Tipping the balance
It was back in 2009, when Ruth and Michael Green stopped to question the intense and relentless schedule that had become their norm. Balancing Ruth’s shift work as a paediatric nurse with Michael running his own surveying business, time spent together was a rare treat.
“We were forever on our way in or out of the house to our jobs. Work was taking a precedence, and this lack of balance was emphasised to us after having our son” explains Ruth. “We realised that there had to be a better existence for us all.”
So, in 2010, the Green family took the bold decision to sell up and relocate to the Isle of Wight in search of their next chapter. Purchasing a farm near Cowes they set about exploring the natural environment around them, learning what was available to forage from their hedgerows.
After having great success selling a small batch of homemade sloe vodka at a local event, the entrepreneurial pair begun to investigate it as a business idea. Michael explains: “We knew there was so much potential on the farm in terms of flavours. We also knew we wanted to do it well. It had to be made solely with local ingredients and it had to be 100% natural without preservatives and made by us in small batches.”
Tipsy Wight was officially launched in 2010 with four flavours of infused vodka: sloe; honey and lemon; rhubarb and vanilla and chilli. Their brand has always been fresh and distinctive just like their bottles which stand on a slant to echo the name. “We were advised against wonky bottles” admits Michael, “but we felt really strongly that it fitted with our identity. I think we were right, they are eye-catching and people really like them.”
In less than ten years, the couple have transformed their lives and created a successful business which was recently awarded Small Business of the Year. They now make and sell a core set of fourteen flavours, available online and at selected outlets. The company has expanded to employ two staff to help with production and is continually working on new flavours and product lines. “However large we get we will always keep Tipsy Wight as a family business,” explains Michael.
We have created a business we are both extremely proud of and most importantly, believe in.
So, have they achieved what they set out to? “We didn’t really have a fixed plan but I don’t think that eight years ago either of us could have imagined being where we are now.” Ruth reflects. “We have created a business we are both extremely proud of and most importantly, believe in. And whilst it keeps us busy it has definitely given us quality time together both as a couple and a family. Our son was just eighteen months when we moved here so for him this is home. Our decision to move away from that intense timetable of life has brought adventures, experiences and challenges that we will cherish. Our lives are also now lived outside which is something we really value, we are so in tune with the seasons and our natural environment.”