Body Armour Startup Story with Toni McQuinn

Simon chats with Toni McQuinn, Director of Body Armour Australia, about how he grew the brand to where it is today.

Show Notes

Body Armour is a company that offers hangover relief products. This unique, Australian and regulated formula is designed to provide you with essential nutrients and relief from your typical hangover symptoms, making your drinking experience significantly healthier.

You can connect with Toni McQuinn here.


Simon Dell: Welcome to the Cemoh Marketing Podcast, Toni McQuinn from Body Armour. 

Toni McQuinn: Thanks very much for having me.

Simon Dell: Thank you for coming up here, and a beautiful Irish accent to match my not-so-beautiful English accent. How long have you been here?

Toni McQuinn: 13 years, yeah, for me. 2007.

Simon Dell: The weather, and the women, and that kind of thing?

Toni McQuinn: The weather and all that sort of stuff that came about, exactly.

Simon Dell: Give us a quick overview about who you are and what you do because we’re going to talk about your background in a minute, but let’s explain why you’re here.

Toni McQuinn: We kicked off Body Armour, this is year three now. We launched the product in October 2018. In a nutshell, it’s a 100 mL liquid. It’s effectively liver support and immune system support. But the main reason people drink it is it helps massively with hangovers. That’s the main reason. That’s the number one angle, the market that we’ve targeted is the social, nightlife scene, and the hangover space. We’ve just seen a big gap here in the Australian market.

Simon Dell: I don’t want to make it sound like it’s too obvious, but an Irishman helping people with their hangovers…

Toni McQuinn: If you can’t trust the Irish, surely…

Simon Dell: They would know how to deal with that.

Toni McQuinn: We’ve done a fair bit of testing on this one, so yeah. That’s basically in a nutshell what we did and off we went.

Simon Dell: We’ll get to that in a minute, but your background is not in this. Your background was Rio Tinto.

Toni McQuinn: It is.

Simon Dell: HR?

Toni McQuinn: HR, completely different, yeah. So yeah, HR for about 10 years or so.

Simon Dell: Were you in HR before you came here?

Toni McQuinn: Yeah, HR law kind of background. That’s always been the background, yeah.

Simon Dell: Explain to me the point when all of a sudden you went, “Fuck HR, I’m going to make this stuff.”

Toni McQuinn: To be honest, it came to us while we’re travelling. I’ve always wanted to get involved in something that we created ourselves. I’ve always been searching and looking for that opportunity. And we were just travelling. A big bunch of us were travelling overseas, and we came across a similar product and we tested it. At first, very sceptical because we’ve seen a lot of this kind of products in the past.

We just said, “Oh, nothing to lose. Give it a nudge.” And there was 12 of us and we could not believe the effectiveness of it. There was a mixture of Aussies and Irish amongst the group, and everyone had that light bulb moment go on, “Holy shit. How does a product like that not exist in a country like Ireland or Australia, where the drinking culture is pretty up there?”

Simon Dell: Where did you see that? Southeast Asia?

Toni McQuinn: South Korea is where it’s at massively, but huge in the States as well. We initially saw this in the States. 

Simon Dell: I guess at that point, you didn’t need to know… Again, I’m making the assumption. You didn’t need to know all the ingredients on the back end?

Toni McQuinn: In the group of 12, there’s four of us who decided on a joint venture and went from there. None of us had a chemistry background, so we had to hire a chemist. So, we got back together when we got back to Australia, pooling some funds together. We realized none of us actually really know too much about how the chemistry side of things work, decided to hire a team of chemists, and off we went to work from there. So, it was just around looking to see what exists out there in the world and then just working alongside the chemists to understand how the formula and the composition worked. And we picked the best of each of the ingredients. And then the best part, the funniest part of the whole project was the testing phase. The testing phase was definitely hard work in the name of science.

Simon Dell: “Not quite sure if it’s working. We need to try this one more time.”

Toni McQuinn: Yeah, that’s exactly it.

Simon Dell: Alright, so then you’ve got a product. Are there still four of you involved?

Toni McQuinn: Yeah. So, we’ve grown since, obviously. But yes, still the same four originals.

Simon Dell: All active in the business?

Toni McQuinn: All active in the business, and we all look after different legs of the business per se. And then we still have our team of chemists and a lab that’s currently based in Brisbane. We’re in the process of moving to a bigger place.

Simon Dell: How does that work with four of you, the dynamics of decision making and things like that?

Toni McQuinn: It works quite well. To be honest – and that’s where the HR piece came in. Because we spent a fair bit of time at the beginning to get the fundamentals of how we’re going to operate the team together. And that was probably one of the best piece of time that we’ve spent since we kicked off, just ensuring that we had our operating procedures in place, all this kind of fluffy stuff, you might think, but it’s come in super handy so many times in helping us navigate difficult times and helping us make decisions.

Simon Dell: Give us a snapshot. If there’s four of you in the room, two of you want to do something, two of you don’t want to do something, how do you make that decision?

