Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Antoine Crettaz, Founder and Owner of hellowhale, located in Salgesch, Valais, Switzerland.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
hellowhale is a DTC & Online focused beer brand established in late 2021. We believe that the beer world is ready for DTC and e-commerce and that innovation and digitalization are the keys to success in offering our customers a unique beer experience. Our customers enjoy ordering premium craft beer and merch fast, carbon neutrally, and shipping free while benefiting from a generous loyalty program.
Tell us about yourself
In 2019, I developed the concept of a brewery selling beer 100% online and DTC – something that, to date, no brewery has achieved in a sustainable way. While this may seem an extreme approach in an industry heavily relying on foreign distribution channels, that’s exactly the motivation behind this project: offering a new and disruptive proposition to this industry. What drives me is curiosity: why should things only work according to a certain pattern? Aren’t there any other solutions? Can my approach work?
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Two key things:
- Rethinking loyalty in the beer industry: with “hellowhale thank you”, we offer probably the most long-lasting and generous loyalty program in the industry. Our customers appreciate very much being rewarded, something they weren’t used to at all in an industry playing the price card and driven by discounts.
- A new approach to shipping in the beer industry: our customers can order beer and merch, shipping free from 4.00 USD nationwide. We’re able to propose such an offer thanks to our advantageous cost structure. You won’t find a lot of breweries out there able to compete with us.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Your journey as an entrepreneur. The road is quite unpredictable, full of surprises, and bumpy. You can hardly follow your plan, even if you carefully planned it. Things usually are much harder and take more resources than anticipated, so be mentally prepared to go many times for the extra mile. But there are so many moments of joy and happiness and positive feedback from your customers that give you so much energy to continue on your path.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know yourself: recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Continue to develop your talents while fixing your areas of improvement. Invest in both. Surround yourself with experts and find people smarter than you. And don’t be afraid to ask them for help. You’ll be surprised by people’s helpfulness.
- Less is more: always stay focused, be clear about what you want, and stick to the essentials. Simplify to the max and strive for convenience. Don’t lose yourself in overly ambitious goals with too complicated executions that rob you of too many resources. Take one step at a time.
- Be ready to pivot: things rarely happen the way you imagine them to happen. Be flexible. Adjust your strategy and actions where needed. Let go of wrong beliefs. Don’t see it as a defeat but as a way to grow.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.