Claire Hall, Drinks Entrepreneur, Percy's Vodka Iced Teas

The best thing is I am on my own and all decisions are mine. The worst thing is I am on my own and all decisions are mine! A good thing however is that every day is different and you just never know what’s around the corner.

Claire Hall - alumna360x360 - Percy's Vodka Tea 

We recently spoke with alumna Claire Hall, drinks entrepreneur and founder of Percy’s Vodka Iced Teas.

First developed in a bucket in the kitchen of a friend’s flat in London in 2005, Percy’s has gone from strength to strength and is now cornering the market as the quintessentially British drink with a twist!

We caught up with Lincolnshire-based Claire to hear the latest about her venture:

Who or what inspired you to start Percy’s?

It was while I was drinking a fruit tea at work, I decided that an alcoholic iced version would be a great alternative to all the drinks out there. It was something a bit different and not so sweet. From that thought I never stopped…

What is a typical day for you?

Every day is so different and involves all stages of building a business - production, marketing, pitching for investment.. My working week is typical all day every day - I start at 6am and finish when I finish. 

What’s been your biggest challenge?

Production and manufacturing in small batches has been a challenge, although I’m currently seeking further investment to automate production to help meet demand. I’m also developing new products. It’s a very exciting time for the business.

Who or what motivates you?

It’s quite simple really - my friends, my family and the passion for my product ‘Percy’s’.

What notable highlights have there been on your journey?

I’ve pitched to some well known entrepreneurs including Peter Jones and Jo Malone as part of televised shows and earlier this year, I was shortlisted in the top 50 from over 2600 pitches in the ‘Growth Category’ of Richard Branson’s ‘Pitch to Rich’. I’ve taken part in the Jason Manford fronted TV programme ‘Money Pit’ where members of the public get the opportunity to invest in the ideas of hopeful entrepreneurs – including my own! I’ve recently won the 2015 Angel Manna Award, part of Angels Bring Business Awards and was named Boston Standard Business Awards’ ‘Young Business Person’ of 2015. I’ve also starting to sell Percy’s via ‘Not On The High Street’. It’s been a busy year!

How has being a graduate of our Media Studies course, helped you with your venture?

It might seem at odds with what I do now, but the course (Media Studies with Theatre Media Drama) has come in to its own as building a business is more than just having a business brain and a passion for a product. I am reliant upon the media, newspapers, TV and social channels to build awareness for Percy’s. It’s crucial for marketing and my training in media and video production has been invaluable.

What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business? 

I say follow your gut, but do listen and take on board what others say too. Work hard, stay focus and don’t lose sight of what matters in life and in your business. Get your priorities straight; love what you do as there will be highs and lows.