The Feel Good Drinks Company is not even three years old, yet it turned over £3m last year and thinks it can double that this year. Liz Hamson meets the trio behind the brand

The Magic Roundabout film may be aimed at kids, but Dougal and chums are also drawing nostalgia-seeking adults to the cinema.
For The Feel Good Drinks Company, which snatched the movie sponsorship deal from under the nose of its global heavyweight rivals, it is feelgood news indeed.
Luck played a part in clinching the deal, admits marketing director, Steve Cooper. “We got in early.”
But you make your own luck and Feel Good is making it by the bucketload at the moment.
The company, run by former Coca-Cola colleagues, Cooper, MD David Wallwork and sales director Chris Wright, supplies its soft drinks, which come in flavours such as its Naturally Cleansing Cranberry and Orange, to 8,000 retail outlets. Last year the business tripled in size and turned over close to £3m. “This from a company that started in July 2002 and still has its first order pinned to the wall as a memento,” says Cooper.
Like so many good ideas, Feel Good was conceived down the local, the pub round the corner from the Coke’s head office in Uxbridge in fact. Cooper laughs: “I was giving it all the marketing spiel and Dave said: ‘What are we offering here?’ I said, ‘It’s a feel good drink’.”
If getting the name right was straightforward, getting the product right was anything but. The team conducted endless tastings to refine the flavour of the soft drinks, which are aimed at adults and boast a combination of juices, water, vitamins and natural ingredients.
Then there was the packaging and branding. Wallwork says: “We deliberately went with a glass bottle, because it suggests premium and gives a reasonable shelf life. And we wanted a price point that was a little bit premium but cheaper than smoothies. We wanted to target 20 to 35-year-old gym members who don’t go too often, people who enjoy life and don’t take things too seriously.”
Superdrug was the first retailer to list Feel Good drinks - in 2002 - and they really began to cross the public radar in October 2003 when the company launched an exclusive Pink Citrus Juice Drink in Boots to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.
Last September Feel Good ran a trial in Tesco’s Canary Wharf Metro, inviting shoppers to donate their bras to a Feel Good Bra-Vo campaign. “We collected more than 1,000 bras and sold more than 4,000 drinks in a month,” says Wallwork, adding that on the strength of the campaign, Tesco listed the drinks.
Feel Good drinks now come in a carbonated version, Feel Good Spritz, and are available internationally. Listed in Irish chain Superquinn and Holland, they will soon hit France and the company is eyeing the US and Asia.
Yet, it has never struggled with the rate of growth, insists Cooper. “The complexities of servicing a 100,000-case business are not that different from a 500,000-case business,” he says. Production is outsourced to third parties, he adds. “Our expertise is in developing soft drinks, not manufacturing them.”
Another advantage is the company’s size. “We’re small and can make decisions quickly.”
The Magic Roundabout sponsorship deal is a case in point, says Cooper, who flags up the promotion offering shoppers the chance to win one of a thousand exclusive ‘Big and Bouncy’ T-shirts.
The future is not just about canny promotions, though. This summer, Feel Good launches a new tropical flavour. Next month, meanwhile, it is making its whole range ‘no added sugar’ (see Marketing p59). Production costs will increase as a result, admits Cooper, but they should be offset by the sales uplift.
It is a gamble, but one that Feel Good, which expects to double its turnover this year, is taking in its stride - as you’d expect from a bunch who admit that The Magic Roundabout character they most identify with is hippy rabbit Dylan.
Just don’t mention sugar-munching Dougal.