Welcome to Rumagin from owner and founder Mark

Some of you may have noticed, over on Instagram we started our search for a blogger.

Whilst we work on that, here are the thoughts of owner and founder of Rumagin Spirits, Mark, talking about life as a newly self-employed business owner in a tough trading sector and the inspiration behind the company.

"Let me start by saying welcome to Rumagin Spirits, and welcome to my blog.

So, where did Rumagin Spirits come from?

Rumagin was an idea that had grown from 2 friends love of Rum and Gin, and grew simply from what we thought was a pretty cool name. I was always the gin lover, and my good friend Sarah McKie was the rum lover. I used to manage Sarah, and one cold, wet, miserable weekday during a 1 to 1 our minds wandered to things we could be doing other than sitting in an office. Starting with the purchase of a domain for a couple of quid and setting up an email account I started sending emails to potential suppliers to get an idea of costs etc. Things quickly snowballed, and before I had chance to catch breath I’d got a Personal Licence, found a premises and was sat in a marketing meeting with the lovely guys at Xpand Marketing in Saltaire. It was all a bit of a whirlwind, but with each passing week I feel more at home right here in our little corner of Otley.

Business is… Hard! Who’d have thought?!

This is the first time I’ve ever been self-employed, and it’s safe to say it comes with lots of sleepless nights, blood, sweat and tears; but it’s incredibly rewarding. The response from customers has been fantastic; lots of people really want to chat about spirits before buying, and share their own personal favourites. It’s great getting to know people’s taste… and seeing reactions to tasting new flavours at the tasting table! It sounds a little cheesy, but the feeling of seeing someone walk past the shop with a Rumagin bag, or even better people coming back in that were only in a few weeks ago because they want to see what else I’ve got in is unlike anything I’ve experienced through work before. But it doesn’t come easy. It really is a roller coaster of emotions; great days with a shop so busy you can’t get to the door followed by days when it’s pouring with rain and not even the ducks are venturing out, let alone buying gin! It can, will and does mentally drain you, but take a breath, scream, shout, cry; do whatever you need to and let it out and then switch focus to whatever is around the corner.

I recently heard that your brand represents you when you’re not there, which is actually a pretty powerful thing when you think about it, and it really stuck with me. That’s people walking past the shop when it’s shut, talking to their friends about their own experience and even (eventually) visiting the shop when I’m not there. That’s what drives me to deliver absolutely the best experience that I can when you’re in the shop, and keeps me on my toes.

Surely the high street is dead though, right?

Well, not quite. I genuinely believe that the high street will always be around; it offers things that online simply can’t match. I'll touch on this more in a future post, but retail has a habit of being brutal at times, and not everyone will succeed. The fact people are giving it a go though will continue to inspire innovation and to be incredibly, unashamedly clichéd for a second - from the tiny acorn grows the mighty oak tree. Every company ever in existence had to start somewhere. Coke, McDonalds, Ferrari, your current employer. There was a time when they didn’t exist.

Whats next?

From the spirit worlds perspective, in a word…. Rum. Gin is booming and isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but there is a real buzz about the stunning offerings we’re seeing from the rum producers of the world. Whether it’s the super smooth Hattiers blend of 8 and 12 year old aged rum, the Christmas flavours of the Diablesse Spiced Clementine or the playful flavours of the Dead Mans Fingers range, they aren’t just 'cashing in' on the gin boom, they’re opening a whole new range of flavours for people to explore and fall in love with.

For me, and the company, I’m exploring options on where to take it next; I’d love to bring Rumagin into the ontrade world so you could enjoy your G&T or rum right here in the shop, and then take a bottle home with you when you’ve finished. And there is definitely room for expansion into other spirits; whiskey is something a lot of people have asked about, but I’m trying to work on bringing my whiskey knowledge up to scratch before stocking anything… Watch this space!

For now the focus remains on our 3 small, but incredibly meaningful words. Premium. Craft. Spirits. And delivering all 3 with a top quality service to do them justice.

If you made it all the way through, I really appreciate you taking time to read my thoughts. The next blog will hopefully be from a guest blogger about a specific product, so keep an eye out for that landing.. I'll share some more thoughts in the coming weeks too!"