Dragons’ Den success stories: Craft Clubs (and what you can learn from them)

Following Sarah Willingham’s investment, this gin and wine subscription box service now has 25,000 customers and is on track for a £7.5m turnover

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Company name: Craft Clubs
Description: A subscription box service delivering monthly artisan gins and sparkling wines, along with snacks and magazines, to subscribers
Series: 14
Year: 2016
Investment received: £75,000 for 12.5% equity
Dragon investor: Sarah Willingham

Capitalising on the soaring popularity of gin and the growing appetite among drinkers for ever more interesting brands and flavours, is Craft Gin Club (operated by Craft Clubs).

The business operates as a subscription service, sending customers artisan gin and mixers – along with tasty snacks and a copy of the club magazine – each month.

Founded in 2015 by Jon Hulme and John Burke, the business impressed in the Den and Touker Souleyman, Sarah Willingham, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones all made offers.

Following a fiery negotiation, the pair accepted Willingham’s offer of £75,000 in exchange for 12.5% equity; the investor’s successful background in the drinks sector – along with her surprise admission that she was already a Craft Gin Club customer – making her their favoured Dragon.

Now, the business is cashing in on the marketing opportunity that it can offer to drink and snack brands by sending their products to its subscribers. In May 2016, Craft Clubs launched a second subscription service: Bubble Club, which focuses on sparkling wines in place of gin.

Together, Craft Gin Club and Bubble Club boast a combined 25,000 active customers, over 150,000 email subscribers and 400,000 social media followers.

In a toast to its success, earlier this year Craft Clubs was selected as one of the top 100 start-ups in the UK, ranking at an impressive 14th overall, and according to the business, 2017’s turnover is on track to hit £7.5m.

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