Jules Quinn: Popaball
Fizzing with bright ideas, this ‘pimp your drinks’ specialist is riding the crest of the UK’s booze revolution
Jules Quinn, 30
You might not have noticed, but Britain has been gripped by a revolution these past few years.
No, we’re not talking about the political earthquakes triggered by Jeremy Corbyn and the Brexiteers, or the razor-edge stuff coming out of Tech City.
We’re talking about the revolution in the country’s drinking habits.
Britain’s alcohol market has traditionally been dominated by beer and lager, but recently the country’s developed a taste for the fizzier stuff.
Last year we bought 51 million gallons of gin and drank 36 million gallons of prosecco, as people all over the country moved away from austere pub culture and towards the glittering lights of bars, gastro-venues and creating eye catching drinks in the comfort of their own home.
All of which is great news for Popaball, a ‘pimp your drinks’ company which has ridden the sparkly revolution to meteoric success.
Launched in 2014, Popaball offers beverage accessories such as flavoured shimmer, which make drinks sparkly and add flavour, and ‘bursting bubbles’ which burst in the mouth with fruity flavour. Their fun and tasty products can be added to gin, prosecco and cocktails, perfectly capturing the fizzy zeitgeist.
Founder Jules Quinn started her entrepreneurial journey by launching the TeaShed in 2011, developing the idea while out on tea-buying duties during her work experience. She launched Popaball as a spin-off three years ago, but the venture has grown into a fully-fledged operation in its own right, pulling in clients such as John Lewis, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges through a steady, organic growth strategy.
The company, based in Newcastle, is driven by a young workforce, 85% of whom are under 35. Quinn says she looks for a twinkle in people’s eyes when hiring new staff, matching the bewitching shimmer of her product, and has fostered a no-fear culture which allows her team to constantly strive for new products.
As well as courting the major department stores, Popaball has a team dedicated to independent traders, ensuring penetration at all points in the market.
Quinn says Popaball has experienced some difficulties this year, notably through the General Data Protection Regulation and changes in the way Facebook shows posts, but she adds that the company is pushing through these temporary glitches.
Popaball is starting to enter the on-trade market, selling directly to bars and restaurants, and exports will be a major focus of 2019, with Australia – a country which likes a drink just as much as the UK – firmly in focus.