Wild Box – Bespoke, boutique and Glamorous Cocktails
Laura Taylor is the founder of Wild Box, a cocktail service that has attended to people during lockdowns, and now will serve people in person on the Harbour Arm. Wild Box was set up in 2019 to add a little something to the drink offerings at major events, festivals, weddings and parties. Roll on to 2021 and Laura is ready to serve all of Folkestone with her locally sourced spirits. Folkelife wanted to find out more about Wild Box.
“I had a horsebox that had been sitting in my parents garden for too long. My plan was to renovate it and use that as my vehicle to take cocktails with locally sourced spirits to sporting events and festivals. In retrospect, I probably would have been financially better off if I’d just bought a new van! But there’s something about the horsebox that gives that charm and boutique feel that I’m looking for.
“The location on the Harbour Arm is ideal for creating that comfortable feel that I want. Velvet walls, deep green glazed tiles on the bar… I want it to be somewhere where you can get a really good drink, but hear some great music and enjoy your evening out. I’ve gone beyond nightclubs now. What I want is to wake up the next day, not with a raging hangover, but knowing that I really enjoyed myself the night before, and want to do that again.”
“My idea has always been to make cocktails from local spirits. When I started out in 2019, I was still trying to discover what my offering would be, but I know that I’m passionate about good produce, so that’s my main driver. 2020 was looking good with a full summer of events and weddings to cater for, but then we all know what happened. I lost all of my planned business and I was devastated. So, I cried for about 10 days and then got up, said to myself that I wasn’t going to let this defeat me, I have risked too much.
“I started doing a gin delivery to the local area. It wasn’t a big delivery round to start with but it meant I could focus on serving the spirits I like, with the mixers and the garnishes that I want to work with all the time. There was a little card in the box from me telling how I would pair the drinks and away you go. I then developed these cocktail kits and my takings doubled, even tripled, over night!”
Virtual cocktail evenings
“The next step was to do virtual cocktail events. I have a corporate background as I used to work for Land Rover. I started marketing these in July, August 2020 and they have snowballed! It’s got to the point where I am now sending a minimum of 100 boxes out a week. I’ve done events with Condé Nast, HSBC, Metro Bank, Vogue Magazine… It’s gone mad! I’m in front of an audience, talking about my products and I love it! I certainly hadn’t pictured my business being this back in 2019, but I’m booked out for virtual events for the next few months and can’t wait to get started on the Harbour Arm.”
Folkestone’s Harbour Arm
“I love going to the Harbour Arm and I think that Wild Box is a really good fit there. If you’ve seen our branding we have a very Art Deco feel to our product. I want to reflect this in the decor and so expect golds and dark green, soft lighting and really good music. I’m aiming for a boutique jazz club feel! When the trade is slower during the winter months, we can take advantage of the corridor and put on some great music evenings – a cocktail and saxophone evening once a month!
“What I’m really looking forward to is meeting my customers face to face and talking about our ingredients and products. I have a good relationship with the distillers I use and expect to see Greensand Ridge, Chapel Down, Copper Rivet, Maidstone Distillery, Canterbury Distillery… There are loads of local distilleries that are doing such an amazing job. They have great stories behind them. We’re going with Fevertree mixers as they have a lower sugar content to them which helps bring out the flavours of the gins and other spirits we’re using. We use fresh garnishes, and if we can’t get fresh, then I dehydrate the fresh stuff when it’s in stock so we can use authentic, quality produce all the time.”
a beautiful drink
“People also want to drink out of a nice glass, and we’ve got some beautiful wine glasses to go with our small, but very good wine list. We’re working on a take-away cup which will be recyclable, and paper, but it’s got to feel nice when you drink from it. There will be beers available too, and again, these will be local and will change every so often.
“There’s lots to be excited about trading on the Harbour Arm, but it does mean we can be open all year round. The music events can be monthly, and we’re going to be part of that option of where to go on a night out. There are so many great restaurants in Folkestone, that we can be the place you go to before your meal, or afterwards to continue your evening. It’s a really exciting thing, and I get so passionate about what I do that I can’t wait to start serving people a really good drink.”