Lucy Smith, founder Neurita Tequila

Lucy Smith, founder Neurita Tequila

Carvnig a niche marketplace within a sector

Crafted to be the perfect Tequila base for Margarita cocktails and mixing. Neurita’s range of naturally flavoured Tequila are fruit infused, removing the need to add sugary triple sec syrup into Margaritas. So the UK’s #1 trending cocktail, Margaritas, are therefore simpler to make and lower in sugar.

Founder, Lucy Smith chats to Business Matters and shares her journey …

What made you start your business – did you want to rock the status quo or was it a gap in the marketplace that you could fill?

I have always loved Margaritas and through my work as a brand consultant on food and beverage brands have always followed market trends. I understood that Tequila was having a regeneration in other markets but when I looked at the UK Tequila category found it very traditional, and stoic in tone, contrasting the uplifting fun Margarita moments I drink Tequila in. I wanted to shake up what it meant to be a serious Tequila brand.

What are your brand values?

Neurita is a premium Tequila brand, authenticity, realness, inclusiveness is core to who we are and what we do. We are also here for Margarita moments so ‘fun’ would be a core personality trait that filters across to our values, we’re Tequila after all. Why do you need to be stone faced and serious to be a serious player?

Do your values define your decision making process?

Yes they do, from the manner in the way we communicate to our consumers to the agencies and suppliers we use. I’ve worked in the industry for close to 20 years and understand that authenticity and ‘realness’ is key to building long last relationships. Also that you can’t be all work and no play.

Is team culture integral to your business?

Yes, great team culture is core to the success of any brand. There is a number of people working on Neurita whom all uphold our values. Everyone working on the business I’d be happy to have a Marg with at the end of the week. That’s from shareholders to suppliers. We’re all in this together.

How do you go the extra mile to show your team you appreciate them?

Marg O’Clock is our shrine moment at the end of the week, the put down your tools and have a Marg moment. This is something we encourage in the team, it’s a celebration of what we’ve achieved together.

In terms of your messaging do you think you talk directly to your consumers in a clear fashion?

Yes, Neurita is very single minded that we are ‘Tequila crafted for Margaritas’. Single minded messaging is key to any brand when launching to avoid confusion but also utilize marketing budgets.

What’s your take on inflation and interest rates – are you going to pass that on to your customers or let your margins take a hit and reward customer loyalty in these tougher times?

At this stage no, we are instead reviewing how to reduce internal costs / cut out any waste. Every cost and raw material is increasing to be honest. We’ve bought raw materials in bulk to avoid short term increases and currency flux. I believe that as business it’s our responsibility to put our loyal consumers first.

How often do you assess the data you pull in and address your KPIs and why?

Everyday we’re reviewing, but also on a monthly basis we have a review of sales, consumer feedback, media, demand planning, our budgets and our overall strategy. Given the shifting nature of FMCG at the moment, our strategy is evolving on a monthly basis which we can do as we’re smaller and flexible. This is a great competitive advantage for us vs bigger players.

Is tech playing a much larger part in your day-to-day running of your company?

Absolutely, there are many platforms through our suppliers we’re using to help with the day to day. From accounting software, media tracking to flexibility in newer banking technologies. We also work remotely as a team (all scattered around different cities and countries).

What is your attitude to your competitors?

I think if your proposition is built on solid consumer insight it shouldn’t matter what your competitors are doing. You need to be aware of whom they are, their products innovation & sales promotions etc, but just because a competitor jumps it doesn’t mean you should too.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in business?

2 minds are better than 1, 3 minds are even better. One of the core reasons we have had success so early and are building at the rate we are is due to the team we have. We all have different views on things, challenge each other but also bring different skillsets to the team. This is key. You have good and bad days and weeks, a team also helps keep you going.

It can be a lonely and pressured place to be as the lead decision maker of the business. What do you do to relax, recharge and hone your focus?

I am big believer in writing down goals, both in business and in personal life. If you’re ever having a downer or feeling stressed it can be great to review and see how far you’ve come. A few Margs at the end of the week also helps!!

Do you believe in the 12 week work method or do you make much longer planning strategies? 

I believe in having longer term goals 1,3,5,10 years. While they are goals, they need to have flexibility in how you achieve them. Again, this is both within business and personal life . If anything the last few years has taught us is how uncertain the world can be and those that are resilient and flexible are the ones who will make it.

What is your company’s eco strategy?

This is very important to us. We were very eco conscious when launching Neurita, looking to use only recyclable or reusable materials. We import our Tequila in bulk to the UK and bottle it locally so we’re not ‘shipping glass and air’ for example. It’s something we continue to review in a ‘ eco value up waste out’ manner.

What three things do you hope to have in place within the next 12 months?

Listing in our ‘must have’ bars and restaurants (this is mapped out) Make Neurita Margaritas the at home cocktail in the UK of summer 2024 Listing in a major retailer

Cherry Martin

Cherry is Associate Editor of Business Matters with responsibility for planning and writing future features, interviews and more in-depth pieces for what is now the UK’s largest print and online source of current business news.

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