4 years ago

Hobnobbing with Samuel Hall from Thirsty Thoughts

So, what does Thirsty Thoughts do?

Thirsty Thoughts is a Drinks Entertainment Company.

We combine emerging tech with our favourite drinks to deliver truly unique experiences; attracting and engaging crowds at a variety of private and public events.

What’s behind the business idea?

A Star Wars loving entrepreneur approached a nero-scientist and roboticist in a bar…  twelve months later the first iteration of Homer, the mind-controlled drinks robot, was born.

Having seen the success of Homer at various events across the UK, the realisation that we could actually build a company around this crazy concept for providing unique and engaging branded experiences became apparent. In January this year [2019], we took a leap of faith and went all in on turning this into a business.

Was it hard becoming a business owner?

Running a business is certainly challenging but that is also one of the things I enjoy most about it. It also amplifies the excitement of the smallest wins. The challenges we faced in the beginning are completely different to the ones we face now and I’ve accepted the fact that it will never get easier and will just be a constant on-going journey. Lucky for me I have shared this journey with Ed which has certainly helped.

How did you recruit your employees?

We are very fortunate that whilst at activations we get to speak to a large number of interesting and curious souls and as a result our network has grown pretty quickly. With this in mind, we leverage LinkedIn’s organic reach and post all our jobs on there where we get a number of people tagging others for the role along with receiving direct inMail and email applications.

We have also used certain university schemes to recruit graduates who help us partially fund their salaries.

Was there a breakthrough moment?

It’s hard to pin down to a certain day. With no previous experience working in the events industry we really were starting from scratch. It took 6 months of playing around, talking to potential clients and learning about the way they work before we actually made our first sale [January 2019].

Once we had our messaging locked down along with a price point that reflected what the market was willing to pay for it the fun part began; finding scaleable ways to distribute the message. Since then we have managed to consistently grow our revenue month-on-month to the point where we are now building more robots and hiring more event staff to match demand.

How is the company doing?

It’s going well although I’m never fully-satisfied with the speed of growth... is that a genetic flaw?

Since January we have managed to grow from £0 to six-digits(£) and grow our team to eight. We have also expanded our drinks offering from just beer; adding cocktails, kombucha, juice blends, champagne, and prosecco. We have worked at lots of amazing venues across Europe, partnered with some of the world's most-recognised brands and have great relationships with many of our clients; with a good number hiring us on a recurring basis. In addition to this, we have added three more robots to our fleet including Matilda, the world's very first Gesture-Controlled Champagne Robot, and are on track to opening a US office towards the end of 2020.

It’s not all plain sailing though… we experience new problems every day but it’s really interesting to have seen and gone through the challenges associated with each stage of the company journey - eg. drumming up new business in the beginning, to fulfilling the workload, to cutting logistics costs, to now looking at effective ways to scale further etc.

Do you have any regrets? If so how did you overcome them?

No regrets as such but I did underestimate the importance of communication. Sometimes there is never the right time to have certain discussions and by believing that there is, can lead to a lot of unnecessary tension and problems.

We overcame this by implementing weekly meetings for each aspect of the business - product, sales, marketing, vision & projections, project management etc. - and not just having a daily catch up regarding all matters.

Turns out more tasks actually get down when you apply a little focus…

What makes you stand out from your competitors?

100% our products.

We often fall within the entertainment budget which is highly susceptible to cuts throughout the year (for whatever reason) putting more pressure on event managers to use their remaining budget effectively.

The concept of pouring beer with your mind or becoming a real life version of Matilda and pouring drinks without touching the glass or the bottle tends to stick in people's heads; which we like to think is slightly more entertaining than other options out there. It is also great for when we’re trying to generate new business.

What is your definition of a positive customer experience?

A positive customer experience is ensuring that the event / marketing / sales managers that we are working with have minimal concerns about working with us pre, post, and during the activations we run on behalf of them. Event managers in particular have thousands of different factors to manage and worry about when planning an event, so it’s important that we make working with us as stress free as possible.

As for the activations themselves we let the robots do their thing which is usually enough to get the audience entertained… since when has giving out free drinks not done well in entertaining people?

You’re currently reaching out for investors, what do you plan to do when you have raised this funding?

We are not actively pushing for investment at the moment with our cash flow fortunate enough to be in the black every month. In addition to this, our main focus as a business is currently streamlining the logistics costs associated with running activations; once we achieve this we might look for investment to scale quicker.

The current plan is to evaluate all cash injection options at the end of the year. If it makes sense to, these extra funds would support us in moving to a bigger office, building additional robots so we can run more activations to keep up with demand, and also allow us to look into developing new concepts.

If you could help a business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?

Find scaleable ways to fail and do it as quickly as possible.

The quicker you uncover all the ways something won't work the quicker you’re going to find a way that will. Don’t prioritise debating over action. Time is momentum.

Finally, Sam what is your favourite biscuit?!

Jammy Dodgers


Kerry Fawcett