Q&A with Natasha Durling, co-founder of Lockdown Liquor & Co
Where did it all start?
We had just entered the first lockdown and my husband Jack and I found ourselves in a very unusual situation: we had a moment to breathe after 12 years of running a very fast growing business (Total Management Group ). We were forced to isolate ourselves at home, with three children under the age of eight, homeschooled, cooking and making drinks. We have always had a great love for great food and drink (especially cocktails and tequila!) And started a weekly Zoom call with a group of friends. As Easter weekend approached, we decided to whip up cocktails and drop them off at our friends Zoom – and just like that, the concept of Lockdown Liquor was born. Thanks to the power of social media, within a few weeks we were receiving over 500 orders per week. We quickly turned it into a formal business to keep up with the growth and something that started out as a fun way to raise money for the NHS quickly grew into a very meaningful business.
Can you tell us about a pinch moment?
About four months after launching the business, we released a small stake in our first round of investment, after being approached by an angel investor who saw the business reach a valuation of just over $ 4 million. of pounds sterling. It was mind-boggling because we had started in the most simplistic way possible, while doing everything with limited time and resources. We were exceptionally fortunate to have a team of people that we could bring together to help us make this big leap in the fast paced business that we were quickly becoming.
What key decisions did you make early on that got the company to where it is today?
We had a keen interest in Containment Liqueur & Co and we knew that if we wanted to swim with the big fish, the choices we made early on would be critical to how the business went. The Ready to Drink (RTD) category in the beverage industry is relatively new. Our vision for the company was coming to fruition, but we were getting there with business knowledge rather than industry knowledge, so it was a very new place for us. I worked and still work in a very distinct industry that had its challenges. People were surprised – there was this presumption that we were from the beverage industry, but in reality we had a very timely concept that worked for the times we were in. We knew from the start that we wanted to hire a strong leadership team and our first strategic hire was our Commercial Director, Mark Harris, who has over 20 years of industry experience.
You are also the founder of another company, Total Management Group. How do you manage to juggle between being the head of two companies?
One of the things that surprises people the most is that I have a whole different (and much bigger) business. Total Management Group (TMG) is an event, travel and design agency that I founded in 2006. People think I’m no longer involved with TMG – which couldn’t be further from the truth. However, this is at a very different stage from Lockdown Liquor. Before the pandemic, we were entering our fourth year of record growth with revenues exceeding £ 20million – and of course with that comes a very well-oiled, seasoned team.
The Managing Director and the COO of TMG both played an important role in allowing me to work in two very active companies and were instrumental in the formation of Lockdown Liquor & Co. I think our team going through the two companies linked them in many ways. , allowing me to move the two forward without having to choose a seat at either table. I want to sit at both and hopefully bring value and experience to each, but it’s entirely my team that allows me to do that. It’s an exceptionally busy time for us, but I’m savoring the challenge ahead and I’m so excited for what’s to come.