A YOUNG entrepreneur originally from Annaclone has rocked the Dragons’ Den, winning the backing of two of the multi-millionaire judges with her ‘Rocktails’ cocktails.
Helen McAvoy, along with her business partner Naomi Kibble, walked away from the deal of £80,000 - but still went on to secure a national listing with supermarket giant, Sainsburys.
The pair presented their fruity, frozen cocktails on the hit television show and impressed ‘Dragons’ Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne who between them shook on a deal and agreed to inject £80,000 into the brand.
However, weeks after filming the deal broke down and Helen and Naomi decided their business was worth more than the predicted figure.
Helen, a former Sacred Heart student who attributes her business acumen to working in the school tuck shop, said, “We agree with Peter that you do need luck in business, but we also feel the harder you work, the luckier you get. Signing a deal only the basis of some potential contacts didn’t seem like the right business decision.”
Despite walking away from the deal, the young entrepreneurs have signed a deal with Sainsburys which has seen Rocktails extended to over 100 stores within a matter of months.
Interest has also been expressed from a number of other retailers who plan to list the product early next spring.
“For us, it was the easy option to accept the deal and gain some quick wins,” added Helen, “but we didn’t think it was right for the business in the long term.
“It has been great that everyone is taking so much interest in Rocktails and even better that our loyal consumers can now get hold of it in more places other than just our website.”
With trading having started just last summer, the Cardiff univeristy friends are amazed at the early success of their unique brand, with production already expanded to meet consumer demand.
Like many good ideas, Rocktails was born out of frustration after the pair were left unimpressed by cocktail bars with no mixologist or when they tried to recreate the taste at home: “There are so many ingredients which are needed to make a quality drink and when I tried to make a great cocktail at home, I always ended up forgetting about a vital element and it tasted awful,” said Helen. “That’s why we set up Rocktails which is all about being able to provide a high quality drink which looks fabulous and tastes amazing.”
Three flavours are currently on the market - Elderflower and Cucumber Crush, Raspberry and Pulsed Pear and Passionfruit and Pineapple Fusion - but more are on the way: “We’ve loads of other flavours in the pipeline and we have even tested a chili and plum flavour, but I think that will be kept firmly at the back of the freezer for now!”