Would you walk away from a high-paying job, move country with your young family and start a brand-new venture from the ground up during a global pandemic Perhaps not, but that’s exactly what Laurence Brannigan did in summer 2020. And his crazy notion is paying off.
Today Laurence is Founder and Director of My Gin My Way, a one-stop, full-service consultancy of white-label gin. Currently selling to business and corporate entities who want to create bespoke, premium branded gin, the product is ideal for events, gifts and giveaways.
My Gin My Way covers everything from bottling, labelling, packaging and shipping. And you can even create your own unique recipe.
For those looking for an exceptional gin experience, the distillery used to make the gin can also produce gin using the ‘Old Tom’ manufacturing process.
“We customise everything from the idea you have to the finished product, we have in house graphic design and we have the genius distiller behind several big brand names on the high street in our team.”
As both the money and the brains behind the business, you might be forgiven for thinking that Laurence must have experience in distillery or hospitality industries. But, at 34, his career has been in sales of high-end watches and jewellery.
Before moving back to the UK, Laurence was living and working in Switzerland. Working for Movado – one of the world’s premier watchmakers – as International Sales Manager and working on brands such as HUGO BOSS, EBEL and Movado.
So, why turn to gin?
Laurence and his wife Vikki both come from close families and at New Year they have a big family gathering. Vikki’s cousin is a genius distiller and Laurence had been keen to collaborate on something for several years prior to launching My Gin My Way.
After many lengthy conversations with his business partner, the two men came up with My Gin My Way as a proposition, the idea being to make it your gin your way. And “we came up with a white labelling concept”.
“Myself and my co-founder saw a gap in the market for bespoke gin with an end-to-end full-service approach for corporate gifting. Or, for hotels, bars or pubs, why tell everyone a leading brand name is your “house gin” when you can have a bespoke one with your name on it and reinforce your own brand name and identity.”
“We went to Zak with this idea. Proposed how we could work together. And it was really something that they needed”, Laurence says, :because they can be a distillery and he can be the distiller but it’s really about how to bring new ideas and new sales opportunity concepts to market”.
“It was a quick discussion at New Year and, you know, now we’re working together”
With Zak as the ‘genius distiller’ and Laurence turning concepts and ideas into reality, the partnership makes sense for all parties, not least of all their customers; it takes just two weeks from order to delivery of your bespoke-label gin.
“So, it’s about two weeks. If they want to produce a larger quantity we can do a full bespoke recipe. So, something that’s completely unique, and we can personalise that and it’s theirs forevermore.”
Catering to hospitality and corporate business
Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic and the devastating knock-on disruption to the hospitality industry, since the launch of My Gin My Way last year, they’ve sold custom gin to around 60 businesses,
One of those businesses was Prosper2, a business membership club, who bought bespoke gin to gift to their wide network of accountants and solicitors who introduce prospective clients.
“A proud moment for My Gin My Way was a recent bespoke project for Prosper² business rewards. Upon completion it was a special feeling to place my Prosper² Mastercard® next to such a luxurious gin bottle and see a compelling VIP gifting proposition.”
The Norden Inn, a thriving village bar, also stocks branded gin to sell to their loyal customer base.
“I’m born and raised in Norden, so to be able to work with The Norden Inn on this project is fantastic.”
With the time from order to delivery streamlined to two-weeks, Laurence is preparing the ground to sell direct to the consumer.
“We’ve got a unique proposition for the end consumer,” Laurence says, “and we’re just setting up how to engineer that in a quick way to be able to do next day delivery, how to build the website and how it will flow. So, yeah, there’s plenty to come.”
But, ahead of that, My Gin My Way is scheduled for promotion on the Ideal World Shopping Channel.
Live on air
Laurence has been a guest presenter on the Ideal World Shopping Channel for five years. Having previously been presenting watches and high-end jewellery, now he’s going live to promote his own brand.
“I started with them in 2016, with Scuderia Ferrari watches. So that’s what I was selling” I was doing shows nearly every couple of weeks. It was fabulous business for us.”
Not only does his relationship with Ideal World offer the opportunity to promote Hilberry Gin live on air, because its a brand they support the Hilberry Gin bottles will regularly feature in the background of other shows and get regular prominent listing online.
Landing on solid ground
Less than a year since landing back on British soil, Laurence’s feet have barely touched the ground as his work life merges almost seamlessly with actual life. Not only has he been busy making a success of My Gin My Way, but he also remains heavily involved in selling watches, a story we will share later this year.
At the start of the pandemic, it reminded me of the recession of 2008/9 where I assisted in launching a new brand in the UK market and everyone said I was crazy for leaving my current job and moving in such a time, he says.
I am a risk taker and optimist, so I went for it then and I have done the same now. Only this time I have a wife and two daughters, plus a home to re-locate from Switzerland. We did that on 4th June 2020, in the middle of lockdown.
Now, having done the back-work to setup his various companies, Laurence is ready to make the most of being at the helm of several exciting businesses.
The risk is paying off and he’s barely even begun.