We all love a few bubbles every now and then and it’s so easy to forget just how much sugar sparkling wines contain. Amanda Thomson is making sure we don’t forget, and is giving us a healthy, tasty alternative. But what’s it like behind the scenes of the next hot alcohol brand?
So, Amanda, what do you do?
I’m founder and CEO of Thomson & Scott Ltd and have created Thomson & Scott Skinny – a portfolio of top quality, no and low sugar Champagne, Prosecco and sparkling wine, essentially a whole new sector in the drinks market.
Sounds tasty…tell me more
On a day to day basis the truth of it is I sort logistics – shipping and deliveries, agonise over bottle foils, struggle with exchange rates… the glamour! It’s funny because so many people imagine I sit around drinking Champagne, tweeting from time to time and heading off to this party or that dinner. The reality is really rather different. That said, I LOVE what I’m doing and have ambitious plans to make Thomson & Scott Skinny a serious, global brand in the next few years.
You have big plans for the future but how did you get to where you are now?
Having been brought up on a vegetarian, no sugar diet, I had always had a keen interest in healthy living. After a career as an Arts Broadcaster at the BBC, I moved to Paris and studied for my Diploma in Wine at the Le Cordon Bleu School. I became obsessed with putting the spotlight on the sugar added to Champagne and sparkling wine, and in taking top quality bottles and branding them in such a way that the lack of sugar becomes the focus. But I knew that to be taken seriously I needed to throw myself into the wine world and learn as much about it as I could in a short space of time. Journalists are used to immersing ourselves into different topics and are not afraid to ask seemingly stupid questions – a super useful skill in business in fact. Often you find out later that others didn’t know the answer either but were afraid to speak up!
What have been the highest and lowest moments so far?
Whoah. So many lows, where to start…But I’m learning that that’s only to be expected when you’re building a global brand from scratch. And a few highs along the way too. I’ve just got to make sure I pause and enjoy the good bits in between the graft and drama. I had a pretty bad low just the other day when my foils were a completely different colour – the wrong one – on my Thomson & Scott Prosecco with just a couple of weeks to launch. Funnily enough though, they’ve ended up looking fantastic so we got there in the end. No one dies. It’s wine! I constantly remind myself of that. A recent high was having the most successful woman in the UK Tech world and the President of RIBA love what we do and want to collaborate. That is rather cool. Oh and a Bodycoach event at The Bluebird Chelsea when Joe Wicks decided he was a Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne fan.
Who has been your biggest support/inspiration?
My husband, definitely (though he doesn’t always tell me what I want to hear).
Advice to your high school self?
Focus on the goal. No matter what anyone says, you can do whatever you set your mind to – you just have to believe you can and focus on the end-game without wavering.
If you weren’t doing this, you would be…?
I can’t imagine anything else now. I had a fantastic previous career in broadcasting but it’s all about Thomson & Scott Skinny now. That said, I could happily be snoozing in the sun on a desert island now. I’m constantly running around!
Where do you see yourself going next?
New York definitely. Once we’ve made real headway in the UK we’ll look to the US. Due to the global media we’ve already had interest all over the world but I have a special excitement about about launching in New York City – especially after the New York Times blogged about us.
What’s your favourite thing about London?
The undeniable buzz. I fell head over heels in love with Paris when I lived there for 3 years studying wine and spending time with wine makers in the vineyards. But it’s a city you can rely on that rarely changes. London has an electric energy right now. Hottest city in the world I’d say.
And your favourite thing to do in London?
I’m a real foodie which may sound like an oxymoron being a vegetarian but it’s true! The journalist in me loves searching out hot new places and openings – I would love to have more time for art galleries. I always feel like I’m chasing my tail at the mo but that’s the nature of launching a start-up.
Thanks Amanda – finally, what’s your top tip for London career girls?
Fake it ’til you make it! Confidence doesn’t have to be real – just learn to act as though you know exactly what you’re doing and have self-belief even when you doubt yourself. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy in time.
To keep up with Amanda and see where she is taking Thomson & Scott next, follow the links below.