In this chapter of Start-Up Stories we spoke to Richard Pollentine, the founder of Sober. Sober are a delicious range of mocktails, an alcohol free alternative that stands out. Richard gives his outlook on the importance of brand, his story and more…
What is Sober?
We are a brand of mocktails developed from my passion to find something new on the market that fits with what I’m looking for. I don’t drink and haven’t in over a decade, I never really liked the flavour, so the trends of non-alcoholic beers and spirits simply don’t appeal to me and millions of others. I wanted to create something fun and inclusive of all and so #Sober was born.
What makes you guys different from ‘run-of-the-mill’ soft drinks?
We are different because we are one of the first brand of mocktails on the market and are aimed at fun-loving laid-back customers who are looking for a funky alternative to alcohol, but something a bit different and more vibrant than the usual.
You have significant marketing experience; how did this help you when launching Sober?
I always had an interest in what makes a successful brand and what they do to resonate and appeal to their audience.
“I think marketing should be very targeted and come from genuine values, I’ve worked for companies who did not take this on board and others that did, and the results are dramatic.”
How important is establishing brand when bringing a new product to market?
The brand I believe is the most important thing to create an impact. Everyone who has seen the #Sober brand always has a second look, whether its the bright colours or the logo, and whether they like it or not, they always notice it. The feedback so far from consumers has been great with so much interest already. The word sober sounds so serious but I have created a new take on it, its fun and not meant to be taken too seriously, just like me!
If you could have one celebrity advocate for the brand who would it be? Why?
Calvin Harris, he doesn’t drink but he knows how to give a great gig.
Describe Sober in 3 words…
“Fun, vibrant and maverick!”
What advice would you give to fellow entrepreneurs looking to start their own FMCG business?
Learn from everyone who has done it before, ignore those who haven’t and who want to doubt you. Take your time, you will make lots of mistakes but its all part of the story. Try and learn some life balance, I haven’t managed this but learning to take some time out is important if you can switch off.
Where can people find your delicious drinks?
Currently we are in discussions with a number of universities and some holiday and adventure parks, plus a major UK distributor so soon they will hopefully be everywhere.
What does the future hold for Sober?
We want to be the UK’s non-alcoholic drink of choice and expand to the middle east, Asia and America int he next few years.