August 2022: Trader of the Month - Catford Rum Arrangé
Tell us a bit about your business:
We are Sam and Faz, the creators of Catford Rhum Arrangé. We run a fully licensed blending and compounding facility in Catford, Lewisham, which we set-up to produce and bottle small batch runs of Rhum Arrangé.
Our love affair with Rhum Arrange started many years ago during our regular trips to visit family in the South of France. These trips are always full of good food, good drinks and good times and we always looked forward to tasting the homemade Rhum Arrangé that our friends and family had been preparing in the months leadingup to our visits.
When our annual trip was cancelled during the travel restrictions of 2021, we decided to produce our own recipe in the UK, at a time when it was very much needed. Taking advantage of Faz’s extensive knowledge of the wide variety of Rhum Arrange recipes, we made up a few bottles in the hope that they would bring some happiness and cheer during some dark lockdown moments.
How eco-friendly are you?
Due to the serious social implications of the Climate Crisis, Catford Rhum Arrange is eco-friendly. Our rum is sourced from a high-quality independent small batch UK Distillery. The fruits, spices and herbs used in our drink are all sourced locally from the community, and from in and around Lewisham. The raw organic coca beans used for our Raw Cacao Rhum Arrange, are sourced from reputable Climate Pledge Friendly companies who source their products directly from Fairtrade business that help other local communities to flourish. All the products we use to flavour our Rhum Arrangé are biodegradable and are composted at our local facility. We try to source everything we use from eco-friendly suppliers (boxes, bags, etc.) and actively promote recycling on our bottled branding. We organise free delivery in Lewisham once a week, to try to reduce carbon emissions.
Why do you trade at Catford
Like Rum, Catford is made up of a down-to-earth, socially and culturally diverse community of people. As members of this community, we wanted to celebrate this in the best possible way and Catford Food Market has given us the opportunity offer tastings for people to experience the drink for the first time.
How important is branding?
Our branding is very important to us! Despite manufacturing a high-quality artisan drink, we have adopted a more Avant-Garde approach to the more traditional formal design normally associated with ‘super premium’ spirit drinks. As sophisticated in flavour to spirits such as Whiskey or Brandy, Rum is also a down-to-earth versatile drink that can be drunk in a variety of ways. From our experience, Rum is always enjoyed by the most fun and interesting people! We hope our branding reflects these values.
How important is customer service?
Customer service is a number one priority at Catford Rhum Arrangé. We are a small business focused on promoting quality, rather than quantity. For us, high standards of customer service build valuable feedback and help establish continued trust and loyalty.
What does it take to be a successful trader?
As we are quite new to trading, it is difficult to answer this question, but this is what we have learned so far:
Have a trading plan.
Love what you do and believe in what you are trading.
Educate yourself about your product and its history - ‘Knowledge Is Power!’
Always assess, reflect and learn from your experience, and listen to others and learn from others experience too.
Be on the right side of the law (important when trading alcohol!)
Be realistic, be disciplined and ready to work hard, and try and enjoy the journey as much as you can.
Customer service is key - be fair to your customers, build good relationships and support the local community and local businesses.
What are your plans for the future?
In the long-term, our aim is to open up our own bar/bistro/shop here in Catford dedicated to creating the good vibes of Rhum Arrangé for the Catford community. We also hope this can be a way to continue to provide support for all the excellent local independent food makers and producers in Catford and Lewisham.