Back in March 2020, Mike told me he and Charlie had made a gin…. you know when you think wait… what..!? hhmmmm ok, are you sure!??
‘Flats Gin’ was born, I was bullied into buying a bottle and actually it was pretty good…
A couple of weeks and what seemed to be lots of in-house sampling later, the first Big Seven rolled off the still (which to my untrained eye looked like a potentially lethal pressure cooker)
I bought a bottle – gotta support the cause and sat it on my shelf as part of my collection…. well everyone knows I’m a vodka girl!
After about a month, one sunny summer Saturday evening, whilst I was at my Dad’s in lockdown Mike messaged and said.. ‘we need to sell some gin, do you know anyone who might buy some?’
Now most people who know me are well aware that everyone I know loves a drink and a good time, and I love a challenge… so the dice was thrown…
I sent a few texts to various family and friends and I think I sold 6 that evening. (more than they had done for a while) I got a real buzz when someone said oh yes that’s sounds great I’ll have one and I could ping the money into their business bank account, especially as I hadn’t actually tried mine at that point!
After that Mike and I had loads more conversations about botanicals, possible new flavours, filtration, branding, bottles, selling and general gin chat.. being on furlough at the time it was great to have something to research and actually think about whilst I was sunbathing in the garden…
….. and then about a month later came the text…
‘We’ve been thinking, do you fancy being our sales manager..?’
Hell yes! As long as you make me a vodka at some point…. I replied… and there it was.. I was in and my business cards were being printed!
Some people thought I was mad and probably still do; are you sure you want to work with them, what are you doing, you’re not getting paid…but if truth be told, I’ve loved the whole journey so far and feel very lucky to be part of it.. I think I’m a pretty good judge of character, and I’ve certainly not been proved wrong so far.
Having worked with both Charlie and Mike within travel retail for 5 and 10 years respectively I think I’ve got a pretty good idea what they’re like.. even more so now..?
Charlie knows what he wants and goes all out to get it…. Brutally honest and not always tactful, and is getting slightly better at receiving feedback … but you know where you stand (I love that!) Family comes first and he loves to Hoover, I’ve never heard a guy talk about his Shark so passionately before (yes that is actually his Hoover) .. Charlie controls the purse strings, anything that needs to be read and actioned he’s your man, he updates the website, plays computer games pretty badly, but he’ll do whatever is needed to get the job done with a smile, although he doesn’t seem to love the limelight quite as much as his partner in crime..
Mike loves his hair, is driven to do better for himself and Emma (his daughter who wants a house with a garden), doesn’t love drama, is the thinker and reader (unless it’s an email which he 100% skims over!) He loves a bit, actually a lot of research, is the distiller and flavour creator. I would call him the nose but that title has already been taken, and he’d probably get the hump! ? He can talk for hours about stuff he knows about to anyone who will listen, gets frustrated and has less patience than me when people don’t respond in a timely manner, takes pretty good photos, still cant quite believe people buy gin he has made, and beats Charlie at said video game more often than not. I have also discovered he is a bit of a worrier…. I suppose he has to reign in Charlie and now me so I don’t really blame him..?
Both the guys are really passionate about getting this off the ground and good fun to be around…They compliment each other really well…..
So what do I bring to the party?
Well I’ve been in hospitality or sales my whole career. I love a challenge, I’m not afraid of hard work, although my computer skills are a little lacking. I will do whatever is needed, enjoy building rapport with people, general spell checker/ English teacher and try to keep them from getting into too much trouble. I love finding new avenues to get Big Seven to market. I had a huge smile on my face the day we got a square on the grid of the Gin Couple on Instagram… it’s the simple things….
I’m pretty calm and level headed but can be feisty and I will definitely stand up for what I think is right. (that’s my Libra/ Scorpio mix) I’m pretty direct, and have a habit of saying what everyone else thinks, whether that’s good or bad, you usually don’t need to ask what I think, my face says it all (family trait!?) I also love a drink and a party, life is far too short to be any other way!
Big Seven has changed the way I think about gin, and my enjoyment has grown…. (as long as it’s with anything other than tonic.. ) I have to love something to be able to sell it..
The journey so far has been crazy and I’m loving every minute… It’s the best feeling when we get an email to say we have had a sale, someone would like to include Big Seven in their monthly box, or add it to their website …
We’ve had lots of laughs, a few moments of panic, my sense of direction is getting slightly better and we have put in some hours to get it to where it is today..
Big Seven has its place in the market and there are so many more things to come…
Keep your eyes peeled and keep supporting the brand…
The day will come when the side hustle is a beast, vodka will be running from the still, as well as gin and all the other amazing things in the pipeline. I am looking forward to those days and I know the guys are too….
Bring on the hard work, and laughs… We’ve got this!
To Mike & Charlie, a big THANK YOU for taking me on your journey with you! ?