog Rum in particular, but attending similar events on a regular basis is not always the right fit. So, we made the decision to scale back our summer event attendance and instead go for some different options which included, new areas, a rum tasting evening and our very first trade area. With these we got to meet some fantastic new customers, indulge in sharing our story and showcase our British made rum with willing listeners and experience a large scale trade event with the removal of instant gratification of selling direct to customer.
This summer brought our first foray into the world of serving our rum as drinks at some of the events we attended and WOW did that go down well. It seemed that lots of you enjoyed this and we at one event we even managed to sell out (cheers to the people of Syston…….you in particular loved our Mojito!). Again this confirmed we want to be able to offer drinks more at events we attend….sorry I’m going to mention the other C word….Covid permitting.
We’ve learnt so much this Summer especially confirming that rum tasting experiences are really fun (once we get over our nerves!) and definitely something we’d like to do more of either at willing venues or at our own space. Yep, I said it, Lazydog is rapidly (if not already) outgrowing our current distillery set up and we have been on the hunt for a new BIGGER premises all through summer. We were even close to securing a place, a mega place, but we had to stop as we came to the decision that long time it wasn’t going to be suitable. But hey, we move on, and we have another potential premises in the pipeline, so watch this space……or Instagram as we’ll definitely post it there first!
Taking Lazydog to London to attend the Speciality and Fine Food Fair, our first trade event, was certainly an experience. The preparation was intense, ordering new graphic displays, deciding on stock quantities to bring, understanding the set-up logistics of such a large venue and speaking with potential stockists, industry experts and supply chain companies. We did we learn? A HELL of a lot! Trade events are certainly a whole different ball game and certainly involves playing the long game with all the people you have conversations with. We found it great to speak to other start ups and gain a reassuring verbal hug that the struggle can be real running a business. We met some really great industry experts who imparted some very valuable advice to us which made attending the event worth it alone. Mostly, we received positive feedback again on our branding and rum which was phenomenal especially receiving it beyond our East Midland ‘walls’.
To top off our summer and roll into autumn on a high we were also awarded a Great Taste 1 star award for our Sloe Rum. Matt’s family tradition made into a reality, and it won an award! We know when we launched the first batch last Winter, we were onto something special with the reaction received from everyone who tired an bought it and to know gain an award for it has really put us on a high. Who knew in less than a year of trading we would be in this position – surreal.
So, what are our plans for Christmas? We’ve been booked up for events from the middle of November through to Christmas for quite some time (preparation is key and all) so we are working hard behind the scenes to ensure the events run smoothly. This means, upping production so we have enough rum for the demand, ensuring all event paperwork is prepared in the required timescales (did you know we have to apply for licences for most events we attend from the council, which run on a strict timeframe? Boring fact I know, but it stresses me out!). We also need to manage stock in terms of packaging, labels, wax and o ye the minor detail of having enough bottles. All of which rely on cashflow and the smooth running of the country………which I won’t start on. All our upcoming events can be found on our website so check it out to see if we’ll be anywhere near you over the festive season.
I can’t leave this without a poignant last note and apologies to bring the tone down slightly. You may have already seen that recently we had to say goodbye to our beloved Gino, our Lazydog. Gino had been poorly for quite some time, despite not really showing it to anyone he met, and we had been managing his illness in attempt to make him comfortable. Last month, one evening he gave us the sign that he was losing his battle and couldn’t fight any longer. He left us with the most heart-breaking decision of allowing him leave us but we had comfort in that he was no longer suffering. Gino was the most incredible dog (I know most dog owners will say that about their own dog) but I hope for those that met Gino will agree. He was a gentle giant, always there for a cuddle on the sofa or anywhere really. He was a conversation starter, his breed generated intrigue and adoration for how gorgeous he was. He was scared of his own trumps, the hoover and sneezes. He loved cheese, walks in new places and sleeping on the sofa. He provided us with so many fantastic memories and will continue to be eternally embodied through Lazydog.
So if you’ve made it to the end of this, thank you and hopefully you’ll continue to follow us on this wild ride. Hope to see you somewhere soon.