Getting to know you: Steph Brown

Wild Knight Vodka

What do you currently do?

I’m the co-founder (along with my husband Matt) of Wild Knight® English Vodka which we launched back in February and which has kept us very busy ever since! I am involved in all aspects of the business including marketing, branding and customer service. Matt and I are the faces for our brand so we like to be at events mixing up cocktails and dealing directly with our customers. Face to face interaction is important to us, as is feedback and new ideas.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

For the past 20 years Matt and I (Steph) have marketed products and services for others including Toshiba and Life Fitness – always with a strong desire to create our own product to successfully market in the UK, and overseas. Our dream started to become reality when in 2010 Matt embarked on a journey to Mongolia to be Best Man at his brother’s wedding. During the trip, Matt tasted many different vodkas which sparked an interest in the spirit and was the initial inspiration behind our brand creation. In Mongolia vodka is a part of the culture and it is drunk by everyone, adults and children alike. This idea really resonated with us and lead us to develop and create the purest English sipping vodka that could be made. One day we’d like to have Wild Knight available in Mongolia!

Who do you admire?

I have huge admiration for Richard Branson – To quote his words: “For a successful entrepreneur it can mean extreme wealth. But with extreme wealth comes extreme responsibility. And the responsibility for me is to invest in creating new businesses, create jobs, employ people, and to put money aside to tackle issues where we can make a difference.”
What’s not to admire?! I’d like to think that we are just starting our journey and one day hope that we may be an inspiration for others.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

Yes, many things. However, everything we have been through has lead us to where we are today. One of the main branding lessons we have learned, when creating a product to be stocked on shelves, is to look carefully at shelf-presence. A few years ago we created a non-alcoholic drink and we wanted consumers to see the drink in the bottle without covering it up with labelling. However, on shelf it completely disappeared and needless to say we eventually shelved the product. However, we learnt a lot from that experience and it helped us to create the branding for Wild Knight Vodka which has amazing shelf-presence with a black bottle and striking pewter label. Building a business is about learning from your mistakes and growing.


What defines your way of doing business?

At the heart of our business is a desire to do the best we can, and that relates to both our product and the way we deal with our customers. We never settle for second best; from the barley we use, to the water (filtered 4x with reverse osmosis) and the hand-polished, embossed pewter labels; everything is the highest quality it can be and reflects the nature of our vodka – the finest that can be made. We enjoy forging strong relationships with our customers and work with them to help promote Wild Knight in new ways such as with cocktail ideas and tasting menus. It is these relationships that will ensure it’s a success.


What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Never listen to those who say “It can’t be done.” We could have given up after our first attempt at launching a product into the drinks market, but we didn’t we learnt from our mistakes and moved on. There’s always a way to achieve your dreams, but it will take time, perseverance and a bucket-load of determination.