"Pivoting is what we do best," says Catherina Butler, Kildare entrepreneur and founder of The Naked Collective, a new Irish company launching a range of drinks called Mude into the healthy beverages market.
Ms Butler is describing her company's decision to launch their new product's website and online sales operation after the coronavirus outbreak prevented the start-up from launching their product in-store.
Originally the Naked Collective planned to distribute Mude in May but pushed back their start until July. However, they launched a website last week and are already reporting strong sales.
The Naked Collective have already signed up 20,000 UK outlets for their Mude range of drinks along with 3,000 Irish stores and further 3,000 hotel bars.
The beverages start-up also aim to enter the US and Canadian market in the coming months. The company thinks it can tap into a €250bn healthy beverages trade with their oat-based low calorie drink.
Ms Butler cites their market research as the reason behind her confidence in the Mude range.
"Our research has found that 54% of millennials are choosing to leave alcohol behind in the interest of leading a more clean, sustainable life.
The Covid-19 pandemic has meant changes to all businesses including The Naked Collection. "We pivoted our strategy from an online perspective," Ms Butler said, "Initially we were planning to launch in-store and follow into an online presence."
Flexible, the start-up refocused priorities and began work on their online presence with a digital marketing company focusing on social media platforms such as Instagram where the group's main target market is found.
“We spent the last 10 weeks working to get our online store up and running and that launched last Friday,” Ms Butler said.
The Kildare businesswoman said the group used the time from the lockdown to revisit their business plans and look at projects planned for further down the line.
With Ireland nearly halfway through phase two of the lockdown exit, Ms Butler said the start-up is glad to be returning to the office.
Following Covid-19 guidelines allowed the business to maintain proper social distancing and now some employees are returning to work.
“We’re back in the office, a few of us,” Ms Butler said, "Which is great when you're in a start-up, you need to be sitting around with your team as best you can to make sure you get all your ideas on table."
The Naked Collective will soon move into their new headquarters, a converted 19th-century farmhouse which Ms Butler said is something they are all looking forward to.
Ms Butler said their company is environmentally conscious in everything it does and is committed to reducing its carbon footprint as much as possible from sourcing ingredients for their drinks through to packing and distribution.
This is something Ms Butler believes chimes with their target market: "Six in 10 people globally are concerned about the impact on the environment of beverages they consume whilst 62% of consumers say health and wellness is their primary influence when buying a beverage, the 2nd most important factor after taste.
“Our products speak to those consumers now in a really good way,” she said.
The start-up believes it is best positioned to take advantage of a decline in beer and soft drink consumption in Europe and the US as younger consumers grow more health-conscious about the products they purchase.
Ms Butler said the Naked Collective "meets with [...] consumers changing habits in how they view the food and drink that they put into their body."
The group is also launching a non-alcholic lager So-Beer onto the market soon.