Toni McQuinn: Ultimately, from a baseline, we’ve got what we call our golden rules which we’ve developed from the get-go, which lists out basically certain types of scenarios that we could be in. We learn a lot on that, and that’s something that we’ve each signed off on. But other than that, the four of us know each other for a long, long time. So, we kind of also know what kind of works for us, what takes us, what doesn’t. And then usually, there’ll be one of us kind of more level-headed that will step in and go, “Hey, back down to Earth.”

And four of us are very similar but also very different, and that’s kind of how it works.

Simon Dell: All Irish?

Toni McQuinn: No, three Irish, one Australian. If it was four Irish, it’d be a bit sus. It’s a bit, “Something’s not right here.” So, we need the Aussie there to give us that level of credibility, I guess. 

Simon Dell: Alright, so you’ve created this product. The brand, where did that all come from?

Toni McQuinn: That, again, brainstorming at the very beginning. We spent a lot of time literally just in rooms with whiteboards and designing who we want to be, creating, effectively an avatar for the brand, what the brand looks like, who the audience is going to be, how we’re going to market ourselves, what is going to be the message, what are going to be some of the hurdles that we’re going to face immediately when we get out of the gate, all that piece. So, through that came the birth of Body Armour.

Simon Dell: Did you, from a design perspective, logos and things like that, did that go out to an agency? Again, the other thing I look at with a bottle like this… I presume there’s a bit of research that goes into it?

Toni McQuinn: Definitely. The first piece, when we did our brainstorm around what are going to be some of the challenges that we’re going to face straightaway… The first one with a product like ours, especially marketing in the hangover space was scepticism. Because there’s been, realistically, a lot of crappy products in the past, you know, the pill and powder form, we’ve tried them all basically. So, that was the first piece.

The first piece of work that we did is, “What can we do from a mitigating perspective to make sure that we’re back in that space?” The first piece is obviously design, that’s why we went glass, high-end feel to it. The second piece was just ensuring that our design and logos were quite slick. So, we did get some consulting from outside the group. And then the third and biggest piece is we went down the path of medicine.

So in Australia, you can list a consumable under the Food Act, which is just basically proving that your ingredients aren’t going to kill anyone. Or you can go down the medicine route, which then allows you to make therapeutic claims. But for that to happen, you have to have scientific evidence that backs any claims you want to make.

A lot more complicated, took us about a year and a half to get there. And again, without the chemists, we wouldn’t have been able to get that done. But we got that done and that’s under the Therapeutic Goods of Australia, so TGA, which is the equivalent to the FDA over in the States. And that allowed us then to go into the chemists and sell them to the pharmaceutical world, and give us that level of credibility that we needed.

Simon Dell: One of the things when I used to work in the beer industry was about the colour of the bottles. There’s all this kind of mental – there’s a real psychology around whether the bottle should be clear, brown, or green. Because essentially, that’s your choice when it comes to glass bottles. Was there any thought around that? I mean, obviously, you can’t see the liquid in there. What colour is the liquid?

Toni McQuinn: The liquid is a dark green, maroon in-between, that kind of colour.

Simon Dell: I guess if people saw the liquid, they might not…

Toni McQuinn: Perhaps, yeah. Like more health kind of product, they’re afraid of the colour, I suppose.

Simon Dell: It’s often easy to drink it… The reason for the beer one was if you put it in a brown bottle, people aren’t necessarily drinking it with their eyes, which sounds really weird, but they don’t necessarily see the colour of the beer before. It’s all down to the taste because the brown bottle hides the colour, as does the green bottle.

When you put it in a clear bottle, all of a sudden, you’ve got to make sure that the colour looks good as well. Because if it looks too pale or something, it can put people off buying it and holding it, those kinds of things. So, I wonder whether there was any – all that was just fit in with the brand?

Toni McQuinn: So, the design fits with the brand, basically. We went more design versus colour of the liquid. 

Simon Dell: In terms of manufacturing, is it all made here or overseas?

Toni McQuinn: The formula itself is all made here. Our lab is in Yatala, Brisbane. I’ve got a team of chemists that manages our lab piece, the raw materials, predominantly in Australia but quite a few overseas as well. And then the glass is custom-made in China.

Simon Dell: Day one, you’ve got your first samples. You’re happy with it. Tastes great. It’s doing everything you’ve expected. You all got drunk. You’ve tested it out… And everything – all the boxes are ticked. Where do you go from there? When you look on your website, it’s listed in Cellarbrations.

Toni McQuinn: We’ve got Liquor Legends, Bottlemart, Cellarbrations, TerryWhites and a few independents, and then chatting to a few other larger players.

Simon Dell: Was that you guys just going out there? 

Toni McQuinn: I think the strategy for us from a wholesale perspective was quite simple. We got in the door with a few, small independents. We said, “Let’s build the stats.” And once we got the stats, we got something to showcase, then we can go to the larger players and off we went from there.

