Braavheart: Ann-Sophie Ickroth - Clover Gin

Today we have an interview with Ann-Sophie Ickroth, one of the three sisters behind Clover Gin. Ann-Sophie is a "buzzy bee", sporting 5-6 hours a week and combining her intensive job as a notarial lawyer with Clover Gin. 

Ann-Sophie, can you give a quick introduction of yourself? 

Hi, I'm Ann-Sophie Ickroth, 28 years old and living in Antwerp with my boyfriend Bob. I work as a notarial lawyer and during my "free time", I'm responsible for the social media, events and PR at Clover Gin. I love to work-out and spend 5-6 hours a week practicing different kind of sports: fitness, running and horse riding are my favourite ones. Last, but not least:  I'm passionated about interior design & love to renovate old houses. You can follow me on my account @renovateantwerp. 

 

Can you tell us a little bit more about the story of Clover gin? 

In November, we will celebrate our 5th anniversary. Hooray! We launched Clover Gin in 2015, but before launching day we already spend 6 to 8 months sourcing the right ingredients and finetuning our first Gin. Charlotte, Nanouk and myself (sisters Ickroth) all have a different taste, so finding the perfect one, was quite challenging. 

Clover Gin is founded by the three Ickroth - sisters. Can you introduce them?  

Me and my 2 sisters Nanouk and Charlotte are working together to get Clover Gin to the next level. We are 3 sisters, with 3 different capacities and are a therefore the perfect complementary team. Charlotte, the middle sister, works full-time for clover gin and is responsible for the production & deliveries. She is also the first contact for our B2B clients and webshop clients. Nanouk, the oldest sister, has a lot of expertise in international sales and occupies herself with the key clients and export. For example she organised our sales deal with TUI. 
And, there is also our mom! Helping us out with all the administration & accounting. 

What are the ups and downs of working with your family?

Doing business with your family has a few ups & downs. I love to work with my family, cause we can communicate quickly and we are always honest and open to each other. This final point has also an opposition: we have no filter! If we don't agree on something, things can escalate quickly. Luckily, thanks to our open communication, this is always solved very fast.  

How do you combine this with sports and your daytime job? 

Structure and communication. I have to admit that I should even be more active on the social media accounts of Clover Gin. Now I don't have the time to post every single day. People do often underestimate the work involved in nurturing and growing a brand. Especially finding and creating the right content is time-consuming. I try to combine my sport activities and work, so when I'm in the gym I'm planning some posts for that week.  

How was the first year of Clover Gin?

It started as a pop-up idea in 2015. The goal was to sell 2000 bottles in a time period of one year. Surprisingly, we launched at November and in January we were already sold out! (After 3 months!) Liquor stores in the neighbourhood were immediately enthusiastic and ordered some bottles. Thanks to this kick start, Charlotte could immediately work full-time for Clover Gin to sustain our growth. 


Highlight of  Clover Gin so far?

Definitely the Collaboration with TUI. We had a lot of positive reactions that summer from all our customers, friends and fans. It was a huge deal that came with his challenges: our baby bottles that we served on the flights, were immediately out of stock and it was difficult to reproduce them fast.

Other highlights:

  • Flying with jet fighters: for the 100th anniversary of the Belgian Airforce '1st squadron Stingers' we made a personalised clover gin bottle 
  • World Cup Clover Gin edition: Bottles in the three colours of Belgium

 

Ambitions within 5 years

Expansion abroad. We've just started in the USA, Japan & UK. Our goal is to investigate our further growth in the USA. Gin-tonic is served very classic in the United States and they don't use or serve their gin with botanicals. So the way we serve our Gin Tonics and the special flavours we offer can be a niche in this market and can bring a lot of opportunities. 

Tip for other people who want to start something themselves?

Surround yourself by the right people and listen to good advice. We've always done that from the beginning. You can't do or know everything on your own, so you have to trust the right partners. 


Last but not least: can you recommend someone for our Braavheart section?


My best friend and mompreneur: Charlotte Kegels from Very Important Animals!


Thanks a lot Ann-Sophie!