Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christina Delay, Co-Founder and CEO of Altina Drinks, located in Sydney, NSW, Australia.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are Altina Drinks, a five-year-old non-alcoholic beverage brand with a clearly articulated goal: to change the Australian drinking cultures that my co-founder Alan Tse and I sought to escape. Our customers are diverse and encompass a broad range of individuals with varying backgrounds, preferences, and reasons for seeking non-alcoholic alternatives. For instance, we appeal to those who are sober curious and seeking new experiences without the intoxicating effects of alcohol. We also cater to individuals who have made a conscious decision to eliminate alcohol from their lives for various reasons, such as health concerns or personal beliefs. Additionally, we offer options for pregnant women, designated drivers, and individuals who want to enjoy socializing without consuming alcohol. We also provide a great solution for workplaces that wish to promote non-alcohol-fueled socializing among their employees. Our offerings cater to a wide array of customers, and we continually strive to meet their needs and preferences.
Tell us about yourself
I was once entrenched in the corporate drinking culture. Networking events, extended lunches, and after-work socializing, all centered around alcohol, had consumed my co-founder Alan Tse and me. At one point, I was consuming three to four bottles of alcohol each week, which disrupted my sleep, impacted my mood, and hindered my productivity. In 2018, my irritable bowel syndrome triggered me to cut back my alcohol intake, significantly improving my overall health. Nonetheless, I struggled to participate in the same social activities without alcohol. This led Alan and me to wonder if we could create a non-alcoholic beverage that could replicate the experience of drinking wine paired with food or craft beer. And thus, Altina was born. The impact we are making on Australia's drinking culture is what keeps me motivated and dedicated to the Altina journey.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
There have been so many, but I guess our recent awards are pretty up there. We picked up six awards at the World Non-Alcoholic Awards this month, including Gold for our Sansgria and Bronze for our Finger Lime Sauvignon Blanc. Each of our other four drinks received commendations.
Here's what the judges had to say about Sangria:
"Vibrant purple in color, this is an exuberant cornucopia of plush dark fruits - blackberries, black cherries - with some orange and vanilla undertones. Aided by gentle petulance, the palate is less sweet than you'd expect, with a slightly spicy sour-cherry finish. Drunk lightly chilled and garnished, it's a great sipping-wine alternative."
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being adaptive and knowing when to pivot. For example, when business events and hospitality venues shut down during COVID, demand for Altina Drinks' non-alcoholic beverages fell by 80%. As co-founder, I knew we needed to change something since there was no sign of reopening. We were worried about the future of our business in the next few months. Like one-third of Australian small businesses, we adjusted our business model during the lockdown to cater to a changing market. We fast-tracked the launch of our national website and subscription service, which had already been planned for a few months.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know when to pivot - challenges are inevitable, but there is always a solution, and often that means adapting your offering to changing circumstances or market conditions.
- Listen to your customers - they will always tell you what they want, what they like, and what they don't. Their feedback can help you continuously improve your business and achieve the growth you aim for.
- Self-care - ensure to take time out for yourself to avoid burnout. One of the main self-care things I turn to is yoga; it clears my mind and keeps me strong.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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