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Ex-McDonald’s worker sells drinks brand for seven figure sum after starting in her bedroom

An ex-McDonald’s worker has revealed how she sold her alcohol brand in a deal worth over £1 million after launching it on a shoestring budget.

Sally Wynter, 27, from Haringey, London, said money was ‘tight’ for her family while she grew up and times became so difficult, she relied on free school meals.’

However she saved up £1,000 from freelance journalism work to launch MUHU, the UK’s first CBD-infused gin, from her bedroom in 2019.

With only a tiny budget, the savvy businesswoman taught herself the skills she needed to start the business, from designing a website to learning about trademark law.

Within five months of launching, two investors had come forward with offers for the one-woman brand and she became a millionaire overnight after selling the drinks label. 

Speaking to FEMAIL,  she explained: ‘I didn’t even know what an entrepreneur was growing up, I had to Google it when I started.’

Sally Wynter, from Haringey, London, has revealed how she sold her alcohol brand in a deal worth over £1 million after launching it on a shoestring budget

Sally revealed: ‘Growing up I didn’t have positive role models. Money was tight and we often went without. It made me determined to change things once I got older.

‘Because of how I grew up, it felt like I’d never be able to be in the right room with the right people.’

She explained that growing up in a low-income household made her strive for more: ‘Coming home to no food in the house was a familiar feeling. 

‘We relied on free school meals when I was younger, and I had never even met anyone with their own business. I had to create a network from scratch. 

Sally received offers from two investors just five months after launching her brand

Sally created CBD-infused gin MUHU (pictured left) from her bedroom with just £1,000 saved up from freelance work 

‘Without social platforms I could never have got into those circles where I was able to speak to business owners and investors.’

WHAT IS CBD OIL? 

CBD oil is a legal cannabinoid that can be sold in the UK.

CBD contains less than 0.2 per cent of the psychoactive substance THC.

Although the oil has been thought to have some medicinal properties, including relieving inflammation, pain and anxiety, there is no conclusive science.

Suppliers in England and Wales have to obtain a licence to sell CBD as a medicine.

Manufacturers are able to avoid the strict regulation by selling it as a food supplement – ignoring the lengthy process of gaining a medicinal licence.

CBD products comes in many forms, the most popular being an oil – which users spray under their tongue – or gel tablets which melt slowly in the mouth.

Government advisers at the MHRA found that CBD has a ‘restoring, correcting or modifying’ effect on humans.

Cannabis oil, which is different to CBD oil because it contains THC – the compound that gives users a ‘high’ – is illegal under UK laws.

Billy Caldwell, from Castlederg, Northern Ireland, made headlines last April when he became the first Briton to be prescribed it on the NHS.

Cannabis oil, which reportedly has no side effects, influences the release and uptake of ‘feel good’ chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.

 

After catching the entrepreneurial bug, Sally went through ‘dozens’ of ideas before she landed on launching a CBD-infused drink. 

She told mediacatmagazine.co.uk: ‘I’d been making my own drink mixes at home since my second year of uni, so when I started getting into CBD and seeing all the issues with the bitter tasting oils, I knew gin would be the perfect spirit of choice from which Brits could have their first CBD experience.

‘The way I saw it, if ‘worst comes to worst’ then everybody loves gin. I’d be able to sell the bottles at cost to family and friends.’

The entrepreneur began testing out different flavours in the alcoholic drinks after she was left bored during a holiday. 

She explained:  ‘I’ve always had an experimental streak, so when a monsoon hit and didn’t stop for days I decided to start infusing locally available vodka in jars with things like mango and hibiscus to beat the boredom.

A few days after her first infusion, she checked up on her experiment, saying: ‘They tasted fantastic, not artificial like a lot of the flavoured gins back home. I was impressed with how they turned out,.

Back in the UK, Sally continued her experiments, saying: ‘Phase two was testing out adaptogens. I’d add things like CBD and tea leaves into the mix and each blend had a different feel.

‘One was perfect for a night of clubbing, whilst another was much more suited to a chilled night in with mates,’ she said. 

Her homemade blends became a fast hit with friends and family and, after six months, Sally decided she would try and take MUHU from her kitchen table to the shelves.

‘It was a huge decision because I had no experience,’ the entrepreneur admitted. 

‘I’d only recently graduated from uni and I didn’t know the first thing about starting a business or creating a product.’

After connecting with business owners in the food and drink space, Sally discovered most were spending tens of thousands on new product launches.

She said: ‘It seemed mad. £20,000 for a label design. No way it should cost that. 

