I first came up with the drink when I got my first 9-5 job after university and noticed a big decline in the quality of my sleep. I was constantly tired, felt groggy in the mornings, and developed bags under my eyes.
In my tireless search for a solution, I heard about a traditional sleep remedy that has been around for hundreds of years: apple cider vinegar and honey. This piqued my interest, as I was already taking shots of apple cider vinegar and honey during the day for other health reasons, and was intrigued at the prospect of it adding value to my sleep routine. Rather than taking a shot of it before bed, which I didn’t think would be pleasant, I simply added it to my nightly chamomile tea.
From the first night of trying this new drink I knew I was on to something good.
It was healthy, relaxing, stopped me from getting up in the night, and removed nearly all of the morning grogginess I used to get. I began drinking it religiously every night.
A few years later I had a thought: I wonder if other people will like the sleep drink I make?
I did some research and discovered that the sleep and health drink industries were both growing rapidly. Realising that my sleep drink could potentially ride the crest of both these waves, I decided to go for it.
With some mentoring and financial support from the Prince’s Trust, I wrote a business plan, held marketing focus groups, and planned my first production run.
A week after the production run, on the 7th of June, 3,500 cans arrived at my house in Guildford. My housemates weren’t to happy to come home and find boxes piled high in the hallway.
3 days later I had my first trading event at Ripley Farmers’ Market. I was hoping to sell between 20-40 cans and roughly break even for the day, but people loved the product much more than I expected and I ended up selling out all the cans I brought with me – 140.
Since then I’ve carried on trading at every farmers’ market I can find in the local area, as well as making sales on my online store - sleeptoniq.com. My best day of trading so far was at Burpham Wellfest, where the attendees loved the fact that I am based locally, use local ingredients, and bring something new to the area. I sold 190 cans that day.
It has been a promising start so far, but I know I’ve got a long journey ahead of me. Years, maybe even decades. But I’m looking forward to the challenge and excited about the prospect of growing my brand and maybe, just maybe, turning Sleep Toniq into a household name one day - that would be a dream come true.
Until then, I’ll attend every farmers market in the Southeast, start getting my drinks into more shops, and slowly scale the business.
You can follow my business startup journey on my personal tiktok: