Customer Stories: Norfolk Gin
Launching a brand
with a professional set-up
Norfolk Gin is crafted in small batches by husband and wife team, Jonathan and Alison, in the heart of Norfolk’s fine city of Norwich. With a shared passion for quality gin and a lot of love for the place they call home, Norfolk Gin was launched in 2014.
After a few months of experimenting with different botanicals, they perfected the recipe that makes Norfolk Gin so popular today.
Jonathan: “Norfolk Gin is a vibrant, juniper-led premium gin with herbaceous notes of cardamon and coriander, carefully balanced with a touch of spice, a hint of sweetness and fragrant citrus.”
Norfolk Gin first went on sale in June 2015 through a local wine merchant. Their first batch sold out in a matter of days; demand for Norfolk Gin quickly snowballed as word got out! Jonathan and Alison soon increased production from one batch per month to several batches per week.
As they continued to grow their portfolio of boutique hotels, restaurants and bars, they also started considering the idea of launching their own online store.
There was just one thing holding them back: they were still storing their stock at home and preparing all orders themselves.
This wasn’t going to be sustainable for much longer: they either needed to hire their own picking and packing team, or find an existing company who could do this on their behalf.
“In 2019 we decided to outsource our fulfilment. Our home and distillery is in a quiet neighbourhood and it wouldn’t be right to keep having delivery vans going to and from the house.” says Jonathan.
“We also wanted to start ordering packaging in bigger quantities to keep the unit cost down, but we didn’t have enough space to store it all at home.
“We briefly looked into running our own warehouse but it would have been a huge expense and a big commitment. Outsourcing this part of the business would mean that we didn’t have to think about it too much – it could be out of our worry space.”
Jonathan got in touch with Vdepot after a recommendation from another local company, and he and Alison decided to outsource their fulfilment with us from January 2020.
“Vdepot made it very easy for us when launching our online store. Their IT set-up seemed the most secure of all the fulfilment houses we met with, and has integrated with our webshop without a hitch. All of this meant that we were able to launch with a professional set-up. They offered the space and the expertise that we needed.”
As part of the onboarding process, Vdepot was also on hand to advise Norfolk Gin through the process of getting their new alcohol premises licence. This ensured that the local council was aware that Vdepot’s warehouse was an extension of Norfolk Gin’s operation and was being used as a location for the storage and distribution of their products.
“We completed the required forms with all the information Vdepot provided and the process went very smoothly” says Jonathan.
Two years on, Vdepot has dispatched thousands of bottles on Norfolk Gin’s behalf. And instead of spending thousands of minutes preparing orders, Jonathan and Alison have used that time to focus on growing the Norfolk Gin brand, designing new products and developing collaborations with other boutique companies.
“Outsourcing to Vdepot has made our lives easier and was by far a more cost-effective solution compared to leasing our own warehouse. Plus, we don’t have to worry about security, coordinating deliveries and collections, or getting involved with premises leases and other such worries. You simply don’t have time to become an expert in everything, and so relying on Vdepot’s expertise has been helpful to us.
“Having more space has enabled us to buy our packaging in bulk and therefore reduce the unit cost. Communication from the Vdepot team has been great too. I can ask a quick question via email and get a quick answer. This helps with peace of mind and saves me worrying about the little things.”
For other founders of fast-growing companies, Jonathan has some advice:
“If you’re thinking about outsourcing your fulfilment, I would suggest you do it before you necessarily have to do it. If you wait until you’re too busy, you’ll be making this decision and change under pressure. Make the leap, rather than be pushed.”
You can find Norfolk Gin in a number of boutique hotels and bars across the UK, or purchase via their website: https://norfolkgin.co.uk/.
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