How is the raise going?
Will Palmer: Right now we've raised £440,583 from 464 investors off an initial target of £300,000. The crowdfund has now been extended to 18 February. Demand for wine delivery continues to surge with each lockdown. We’ve seen our customer base double and sales grow by 145% during the pandemic.
How did the app come about?
Ian Campbell: Four or five years ago we were looking at a second site for 10 Cases, in Soho. It was actually the site that Kricket ended up taking (on Denman Street). It has a massive basement. We didn’t like the thought of sending customers down there so we started thinking about alternative uses. We had a few different ideas but eventually settled on a delivery service. We didn’t get the site but we now have a premises for Drop close to 10 Cases on Drury Lane. You have to remember that the idea was hatched before the likes of Deliveroo offered wine from wine shops. But even now we don’t believe wine delivery is that sophisticated. There’s a gap in the market for what we do.
How does the app work?
IC: It’s fun and simple to use with short descriptions and offers the same sort of wine we’d choose for 10 Cases and Parsons. Part of the appeal, we suppose, is that people are getting that curation. We’re offering delivery within Zones 1 and 2 within an hour via Stuart (a courier service). We also offer next day delivery nationwide and to central London customers that are in less of a hurry for their wine.
You stock some high-end wines. Is there much demand for £100+ bottles delivered via moped?
WP: Yes there is. But we need to be careful with what we list. You don’t want a very fragile bottle bouncing over potholes. Sparkling is fine because we put it on ice before we dispatch (which reduces the pressure in the bottle). While we do list some top-end stuff, we have a lot of lower cost options. Our average bottle spend is between £20 and £25 and the average basket is about £90.
What will the crowdfunding cash be used for?
IC: To kickstart our expansion. We will look to open 10 sites in London first but by next year we hope to get outside the capital - we eventually want to scale the business to a national footprint of over 100 distribution points. All of this will be achieved by way of a franchise model. Rather than building something corporate, we want to find hospitality people that are well-qualified but don’t have access to the funds that are required to open a wine bar, restaurant or wine shop. The plan is to match that person with someone that does have money, either Drop itself or an outside investor. Initially we’ll look at creating wine bars that also function as delivery hubs, but we’re also planning to use the dark kitchen model in less populated areas.
What will be the terms of the franchise?
WP: It’s very simple. Our partners will just need to buy their wine from us. There won’t be a profit share or anything like that. While we would ultimately control the wine, the wine professionals we’re going to be working with will of course have input. We soon expect to be able to fund the expansion organically. The beauty of the model is that it’s cash positive for us.
Where do you source your wines?
WP: At the moment we’re sourcing from wholesalers but we will start importing wines directly as we grow. Wine delivery is tricky because the margin is far lower than food. A lot of wine delivery services end up charging people close to restaurant prices for wine. We’re working on retail margins, and those that want to drink at the Drop wine bars simply pay corkage on top.