Carisips is creating a unique and memorable drinking experience
Last year, we read about Aisha Jade who launched her online drinks store Carisips after being made redundant.
This month, we caught up with Aisha to find out how the business is going and her plans for 2021.
For those unfamiliar with Carisips, what is it?
Carisips is a natural spiced drinks brand which aims to create a unique and memorable experience for its consumers through rich and exotic flavours. Inspired by travel and culture our drinks remind people of their childhoods, holidays and good times with friends and family. Drinks are still, non-alcoholic and vegan friendly.
What makes your drinks different and unique?
The flavours. Drinks are made from sorrel (hibiscus), ginger and tamarind. The spices enhance the flavours and are known to aid digestion.
They sound delicious. Where does the name come from?
Cari – Caribbean combined with Sips – to drink. It took me so long to think of a name. I wanted something unique which was important to ensure there were no disputes over the trademark.
So what led you to starting a drinks business?
I was a food blogger exploring Caribbean food. Di Caripean Foodie ran for 2 years. I travelled internationally to cities like Toronto, New York and Paris to explore food. I used to write the food column for The Thornton Heath Chronicle. I just love food and drink, different cultures, travelling and connecting with people. This journey led to me to create the Carisips brand.
Are you running the business alone or is there a team?
Currently it's just me. I’ve had to teach myself a lot and some things I am better at than others. But it's necessary as the business grows. People think I have a team because Carisips packaging is very sleek and premium and I use us and we in my marketing, only because it sounds better.
And you live in the Cronx?
Yes, I was born in Thornton Heath and moved to Croydon a few years ago. The first place I traded at was Surrey Street Market to get feedback from customers.
What has been the response to your drinks so far?
Customers shop with their eyes first so the vibrant colours of the drinks attract interest. The spiced element intrigues people. People frequently tell me stories about what the flavours mean in their cultures and the memories they bring back. People from Gambia, Mauritius and India and even people from Algeria, Serbia, Germany which surprised me. Germans drink glühwein at Christmas and this is what Sorrel Spice tastes like. A student from Brunel university told me this when I gave a speech there. From the beginning I’ve had people tell me that Carisips should be in Waitrose, Starbucks and Selfridges - which confirmed that the brand is perceived as premium.
Your ingredients seem very versatile. How are people using your drinks?
Customers drink them neat, heat them up to make hot drinks or use them as mixers with premium spirits. My tamarind cordial is very versatile, people use it with porridge, meat, ice cream as well as cocktails. Ginger Zing can be used for ginger shots for those who are health conscious too.
We spotted truffles on your website. Is this a new product range?
The tamarind truffles were a limited edition for Christmas 2020. I'm all about being different and no-one sells tamarind truffles! They were dark and milk chocolate with a salted caramel and tamarind centre. The taste was so unique – bitter, sweet and zesty.
You’ve recently launched a Crowdfunder. Tell us more.
I'm raising £25,000 through Crowdfunder in order to outsource production. Supporters can pledge any amount from as little as £1. It’s a rewards-based campaign – donate £20 and receive a personalised thank you video from me, £100: a spiced drinks gift pack; £1000: an invitation to the Carisips launch party.
How will crowdfunding help grow and develop Carisips?
I need to outsource production because it's impossible for the business to grow producing from home. I have the opportunity to go on an accelerator programme and pitch to supermarkets and get investment. First, I need the recipes and process to be commercialised so that production can scale up quickly. When I first started Carisips, my range consisted of 3 x 275ml ready to drink products. I had to stop manufacturing last year as it became too much for me. The campaign will bring these drinks back. With the high labour cost reduced, the price will be lower and therefore accessible to more people who really love and connect with these flavours. I will also be able to increase distribution to make my drinks available to more people throughout the UK.
2021 is set to be an exciting year for Carisips. Like us all, I'm sure you can't wait for the end of the pandemic and lockdown.
Yes! I am looking forward to bars and restaurants reopening. These businesses were my route to market before lockdown. I can't wait to resume events and meet more people.
Thanks Aisha for telling us about Carisips Drinks and good luck with the Crowdfunder campaign!
Find out more about Carisips at https://www.carisips.com/ and follow on Insta, Facebook and Twitter.
Be part of the Crowdfunder campaign and help support a fun, new, innovative business that's close to home!
Posted by Tim on Monday 22 February 2021
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