Hello! Please can you tell us a bit about Ugly Drinks?
Like many people, we were tired of drinks that over promise and under deliver whilst being packed full of sugar or sweeteners. We decided to take matters into our own hands and create an entirely unsweetened, naturally infused water range with nothing to hide. We launched with a range of 4 flavours; Cucumber & Mint, Lemon & Ginger, Raspberry & Lime and Blackberry. Ugly Water has no sugar, no sweeteners, no artificial flavours, no preservatives and no calories.
What is it that makes your drinks so ugly?
Ugly doesn’t promise to make you faster, smarter or more beautiful and we’re not here to sell you the impossible dream. Refreshingly, it’s just spring water infused with natural flavours. If you don’t love us, that’s fine, but hopefully you love what we are trying to do.
You guys have literally just launched! How has the journey to this stage been?
There really are two ‘first years’ as a food and drink start up. There is the first year in the market, and the year before launch where everything really comes together. By the time we launched, the idea had been 18 months in the pipeline, and there had been plenty of hard work and thinking involved in getting everything to the point where it could be made and sold in store. We’ve learnt a lot already, but know the real hard work is just beginning!
I love some of the flavour combos you guys offer! Have you got a personal favourite?
We’ve tried to create a range of flavours to please everyone. Cucumber & Mint and Lemon & Ginger offer clean, revitalising drinks whilst Raspberry & Lime and Blackberry offer the refreshing taste of more traditional fruits. We love them all and it really depends on what we are looking for at that precise moment!
How do you intend to market your drinks?
As a start up with small budgets, we want to build the brand through word of mouth and build buzz around what we are trying to do. We believe consumers are drinking too much sugar and sweetener and that they are really sweet enough already. A lot of our marketing will be around introducing people to the drink and brand for the first time in a fun exciting way!
Why do you think everyone in Britain suddenly has a thirst for alternative waters?
We think consumers are beginning to realise that there really is nothing better for you than water. Quite often drinks are packed into pretty packages and promise the world without delivering. Consumers want tasty, functional products that are 100% natural and genuinely good for them. Alternative waters and infused waters sit alongside traditional water products as a great way to stay hydrated without drinking a tonne of sugar, sweetener or artificial ingredients.
What are the first steps that anyone should take when turning a business idea into a reality?
Starting a business really requires a lot of thought and hard work up front to test if it can be a genuine business entity. The first question to ask yourself is; does this product or service solve a genuine problem for your target customer? If the answer is yes, then you’re heading in the right direction. When you know the answer to this, you need to understand whether there is a market for your product – will consumers buy x at y price and can you get in front of the right people. If you can answer these questions, then you probably have a viable business.
I love some of Ugly Drink’s web copy. What is key to having compelling copy?
Writing the brand’s copy was one of the biggest challenges Joe and I faced when bringing the brand to life. Where we found success was when we were as natural as possible and tried to speak in our own tone and style. This way, writing copy became less of a challenge and really allowed us to express ourselves.
Complete this sentence: I wish I could ... so that I could visit … and … with all the …
I wish I could cook Michelin starred food so that I could visit all of the best restaurants and hang out with all the best chefs.
This is important: what’s your favourite 90’s pop song?
Tough one…there are so many to choose from… but if pushed would have to go for Tubthumping – Chumbawumba.
So, Joe and Hugh, what does the next 12 months have in store for Ugly Drinks?
We are excited to introduce as many people as possible to Ugly over the next 12 months. We want it to be really accessible for consumers both in terms of price and availability, so we will hopefully be popping up in more and more stores over the coming months. We are driven to give consumers more choice…so hopefully that’s what we can do!