Our journey so far is a tale of evolution. I am not a science head and therefore not versed in the subject of evolution, but it often feels that creativity and evolution might be the most powerful forces on earth. For us, there was no big bang to start with, just a quiet entrance through an open side door. This was a door that we had created with the creation of our first business in 2011 and later quietly exited when we ran out of cash and were forced to close that business.
Few would know that because I dusted myself down and relaunched,registering a new company and keeping the brand name. Almost as if nothing had ever happened. I didn’t know what I was doing first time round and with a terrible operator at the helm, the business didn’t have much of a chance.
My role in those early days was similar to that of many other founders of startups. I did everything; from sourcing ingredients to preparing and packaging the drinks, deliveries, accounts, marketing, business development, social media, and so on.
As we enter our fifth year, I am delighted that we have a reasonably healthy and sustainable cash flow that can support a small team that we have built. Let me introduce you to the guys and tell you how we all contribute to the Icely Done project.
Until we hired Katy, Icely Done HQ was much like my mind – chaotic.
We had survived the early years with me, as Founder/Operator doing pretty much everything, whilst maintaining a job as a cocktail bartender to pay the bills.
Beyond hiring my mum, and then young college guys on summer holidays to help me in the kitchen, I had never hired someone whose livelihood would depend on the business, and me not running it in to the ground, again.
Katy is a revelation. She has more life skills/experience, qualifications and everything else than me and she is many more things that I am not which is what made her a great first addition. She is structured, organised, tidy, disciplined, self-motivated and hardworking. Any orders that we receive, whether it is from a fixed bar, or from a festival bar operator, are processed by her and her small team.
That’s everything from planning through to preparation of our blends to getting them ready for delivery to our customers. She embodies our “thirst for the remarkable” and our HQ and general output is that little bit better at the end of every day as a result of her endeavours.
We hired Paul in October 2017. We had just agreed to supply our products to Be At One bars and we needed more hands in the kitchen. Katy was off work having donated a kidney in an act of kindness I applaud, knowing full well that it’s something that I could never do. Paul’s trial shift was with me on a Friday and we were tasked with preparing our Tangled Roots blend in quantities that we could never have anticipated. This meant that Paul and I spent hours hunched over our sinks peeling never ending boxes of ginger root with potato peelers, before juicing it, turning it in to a syrup and finally blending it with lemon juice. Unbelievably, Paul didn’t complain and he even came back in over the weekend to help me fulfil the rest of the orders. When I asked him if he still wanted the job after a pretty gruelling weekend, I was amazed that he said yes and we are still lucky to have him with us.
He was previously in the Army but left after suffering a knee injury. The Army’s loss was our gain. Paul has incredible focus and discipline and a quiet, almost Stoic determination, thoroughness and efficiency. He also has an awesome palate, remarkable for someone who has never previously worked with drinks. He makes an awesome sounding board when we are preparing new blends, or evolving recipes.
Zane and I worked together as cocktail bartenders at The Hawksmoor a few years back. He was a really solid bartender and I always loved being on shift with him as he has a great sense of humour balanced with the ability to get the job done. I always use to say that I’d love to hire him if ever we could afford him so I was delighted when the opportunity arose, and when it did, I didn’t hesitate. The opportunity came as a result of Zane himself. In summer 2017, Zane was employed by Hayman’s gin. We met a couple of times at Icely Done HQ and developed some pretty tasty drinks combining our blends with Hayman’s gin. He pitched these drinks to Be At One bars throughout 2017 as they worked towards their winter menu and to our delight and astonishment, an evolved version of the drinks made it on to their new menu. This was an incredible confidence and economic boost to our young company and it meant that there was an opening in our company to look after Be At One as a National Account Manager, as well as help find other venues like them. As he was looking around for a new challenge, he was the only man for the job, particularly as the job wouldn’t have existed without him. He joined us full-time on January 1st this year and has been a revelation ever since.
Louise joined us back in March to create and lead our Marketing department.
Her role is to help unfold and tell our story through our website and various other channels, both digital and otherwise. She brings bags of experience and enthusiasm to the role and I am delighted that we have the opportunity to tell our story and begin the long-term process of building a bit of a community around our mission and values. I value her input not least because my personal productivity has had to increase dramatically. I am forced to get up at stupid-o-clock to find time to write blog posts like these which wouldn’t otherwise happen.
You don’t need to be the most observant to notice that Stephanie and I share the same surname. It’s a beast of a name. The first family member to work for Icely Done since my mum put the shifts in, in those early days. This time she’ll be paid, unlike my poor mum. It’s great having my little sister on board although we need to work harder at keeping work discussions off the menu at our family barbecues. She spends her days processing orders and working with our transport partners to ensure that our frozen drinks machines and stock make it in and back out of festivals alive. She has a Law degree and a variety of experience and the business benefits more and more each day as she increasingly gets to grips with the operational obstacles. The challenge will be to keep her against the lure of 18 hour days chained to a desk in a law firm. I like our chances.
Last but not least. Me
I see myself as a person in debt and service to our young and evolving team.
My primarily purpose is to give structure and focus to their newly created roles and then to serve and facilitate them, doing my best not to be a hindrance and an obstacle.
Easier said than done when you are the overly-precious founder of the business.
With the above set in motion, I will start to dedicate more of my working time to things like product and drinks development, collaborations and partnerships, development of our people and HQ, blogging, shooting videos as well as strategy and direction of the business and the associated infrastructure and financial planning. These are the things that I believe that the project needs me to be doing and it’s a contribution that I will relish.
If you like what we’re about and would like to join the crusade and work with us, please get in touch.
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