So you how did you start Badvo, did you have a lightbulb moment or was it more of a gradual process?
I was joking about having a distillery for quite a while, I just figured we had such a perfect location for a distillery and when I found out that my ancestors used to distil on the farm I was drawn even further in. The more I thought about it the more I thought I should do it- especially with farming being particularly unstable at the moment.
The startup process was quite a lengthy one for you with lots of different roadblocks, did it ever make you want to quit?
Haha, I don't know about roadblocks? Maybe more speedbumps? But yeah, there was a whole host of things that cropped up during startup. I don't think I ever considered quitting just because I was so set on it working out, I kept thinking I've come so far it can't be much longer. So yeah, blind optimism I guess. I always heard that if everyone knew what it took to set up a business nobody would do it, which I really think might be true.
What motivates you?
When I do well my Dad gets me a massive haggis. It's become like a thing now. When I graduated one of my friends said her Dad was getting her a car and I was all snarky saying 'Oh yeah, well my Dad gets me a haggis that's bigger than my head... sooo...' However, these haggis' are getting more and more elusive the further I go on which is super annoying. Moral of the story is, I'm pretty easy to motivate.
You hold a substantial amount of business awards and grants. Do you consider yourself more of an entrepreneur than a distiller? Do you think this will be a case of one of many businesses?
I really don't know. I have a few other business ideas but I'm not sure if I'll ever have the time to pursue them seriously, I do have a book where I log different business models and think out how I would go about things. There's this ongoing joke that I'm going to go off the deep end one day and open a carpet factory much to my family's horror. But I mean, I opened Badvo because I love distilling so I just want to keep doing what I love doing and I think that will be distilling. I like to do lots of different things and Badvo offers such a variation, between the paperwork, foraging, distilling, bottling, marketing etc. that I wouldn't be unhappy if this was a lifelong business.
You hired your mum this year, what was that like?
I always get asked about this! People sometimes say it's a terrible idea but to be honest I grew up working with my mum on the farm so it wasn't much of a transition. She's quite different to me and compliments me in lots of ways, she's just got this crazy work ethic and so much energy. My brain doesn't really switch on until after lunch. And she stopped me opening a carpet factory, so there is that.
If you were to give advice to anyone starting up a business what would you say?
That's a tough one. It really depends. I would say, don't see anything as beyond you, be confident that you can do anything you put your mind to and if you come across a problem you will find a way around it.
When I was having problems with the startup process and things were getting postponed someone once said to me that you're better waiting and getting things done your way. I think a lot of people rush to market but there is this balance of you don't want to trip yourself up.