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Anna Dominey

Inspiring Female Founder Spotlight: Anna Dominey, Remedy Drinks UK

Remedy Drinks UK is led by General Manager Anna Dominey, who has driven the development of the brand over the past four years, transforming it from a fledgling entrant to the UK’s leading kombucha brand. Prior to joining Remedy, Anna worked at Sainsbury’s in the UK, and Coles Supermarkets in Australia, where she led the Dairy buying team.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

My career has mainly been in FMCG and retail, plus a stint in strategy consulting. I worked for two years in Melbourne at Coles Supermarkets, and this was where I first came across kombucha. Within a year of launching Remedy into Coles in 2018, kombucha accounted for 25% of sales from the chilled juice fixture.

When I decided to relocate back to the UK, Remedy founder Emmet and Sarah approached me about helping them to build the UK business. I was a fan of the brand and had faith that we could replicate the Australian successes in the UK market.

Remedy’s mission is to put something good out into the world: healthier alternatives to sugar-laden or artificially sweetened fizzy drinks. We are the UK’s leading kombucha brand, with 30% market share. We have delivered more growth than all other kombucha brands put together over the past year. We use traditional brewing techniques: long-age fermenting in small batches. We often speak to consumers who tell us they felt kombucha was an acquired taste – until they tried Remedy.

How did the idea come to you for the company?

Remedy was founded by Sarah and Emmet Condon, who started brewing kombucha in their kitchen at home in Melbourne. They loved how this traditionally fermented drink tasted and how it made them feel. They started looking at drinks available on supermarket shelves which claimed to be healthy – but really weren’t. They saw this as an opportunity to make it right and launched Remedy in 2012.

How did you achieve awareness?

We do a lot of sampling – explaining that kombucha is fermented tea doesn’t sound that appealing, but once people taste how light and refreshing it is and that it has no sugar or artificial sweeteners, they tend to get hooked. Traditionally kombucha has been marketed as a health tonic, which consumers expect to be quite sour, so they can’t believe Remedy is both tasty and healthy!

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

Remedy has grown rapidly, and we’ve put robust processes in place to manage forecasting, production planning and inventory management. Recruiting and nurturing talent is critical, as is building and maintaining a strong and positive culture. We have several investors and, like any small business, managing cashflow is critical to our success.

What are the key successes?

To become the UK’s leading kombucha brand, we have built fantastic retail partnerships, including Tesco (who launched our cans into their meal deal last year), Ocado (where we are the third biggest contributor to growth in the soft drinks category) and Holland & Barrett (where we are the leading drinks supplier). We are seeing Remedy come into the mainstream, with listings in Starbucks, bp and Fullers pubs. Ultimately our success is delivering what we set out to achieve: shaking up the fizzy drinks market for good.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

Education remains key, and this is a focus for our marketing activity. People are keen to move away from sugary or artificially sweetened soft drinks, and, communicating that Remedy is a natural drink that tastes great and is free from sugar is vital to driving trial.

Another challenge can be getting timely responses from buyers, who deal with many suppliers and have a hefty workload. We have pitched to retailers and had to produce stock ahead of getting official confirmation of listing – which is nerve-wracking!

What are your plans now/for the future?

Compared to other markets around the globe, the headroom for growth in the UK is phenomenal – we’re only just scratching the surface. We have some exciting new stockists launching Remedy in 2023 and will be adding to our range with some delicious new product innovations – watch this space!

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

Being in this small business has made me realise anyone can build a brand – so long as they are clear what makes their product different and unique. It takes a huge amount of resilience, but the reward of seeing someone walking down the street drinking a can of Remedy is unparalleled.

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

In launching a new brand, you will get plenty of rejections and criticism. Figure out where you need to listen and learn, and where you need to be resilient and maintain the faith. There can be plenty of lows, make sure you take time to enjoy and savour the wins.

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?

I am inspired by the people around me – my kids, who’ve taught me more than any job ever will; my two closest friends who have been there for me through thick and thin; my partner, who constantly encourages me to believe in myself more; and the Remedy UK team, who show up with such determination and grit. I feel very lucky to work with them.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

“To me, Fearless is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.” Taylor Swift

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?  

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