Two friends who gave up their nine-to-five jobs to start their own tequila cocktail business from their kitchens say they are now making six-figure sales.
Wynter Karo, 26, and Alice Parmiter, 27, both from Wandsworth, London, were inspired to start their liquor brand Pimentae after spending some time in Mexico. The couple went full-time with their business in March 2021, giving up their £30-40,000 jobs at Sky and ASOS. “The concept was born in the kitchen,” Wynter told the Mirror.
“We often sat on the balcony, drinking an ungodly amount of spicy margaritas, always wondering who would be in charge of the painstaking work of making the next round… We used our friends as focus groups to test various iterations of our spicy margaritas , ranking by spice, sweetness, aroma, color and what they would be willing to pay.
“For the six months of pre-launch, we – alongside the rest of the UK – were working from home. Miraculously, myself and Alice lived within a three minute walk of each other, so we allocated every spare minute to building Pimentae and marketing the concept.
Wynter and Alice started the business with £15,000, made up of their personal savings, loans from friends and family, monthly income and credit card expenses. The seed money was used to develop recipes, the Pimentae brand, launch their website, and purchase their bottles and labels.
Over the past year, the friends have made over £100,000 in net sales and say their best hits have come from trade shows and festivals. “Our bank balance is like a roller coaster ride, with big expenses followed by big revenue inflows, depending on whether it’s time for a production tour or a festival season,” Wynter explained. “Cash flow management is the difference between Pimentae existing or not.” But starting their business was not easy.
“We learned the hard way – if you need it, there’s probably a global shortage,” Wynter said. “Due to Mexican law and the strict regulations surrounding the agave plant, tequila can only be produced in Mexico and in turn imported into the UK. A constant supply was imperative for us to regularly produce our cocktails according to demand.
“Unfortunately, we were too early to work directly with a tequila brand, so we ordered our tequila wholesale through a wholesaler. Five days before our production run – the manufacturer set these dates in stone – our wholesaler sold 700 bottles of our tequila at a bigger brand, so we were out of stock for our next cycle.
But Wynter and Alice have no regrets and plan to expand their business over the next few months. The pair currently do not employ anyone else, but will hire part-time brand ambassadors over the summer.
Pimentae offers two different tequila-based drinks – Tommy’s Chilli Margarita and the Cucumber and Elderflower Eclipse mix.
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