In recent years, non-alcoholic beverages have become more mainstream as people shift their focus to moderation and health. Due to this shift, there’s been an increase in demand for quality non-alcoholic beverages.
Pauline Idogho saw this demand and decided to create her own line of ready-to-drink non-alcoholic cocktails, Mocktail Club. Inspired by her global travels and quest to find healthy and enjoyable alternatives to alcohol, she began creating bold and daring flavors that are typically not found in non-alcoholic beverages.
“I am originally from Nigeria and grew up in London – then moved to the US for college. As a result, I loved to travel and worked in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. All the different cultural experiences have shaped me and ended up being the springboard for a lot of the cocktail flavors,” said Pauline.
Pauline came up with the concept for Mocktail Club when she was expecting and wanted healthy and sophisticated non-alcoholic options and found a limited selection. She decided to fill that gap in the market herself and began testing the idea among a focus group of moms during her maternity leave.
By November 2018, Pauline had launched her business and started selling her non-alcoholic beverages at Whole Foods in the Mid-Atlantic and in food services. She faced challenges early on, having to convince retailers that there was indeed a need for non-alcoholic options in their stores and menus.
“Performance of the products and creating more revenues by upselling customers who had only soda or water to choose from was an easy way to convince them to keep us on their menus and stores.”
What had started as a small passion project has since evolved into something significant, with a global impact.
Mocktail Club is a mindful, health-focused company and a great option for anyone looking to reduce their alcohol intake and really focus on balance and mindfulness. Mocktail Club beverages are also full of superfruits and prebiotics, providing functional health benefits with each drink.
Additionally, Mocktail Club is a mission-driven company, prioritizing sustainability with its packaging and production to reduce their footprint and supporting clean water access globally with 1% of all sales going to Water For People, a global charity that provides free and clean drinking water across the world.
Pauline is also a founding member and head of the finance committee of the Adult Non-Alcoholic Beverage Association, which works to promote inclusivity among individuals who have ever felt left out because of their drinking preferences.
Paving the way for other aspiring BIPOC entrepreneurs
Mocktail Club’s impact doesn’t stop there. Founded by a woman of color, the company is also focused on promoting diversity and inclusion.
“I feel it is a strength to have diverse voices with different job experiences and cultural backgrounds,” said Pauline. “We have a very small team that have origins from Nigeria, Argentina and Vietnam. We are the faces of a diverse customer base, which makes us richer as a company. We are excited to build a national brand led by BIPOC women.”
Currently, less 2% of women get venture capital money and less than 100 black women have raised a million dollars in the US in 2022. Pauline is defying those odds and paving the way for other women of color in her industry.
“I love the fact that my 3 year old and 5 year old can easily recognize the Mocktail Club brand and associate with me. As a result, I feel their world will be limitless because they will grow up seeing me building an idea into fruition from scratch,” she said. “I am excited to build an iconic brand that can motivate more women of color to dream big and make it happen.”
Pauline believes in paying it forward to other aspiring BIPOC and female entrepreneurs by supporting them and sharing lessons learned to help improve the underrepresentation of minority groups in the highest levels of corporations.
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For anyone thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, Pauline advises you start with an idea that you’re passionate about and that you believe needs to exist. “Then, test it, work hard and find ways to validate and iterate your concept,” said Pauline.
Once you have that concept, “surround yourself with strong mentors and advisors and also with a supportive family or friend base,” she continued. And finally, “lean into yourself and believe in your capabilities so that when you face obstacles and rejections, you can continue to find your North Star. Stay tenacious and learn from adversity—which is a good pathway to success.”