Cheers to Victoria’s flyaway business success
A Leeds woman is shaking and stirring up the world of cocktails after her business idea took off and received backing from big investors.
Two years ago Victoria Novis was working as a chartered accountant and tax advisor, but now she is supplying unique ready-made cocktails to luxury hotels, bars and the largest airline in the UK.
Victoria, 29, is now the Managing Director of her own company, Euphoria Cocktails Ltd, and has received an Equity Linked Investment of £125,000 from Finance Yorkshire, in addition to private equity from business angels, to support the growth of the business.
Victoria, from Scarcroft, said: “Around two years ago I had my eureka moment. With alcopops in decline and cocktails increasingly popular, I thought there was a gap in the market for superior quality pre-mixed cocktails.
“Fresh cocktails are difficult and time consuming to make and also costly in terms of ingredients, equipment and staff training. Conversely, Nuba is a very simple proposition of great tasting cocktails, individually bottled, creating a fantastic opportunity for busy bars and other establishments to offer a great alternative to the more usual product offering”
Victoria spent three months researching the product and the market, as well as looking at individuals and companies that could help her, before taking nine months to develop the product.
“Once I had developed the cocktails, I put them to the test against freshly-made versions made by professional mixologists serving in award-winning cocktail bars and we were overwhelmed with positive feedback.”
After a year in the making Victoria’s Nuba Cocktail range was launched at the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show in Manchester, March 2011. The range consists of a ready-made, single serving size cocktail in a bottle that comes in three flavours; Cosmopolitan, Mai Tai and Mojito.
At the trade show Victoria gained a variety of customers, from golf clubs and bars, to pubs, restaurants and clubs. Two of Manchester’s top hotels, The Lowry and The Midland, also began stocking her drinks as well as London Zoo!
Now Victoria has sold more than 100,000 Nuba Cocktails and the drinks are being stocked by national pub chain, Punch Taverns, on sale in more than 200 outlets and available in-flight on all Easyjet planes.
Victoria added: “Nuba was a big success at the trade fair, people said they looked and tasted great and I got my first batch of orders. So the next day I handed my notice in at work and began developing the business full-time.”
“The cocktails are great for licensed premises as they save money, time and effort. A fresh cocktail can take five minutes to make and the quality is inconsistent, but Nuba Cocktails are ready-made so they’re perfect every time and take moments to serve.”
Julie Cooper, landlady at the Murgatroyd in Halifax recently started stocking the cocktail range, she said: "Nuba is a great way for us to introduce cocktails without a significant investment in ingredients, equipment and training.”
Finance Yorkshire Contracts Manager, Darren Morris, said: ““We recognised the value that private investors could bring to the company in terms of supporting Victoria in her first business venture. We felt confident investing in the company as despite being new to the sector she has generated huge sales.”
Finance Yorkshire is now one of five investors in Euphoria Cocktails and Victoria also attracted the interest of Jules Hydleman, former Chairman of Innocent Drinks, who is now Euphoria Cocktails’ Chairman and Non-Executive Director.
Victoria added: “I was keen to work with Finance Yorkshire because of their experience in supporting new businesses. Alongside the private investors, they form my ‘dream team’ that will help me to expand the business and achieve scale for our niche product.
“The last couple of years have been a steep, fast learning curve but I am very excited about the future and working with such a great team.”
Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.
The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15million from Yorkshire Forward’s Single Programme, and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.
For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit www.finance-yorkshire.com or ring 0845 649 0000.
Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire