The Covid-19 pandemic undoubtedly affected millions of people and countless businesses across the company, but many used the downtime to consider their future and take their lives in a new direction.
One of the new companies that emerged from the lockdowns was Vibez Drinks, which was launched by Ivor and Eugene Paterson, a father-and-son team based in Birmingham, who we met at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham.
The company was launched in 2020 to produce a range of hibiscus-based sparkling and still soft drinks, which contain no added sugar and no artificial flavourings.
Whilst the depths of a lockdown might not have been the best time to launch a new business, Eugene explained what inspired him to want to produce the drink commercially: “Growing I watched my father, Ivor, make this refreshing drink for friends and family to enjoy during festive periods, which helped create the perfect vibe.
“The feedback was always positive and I realised that the drink had many health benefits. Alongside my father, I decided to create a unique tasting drink so the world could reap the benefits and enjoy, just as we did in the Patterson’s household.
“During the lockdown in 2020, mental and physical health were declining due to a lack of social interaction and isolation. We wanted to create something that could deliver a positive message and resonate with people, but more importantly, provide health benefits, creating a healthy body and mind.
The name for the company, Vibez Drink, was designed to be positive and inspirational, something that father and son are passionate about promoting, which is reinforced with the company’s dynamic, confident and bold branding.
After our brief meeting at the show we sent a few questions to Eugene so we could get a more detailed background of the company and here are the results:
Q: What are your respective backgrounds — what other activities, businesses have you and your father been involved with?
A: [Eugene Patterson aged 27] I studied Business Management and Entrepreneurship at Nottingham University, where I achieved a first class honours degree. I am passionate about travelling and I found my influence to start Vibez when travelling around South East Asia where I saw my dad’s recipe being consumed abroad. This sparked the idea to make an hibiscus-based drink in the UK.
[Ivor Patterson] I am Eugene’s father and have experience in banking and credit management. My recipe was inspired by my mother who would often make the drink for me when I was younger. I also enjoy watching films and spending time with my family.
Q: How long did it take to develop the drinks?
A: Research and development took approximately six months. We had to think of the brand name and conduct primary research to allow people to try different variations of drinks before releasing to the market. We gave out over 250 samples at a local gym and cafe, and to friends and family. The trial production of 500 cans allowed us to ensure that the taste was perfect.
Q: How to you plan to grow the business — will this need new premises?
A: We currently use a factory production in Devon, we have a MOQ of 4,000 cans and plan to scale to 12,000 cans by the end of the 2022.
We plan to be stock listed in over 50 stores across the UK and to improve our distribution channels via health store wholesalers and buyers.
Long-term, we would like to have our own canning line at our own premises where we can employee more people.
Q: How are you planning to raise the profile of the business?
A: We use various social media channels: Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. We will be producing more user-generated content, which will allow others to review the drink on a short video. We will also attend exhibitions and festivals to spread the word. We also have plans to sell on Amazon and improve our Trust Pilot reviews.
Q: Do you have any ambassadors that would help to raise awareness?
A: We are in the process of on-boarding brand ambassadors to help spread awareness.
Q: What is it like working as a father-and-son team?
A: It’s very enjoyable, Eugene focuses on sales and marketing. Ivor focuses on operations and finance. We both know our job roles and encourage each other. As we are family we are a lot more empathic and understand when it comes to making important business decisions.
It was a pleasure to meet Eugene and Ivor, who clearly have developed a solid foundation for an exciting business that produces drinks that not only taste good, but are also good for you.
For more information visit their website