Foxglove Cocktail Company
Tara Copplestone is one part of the sister-brother duo behind the fantastic Foxglove Cocktail Company. She turned her passion for hospitality and love of making cocktails into her career, selling cocktail mixers from her kitchen in Baltimore with her brother Rory.
Foxglove Cocktail Company was set up by sister-brother duo Tara and Rory during 2020, just as Ireland was emerging from the first Covid-19 lockdown.Together they came up with their first entrepreneurial business, making cocktail mixers from their kitchen in Baltimore, and launched in Skibbereen Farmers Market in June 2020
I had the opportunity to chat to Tara to get an insight into their company and to find out how their first year in business has gone.
Tell us a bit about yourself and the motivation behind your business Foxglove Cocktail Company?
Foxglove Cocktails started after both myself, and my brother Rory, ended up living back in our parents’ house, at the start of the first lockdown of 2020. I had spent just under 6 years in New York, working in the bar/liquor industry, and was a manager of a fast-paced sports bar in Midtown Manhattan- until NYC instructed all bars to close on March 16th. I decided to come back to Cork and ride out the ‘supposed’ 2-week lockdown back home in Baltimore, Co. Cork, but it soon became apparent that my trip would be much longer than 2 weeks.
During the same time, my brother Rory was in his final months of his undergraduate degree in NUIG / Shannon College of Hotel Management and moved home to finish his course. There is a 10-year age difference between us, so the first lockdown was a fun and enjoyable time to actually spend time with each other, especially as I had been away from home for so long.
During this time, Rory sat his final year college exams at home, and I enjoyed the peace and quiet of country living (a total opposite transition to what I had left behind in New York!). It was over the first lockdown that we began making cocktails and just experimenting with our family; trying out new flavours and recipes. Slowly, we began to realise that people love to drink tasty, fresh cocktails, but often need some extra guidance; what to use, how to make it, what to mix with. Quite organically, Foxglove was born, mostly out of a few cocktail-fueled brainstorming sessions, to create a craft cocktail brand that was non-alcoholic, so people still held the power and imagination to create their own cocktails, in the comfort and safety of their home. Essentially, it is a ‘Less Fuss, More Fun’ way of creating cocktails at home!
We joke that we started Foxglove because our parents would have no time for the two of us lounging about for the summer with no job or daily routine, but really, we started Foxglove because we both have such a love for the hospitality industry, and we always have. Our family would always be the ones welcoming neighbours or visitors for dinner; hosting parties and events; it just seems in our nature. We also get on so well as siblings, despite the age gap. We work really well together, Rory is really level-headed and calm in nature, while I can be a little bit more creative and energetic, so we complement each other hugely. Neither of us have ever started a business before, so this is a huge learning curve for both of us.
How has your first year in business been, has it been what you expected?
I can safely say, I had no idea what to expect when we launched this business, and equally, I am glad I didn’t know, because that might have turned me off the idea! This past year has been an insanely busy rollercoaster, and we have learnt so much. 80% of the time, it’s very enjoyable and rewarding, and good days definitely outweigh the bad. It is a thrill to have an idea, set out to make that a reality, and then watch that idea grow into its own business. Plus, I have gotten a taste of what it is like to be your own boss, and I really like it!!
What have been your biggest successes you have experienced over your first year in business?
Learning to work with Rory, and to build a business with your brother, is a huge success in my eyes. We both are very dedicated to the business; we have worked very hard to get to our 1st birthday (and beyond!) and we are very proud of what we have achieved so far. But the best thing is, at the end of the day, we are well able to sit down, have a laugh and a pint together and still enjoy each other’s company, and that’s all that really matters.
We are involved in SuperValu Food Academy, and we will be launching two of our mixers in various local West Cork SuperValu’s later in the year.
We also won ‘Emerging New Business’ through the Network West Cork Women’s Business Awards 2021. We now go on to the national awards in October, and Foxglove will be judged alongside other new businesses across Ireland.
What has been your biggest learning experience from your first year in business?
The past year has taught me a few things about starting your own business ….
Firstly, it never really stops, and even on a ‘day-off’, your mind will always revert back to your own business.
You will tap into an extra reserve of energy you never knew you had, the one that will drag you out of bed at 6.30am on a Sunday for a Farmers market!
Everything takes longer than you expect it to, and the sooner you accept this and stop worrying, the better your mental health will be!
Word of mouth is everything, especially at the beginning! We aim to treat every customer with the same level of professionalism and hospitality, and it pays off, as we have built a lovely community of regular customers, who love our mixers and spread the word to their friends and family. They also will have constant feedback, and if you really listen to this, their advice might save your time and money in the long run.
Understand the value of your time and your commitment to your business and set your goals accordingly.
Where to find them?
Currently, you can purchase Foxglove mixers at Mahon Point Farmers Market every Thursday (9:30am-2pm), and at Skibbereen Farmers Market every Saturday (9am-2pm).
If you order through their website, orders are fulfilled every Friday afternoon.
Collection: Their collection point is located on Lancaster Quay.
Delivery: If you are located within a 10km radius of Cork City based on your Eircode, there is a €6 delivery fee, no minimum order.
By Emma Wilkinson