The Young Entrepreneurs Tribe (YET) had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Philipp Businger (PB), the Lead of Marketing for the Frakmont Lucerne Dry Gin. He is a local young entrepreneur who co-founded this brand of gin with three other childhood friends. Read on to find out more about their journey as young entrepreneurs.
YET: What is the story behind Frakmont Lucerne Dry Gin?
PB: Our story really began when we founded our Event Management Company Tanzrausch Events around 7 years ago. We were 18 years old at the time and decided to start a group in our village in the Canton Nidwalden that offered services related to events, such as organizing a DJ, coordinating parties, etc. This proved to be a successful venture and thus, we decided to start off as an official company. We decided to pitch our idea to the local club, who supported us to take off with this company.
Starting an event company helped us to build a valuable network in the events industry. Once we started successfully organizing events, we came in contact with the local bar managers and other people who were active in the event management business. Collaborating with them eventually gave us the idea of creating our own local brand of gin.
We choose gin, as this is a liquor that is very easy to produce. Gin production does not require complicated infrastructure, high costs or resources. It took us only one year to develop the right recipe and finalize on our bottle design. The primary focus of this project was to create a product and a brand as fast as possible, release it into the market as soon as possible and learn as much from the journey in a short period of time. We were a group of young guys who decided to take the risk and not afraid to make mistakes.
YET: What were the biggest hurdles you faced during this time?
PB: We were very young when we started our entrepreneurial journey. Hence, we were missing the know-how on how to develop our business idea and where to start. It was difficult to find information about a systematic approach on how to found a company. We were also not sure whom to approach with our questions. It was rather difficult to find the right experts on our own and we needed external support to build up a valuable network who could help us to create this product and develop this brand.
However, as we progressed on our journey we found ways to fill the gaps in our know-how. I did my bachelor’s degree in Business Engineering | Innovation at the Lucerne University of Applied Science and Arts. There I learned about Business Model Canvas, Customer Journey, Persona Development, etc. that helped us as a team to move forward in our business venture. Through the university, we were also a part of the Smart-Up group that helped us get in touch with investors and experts from the field who would guide us into the right direction. Moreover, we always kept in touch with our partners and associates from Tanzrausch Events, who gave us the necessary insights and ideas on the current markets.
Another one of our disadvantages was the finance area. Due to the lack of experience, it was difficult for us predict the costs accurately. Assumptions regarding production costs, storage costs, transport costs, and other investments required to run a company were difficult to make when developing the business plan and the sales projections for the future. However, I believe if one of us had prior experience in this field, we would have been able to project our sales, revenue, and investments more efficiently and in turn link this information much better into our marketing and sales strategies.
YET: If you could do something different while founding a company, what would it be?
PB: Well, as young entrepreneurs we did everything we could to start a brand from scratch and bring it to market in a short period of time. As I mentioned, when we started, we had certain disadvantages such as not knowing the right experts, the missing experience to project the costs of running a company, find the right supplier, etc. However, all that came pretty quickly through networking and experience. We found a good distillery, Studer, who believed in our product and agreed to a partnership. We knew a few bar managers from our network, who decided to add Frakmont Gin to their list of drinks. The most important thing for us was to not stop and keep on working on the idea we believed in. Our hard work paid off and everything just fell in place at the right time. So, personally, there is not much I would do differently.
YET: What is your personal and professional advice to the young entrepreneurs?
PB: As Nike says it so perfectly: Just do it! It is always better to do something and fail than to do nothing at all. You will somehow find your way through the process and hurdles once you start. Another advice would be to actively network. Attend events that you find interesting and connect with people from the industry you want to be active in. Sometimes even a simple exchange with another entrepreneur over a coffee can bring in so much inspiration and ideas. So, just find the time to meet up for an informal chat. A lot can come out of it. This is harder said than done, especially if you are an introverted person. So my final advice would be to find the motivation to do it! If you look closely, you will find hidden opportunities everywhere.
YET: Do you have any book, movie or podcast recommendation for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur?
PB: The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden is a very good book. I can recommend that.