Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in alcohol free cocktails but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christopher Lackner, co-owner of jeng, located in Lafayette, CO.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are an alcohol-free, hemp-infused, ready-to-drink cocktail company. Our drinks are perfect for people who want to enjoy the full cocktail experience without the constraints (and hangovers) that come with drinking alcohol.
Tell us about yourself
John Enghauser (fellow co-founder and college friend) and I saw a gap in the CBD beverage marketplace. Most of the drinks we tried were lacking in flavor and seemed to be more of a CBD "delivery device." We decided to create a drink that was "flavor first," that had complexity, and that would be a reward for the sober curious consumer.
The thing about entrepreneurship is that motivation comes in the small wins you experience throughout the week. We've had some big wins recently, like being mentioned in Thrillist and Newsweek, but it's the little wins that really keep us motivated. New accounts, repeat customers, or hearing someone say they really like your product, those are the true inspirations.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We're very proud of some recent successes. We're in Boisson in New York, which is an alcohol-free spirit shop. We're in a chain of IGAs in the Hamptons, and we recently secured a distributorship in Chicago. These are all big wins for us.
But I think the biggest accomplishment has been our ability to keep growing during a very difficult time. It's not easy to start a company during a pandemic, but we've made some good decisions and have been very smart with our growth strategy.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Running a business can be quite stressful. It's easy to get overwhelmed. You really need to take steps to manage your work/life balance, otherwise it can easily take over your life.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First off, recognize that business is a marathon, not a sprint.
Second, there will be errors and setbacks in the beginning that may seem to be catastrophic and cause you to doubt yourself. Learn to shake those off and move on. This is critical.
Third, continually seek out the advice of others. Talk to your vendors, your retailers, even your competitors. Many people have already been down the path you are taking, and most of those folks are happy to offer up good advice.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.