How I Got Here: Emily Darwell

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here with Sipful canned cocktails founder Emily Darwell

Related tags: Cocktails, Drinks brands

The founder of Sipful on creating her canned cocktails business, the importance of family support, and Sundays spent eating 'eccentric' fish finger sandwiches.

Why canned cocktails?​ 
I have always liked the canned drink packaging format, easy for our on-the-go outdoor lifestyle. Married to a brewer it was hard to admit that beer was no longer for me, when I decided to drop beer I looked around for other alternative canned products, however everything I could find on the market at the time was either overly sweet, synthetic flavours and frankly something I didn't want in my body... looking also at the canned wine options I wasn't taken by these either, que Sipful.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?​ 
Well, I am afraid this has nothing in relation to Sipful, as my own career has been in childcare - however it has provided Sipful with the fuel to get started and found our life during this tricky first year of being a start-up, and continues to do so. So what do I wish I had been told, that as a nanny you need to prepare for heart break every time you move on from a family... and save every penny as you never know when your career will come to a halt and you take a different trajectory in life.

What’s your favourite canned drink (besides your own)?​ 
I recently discovered 'The Copper Crew's Chenin Blanc' via our wonderful monthly 'Canned Club' box - it was amazing.

What motivates you?​ 
My family.

What keeps you up at night? 
My Family!!

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the wine business? 
My husband Darius, I have never known anyone who works this hard, with this much dedication and passion, I am in awe of him every day.

How do you let off steam?​ 
Running the hills of Yorkshire or walking with my wee one down to the river.

Do you prefer a night on the tiles or a night on the sofa?​ 
Night on the tiles for sure, I love meeting new people, dancing and making memories.

What’s your signature dish to cook at home?​ 
Cauliflower and gnocchi cheese bake with extra cheese.

Typical Sunday?​ 
We love traditions in this household so we love our Sunday brunch consisting of an eccentric fish finger sandwich accompanied by coffee and of course a Sipful Mimosa.

Favourite holiday destination?​ 
Alderney - I found it so magical, and has some similar charms to where I grew up in Galloway in South West Scotland.

What are you currently reading?​ 
Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep.

What was your dream job growing up?​ 
Norland Nanny, which I am proud to say I am.

Worst business decision?​ 
At the very beginning not checking the IP in greater depth resulting in having to rebrand, this did set us back and we found out the day our son Beau was due to be born, so it was quite the week.

Best business decision?​ 
Rebranding to Sipful (always a silver lining).

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business? 
Make sure the entire family are as dedicated, support is essential.


Born in Dumfries, Scotland, Darwell studied at Norland Nanny college in Bath and followed this with multiple professional development courses to continue her career in childcare, which saw her work in roles including as a Norland Nanny, maternity practitioner, sleep trainer, family consultant, and rota nanny. With her brewer husband Darius, Darwell began exploring the canned cocktail space to try and find an alternative to drinking beer. The pair eventually quit their day jobs in order to create Sipful, which offers premium cocktails in a can made with 100% natural fruit and flavours.

Related topics: People, Profiles

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