In our previous blog post The Finders Journey – Starting a Distillery we talked about how we went from an idea while travelling, to putting wheels in motion. In this post I will share how we launched our business amidst a year that was not the average #2020.
With our debut product ready, our Finders Distillery Australian Dry Gin and our pozible campaign video completed, we were ready to press go on something that we had been working on behind the scenes for almost 2 years.
So, on the 16th March 2020 we put our pozible campaign live and watched excitedly as our first batch of gin started to sell, to say we were excited is an understatement. Simultaneously however, we watched as the world reacted to a growing virus threat, the coronavirus or covid-19. Australia closed its borders to all non-residents on the 20th of March and closed all non-essential services, putting the country into a forced lockdown on the 21st of March. A mere 5 days after we launched our business. There are a lot of things you can plan for when launching a small business, but a worldwide pandemic was not on our list.
Thankfully with the generous support of our family and friends we were able to raise 22.5K in our pozible campaign, which helped sustain us while the entire hospitality industry was in lockdown. We also saw some unbelievable support from our local community with Kyle setting up a covid safe shop in our distillery door during the lockdown. Thank you to everyone who bought from us during those first few months, we would not have survived 2020 without you.
While having a launch plan is smart business, you also need to know when to throw it out the window. While our debut gin was pre-selling on pozible, the first product to physically leave our distillery ended up being hand sanitiser. Something that was not in our plan and we could not have predicted manufacturing. We were grateful though to be able to produce something the local community desperately needed after a nationwide shortage, to help fight the pandemic.
So, a nationwide lockdown, closed borders, unemployment the highest it has been in 22 years and an unexpected second product, you might say was a recipe for disaster. Yet 10 months later we just distilled our 16th batch of gin, have added a vodka to our portfolio and welcomed hundreds of customers through the doors of our newly built tasting room.
As hard as starting a business in 2020 has been, one good thing it has brought is a move towards shopping local or shopping small. When you visit the distillery, it is just the two of us – Kyle & Georgia. We work the bar, serve the cocktails, run the tours, distil, bottle and hand label every batch of spirits. It is the size of our business that allows us to give every person that walks through the door a personal experience at our distillery, and we think a big reason why - considering the environment we launched in, we are still here.
A special mention to Allan Slade Constructions & Hawks Electrical for building our beautiful tasting room, Vitor Queiroz for helping us tell our story in our launch video and Toby Fenn for bringing our distillery to life with his photography.
We look forward to an even bigger 2021 for Finders and are excited to continue sharing our journey.