Sally saved up £1,000 from freelance journalism work to launch MUHU, the UK's first CBD-infused gin, from her bedroom in 2019

Sally saved up £1,000 from freelance journalism work to launch MUHU, the UK’s first CBD-infused gin, from her bedroom in 2019

‘Obviously, those kinds of figures were well out of my reach but I was convinced there must be some way to do it on a smaller budget,’ she added. 

Realising that she would need to learn skills to save cash, the savvy businesswoman started using blogs, YouTube videos and reaching out on LinkedIn to teach herself how to design a website, trademark her brand and get press coverage.

‘The biggest phase was research. I had to be sure that the idea was viable as a business,’ the entrepreneur said. 

‘Gin is one of the fastest and most cost-efficient spirits to produce as it can be distilled in as little as 24 hours.

Sally said she's always had an entrepreneurial spirit and began her business out of boredom while on holiday

Sally said she’s always had an entrepreneurial spirit and began her business out of boredom while on holiday

‘It starts off as vodka and then you just add botanicals. It doesn’t need refrigerating and there is no sell-by date.’

However she struggled to find a distillery who would support her in her product development. 

She said: ‘It took months of emails and calls to find a distillery that could help take MUHU from my kitchen table to a proper production line and I came close to giving up.’ 

After contacting ten distilleries and being quoted tens of thousands for product development, Sally finally signed with a distillery near Birmingham that agreed to do the testing for free.

Sally admitted she came close to giving up on finding a distillery which could help take MUHU from her kitchen table to a proper production line

Sally admitted she came close to giving up on finding a distillery which could help take MUHU from her kitchen table to a proper production line

She added: ‘The ones I ended up working with were basically the last chance saloon.’ 

After nine months of research and preparation, MUHU was ready to launch.

She said: ‘This was the tricky bit because I had nothing to spend on marketing and Google had banned ads for CBD products so I had to go old-school; I searched for press release templates online and started sending stuff out to journalists I found on Twitter.

To her delight, the wacky combination of CBD with gin raised eyebrows and several national newspapers covered the launch, generating thousands of pounds of orders for the drink.

Sally was able to strike a deal with a global consumer goods company based in the US after impressing them with how she single-handedly managed her brand

Sally was able to strike a deal with a global consumer goods company based in the US after impressing them with how she single-handedly managed her brand

Sally has moved onto new projects after quietly selling her gin brand (pictured), which made her a millionaire overnight

Sally has moved onto new projects after quietly selling her gin brand (pictured), which made her a millionaire overnight 

She said: ‘From it took off quickly but it was gruelling without a team to support me. 

‘Doing everything myself was draining and I was working 60 plus hours a week to promote the product and try to get it into bars.’

However it wasn’t long before a number of brands spotted Sally’s hard work and, impressed by how she had managed her product launch, offered to buy her out. 

A deal was struck with New Frontier Brands, a global consumer goods company based in the US.

The sale was worth over £1,000,000, with Sally saying it ‘changed her life overnight.  

Despite her success, Sally admitted she had found the process 'draining' and said working 60 hours a week had been hard

Despite her success, Sally admitted she had found the process ‘draining’ and said working 60 hours a week had been hard  

Sally said without social platforms, she would never have been able to get into the circles needed to speak to business owners and investors

Sally said without social platforms, she would never have been able to get into the circles needed to speak to business owners and investors 

She said: ‘As someone from a working-class background, the sale was life changing for me. It’s been a turning point in my life path’.

Wynter worked with New Frontier Brands for 18 months as part of the acquisition agreement.

After quietly selling her brand, she’s now moving onto new projects and mentors other entrepreneurs.

And last month, she went viral on LinkedIn after she shared the news in an excited post.

She wrote: ‘The secret’s out…It’s been a hell of a ride and I’m honestly shaking tapping out these words on my keyboard.

After quietly selling her brand, she's now moving onto new projects and mentors other entrepreneurs

After quietly selling her brand, she’s now moving onto new projects and mentors other entrepreneurs 

‘After the huge struggle of launching MUHU from my bedroom on a tiny £1000 budget…after the dropped pallets of gin, the 60+ hour unpaid working week, pushing my mental health to its limits and…COVID.

‘It’s happened. It’s actually happened.

‘I can FINALLY share with you all that my first ever business has been successfully acquired for a seven-figure-sum.’

She went on to say: ‘That’s right, me….female, grew up on free school meals, no positive role models, no experience, no friends or family with money, no co-founder.

‘And when I started? You better believe I Googled “What is an entrepreneur?”.

‘Never let someone tell you that you can’t’

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