Feel Good Drinks: David Wallwork
If awards were given for happy staff, Feel Good Drinks would be a shoe-in. Co-founder David Wallwork explains why the firm has a smile on its face
Feel Good Drinks is an appropriately named company. Not only are its products both healthy and tasty, but the working atmosphere at the business appears to be similarly refreshing.
Staff get on so well that they reportedly go on spur-of-the-moment picnics and hold ‘Feel Good Days’. Clearly, David Wallwork, along with the other two co-founders of Feel Good Drinks, has ensured that the business is powered by happy staff, along with healthy profits. The firm’s motto, appropriately, is Live Life, Laugh Lots and Feel Good.
“I’ve always been pretty independent and I’ve always liked to make things happen, work hard and have fun – I guess they’re pre-requisites for the kind of thing I’m doing now,” Wallwork explains. “Feel Good Drinks is a great team doing something which is really satisfying – building a healthy, positive brand which consumers and retailers love.”
Feel Good Drinks was founded in 2001 by Wallwork, Chris Wright and Steve Cooper. The trio had worked together developing new products at Coca-Cola, but realised there was a gap in the market for a healthy drinks company.
After securing over £500,000 from business angel investors, the business was launched and now commands a turnover of £3 million, with drinks sold in over 6,500 outlets in the UK. The company’s product range has expanded from three to eight flavoured drinks.
“The inspiration came from the three of us talking about all things healthy and positive and recognising that almost everything which is good for you is devoid of taste and frankly pretty boring,” says Wallwork. “For that we challenged ourselves to develop a range of utterly delicious, absolutely refreshing drinks made with quality healthy ingredients and put the drink in a cool bottle with a fun label.”
Wallwork was warned that finding buyers of his products would be difficult, but the experience of the directors, along with the Feel Good factor, enabled them to get a foot in the door.
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“In most cases we’ve found buyers keen to move beyond the usual offerings and to offer consumers something truly new and different – we’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response,” he says. “Now the big challenge is recruitment – we always need more positive, feel good people to work with our customers – we interviewed 50 people before we recruited our latest sales guy.”
Unsurprisingly, Wallwork is similarly positive about the UK as a place to do business, claiming that the country possesses the “best retailers in the world.”
“It’s too easy to moan about regulation and competitive pressures, we reckon that being flexible and creative and by taking a positive approach to every opportunity or issue, small businesses can get close to consumers and be really successful in the UK,” he insists.
“The guys I admire are people like shopkeepers running independent local businesses – they understand their customers, put in the long hours and work incredibly hard.
“Anyone who sets out to create a business from nothing, aims high and keeps smiling when things gets tough is an inspiration.”