We chat to Felix Elliot-Berry, co-founder of Sibling Gin along with his brother and sisters. Based in Cheltenham, the young entrepreneurs grew up watching and helping their parents run a micro brewery on the family farm – distilling is in their blood.
Sibling was founded two years ago by four brothers and sisters – aged from 17 to 24. They are one of the few brands that distil their own gin – making them the youngest distillers of gin in the world. Felix Elliott-Berry, along with his sisters Clarice and Cicely, and brother Digby, set up Sibling after leaving school.
What was your inspiration and motivation to get started in business?
It’s not something I’ve ever really considered, but I think it probably came from my family. My parents run a brewery together, as well as other family members so it is a bit of a culture within our family. It takes a certain frame of mind to do it and I think when you’ve grown up around that environment it really helps.
How did your friends and family react to you starting a business?
I don’t think it was a huge surprise to anybody because we’ve always been interested in business. I think people find it interesting that four siblings can work together more than anything – nobody can work out how we manage to not kill each other!
How have you managed a work/life balance?
We were under no illusions that for at least a few years there is no balance whatsoever. Last year there were less than ten weekends that we weren’t on the road or distilling. Free time comes at a premium when you’re in such a competitive market but I’m sure one day we’ll find a balance!
What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
Our biggest challenge recently, was moving premises over the Christmas period – this was a huge strain on resources but a completely necessary move. Other than that the hardest consistent challenge over the last couple of years has been balancing production and sales – we have never seemed to be able to get any amount of stock saved up due to high demand and this has really pushed production to the limit at times.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
Be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked for less than you’ve ever been paid – and be prepared to pay your employees more than you pay yourself. Before we started we were told by a successful businessman that we should only spend £100 of every £1000 the business makes and we’ve tried to stick to that while we are expanding as well which has ensured the business hasn’t run out of money!
How do you expect your business to develop in the future?
In our new premises we have the scope to develop new products, which is something we’ve been itching to do for some time. We are also going to expand the events side of our business which is really exciting.