And our turning point was TerryWhite contacted us because we have a few small independent pharmacies, and then we got that call, which was a great day, we got ahead of ourselves. And once we were able to get into TerryWhite stores, it really gave us that level of credibility again from the customer’s perspective.

Because, “Hey, hang on, if you’re in TerryWhites, you’ve got to be somewhat legit.” And that was really the turning point for us and that domino affected them then into the other brands and what-not.

Simon Dell: How does Cellarbrations, for example, react… “We’re in TerryWhite” and Cellarbrations like, “Hold on a second.” How does that conversation…?

Toni McQuinn: It’s kind of like two different customer bases as well. Because we’re probably split, I would say, 70/30. 70% of our customers use it purely for alcohol reasons, and then we’ve got 30% that use it literally just for fitness, especially in the bodybuilding space. We’ve got four quite strong liver cleansing agents as part of the formula. So, from a TerryWhite perspective, you’ve got pharmacists that are really pushing it from liver support, immune system support, as well as… Whereas bottle shops, it’s just, you’re going to have a few drinks, you might as well buy one of those.

Simon Dell: Buy one of those as well.

Toni McQuinn: Exactly. That’s how it works.

Simon Dell: Is there someone within the team doing that sales?

Toni McQuinn: Yeah. So, how we’ve broken up the four of us is kind of myself and Tadhg, another good Irish name, basically looks after the business development side of it. My brother, Oisin, looks after all of that marketing design. So, he’s on everything you can see from the website, social media, all that sort of stuff.

And then we’ve got the talking Australian, Patrick Sarg, the Big Friendly as we call him, and looks after all the logistics, background operations, office, that sort of stuff.

Simon Dell: Often with these kinds of products… And again, I’ve experienced this in the beer industry as well. Getting it on the shelf is half of the battle. Getting people to walk in the bottle shop or the TerryWhite, getting it to take off the shelf is a whole nother ball game.

Toni McQuinn: Absolutely.

Simon Dell: What’s been the strategy for you guys getting this in front of consumers?

Toni McQuinn: I think you’re deadly right. People pick out the bottle and go, “Oh yeah, it feels cool, good.” And then they see “hangover relief,” and it’s seen like, “Huh, another one of these kinds of products” and they put it down. So, you’re deadly right. From a marketing perspective, we’ve done all the traditional stuff that you can expect: radio, billboards, all that sort of stuff just to get a few touch points.

We do a lot of work with the staff itself, so incentivizing the staff and giving back to staff, pushing products. We do all your taste testing and all that sort of jazz, a lot of work with influencers, and then we have connected ourselves with a lot of sporting teams as well. It’s really pushed our message around the health angle that we’re trying to push.

Because ultimately, the product is not designed for the binge drinkers because we’ve got a lot of that in the beginning as well. It’s like, Jesus, a part of this is going to just encourage people to drink more.

Simon Dell: I was going to say, and I guess that there’s a media challenge around that as well.

Toni McQuinn: 100%, from a PR perspective as well, it was quite challenging at the beginning to push the message of, “Hey, this is not for someone that drinks two bottles of vodka and passes out. This is for the individual that has a normal night, I would say, and wants to be able to function the following day.” 

Our number one customers at the moment are parents. Parents have kids, and they enjoy having a few glasses of wine in a week. They may be a little bit older so they feel the hangover pretty bad, and they’ve got a 6 year old next morning that’s screaming, and they want to be able to have a bit of fun. That’s where it works the best.

When we did the trials for the TGA approval, it was between 5 and 10 pints is where it’s at. And in that realm, and slightly more is sweet, and the guys or girls that would go a bit next level.

Simon Dell: I’ve got two kids under 5, so I completely understand. And I’m 46, so I’m like, it hurts. Like, if I go out on a Saturday night, I’m always saying to my life, “I’m going to be home by 10 o’clock because quite frankly, at 6:00 a.m., I can’t deal with it.” A hangover and two kids is just…

Toni McQuinn: Well, stick a few of these in the fridge, test it out the next day, see if it can help you.

Simon Dell: I’ll take one for me and one for the wife. See what she thinks as well. What did you find works best from a marketing perspective? Obviously, you’ve got the challenge that there’s two markets here. You’ve got the challenge that one of those markets is probably a bit suspect on hangover relief. You said you did billboards, you’ve done radio, social media, all that. What gets the best kind of cut-through?

Toni McQuinn: Realistically, the formula kind of sells itself. If we can get people sampling it, trialling it out, it sells itself. We’re quite confident with the formula itself. Our ratios are pretty good: 10 people try, 6 will love it, 1 is on the fence, and the others are not for them. So off the back of that, we do a lot of, basically at the beginning, the first 6 months was just getting bottles in people’s hands, as many as we possibly could. Costly exercise, obviously, and risky. 

Simon Dell: Totally. I’ve said it many times. With a product like yours, nobody is going to buy… I mean, people might buy it on a whim.

Toni McQuinn: You’ll get loads of people that will test it out, and they’re great, your early adopters as they call them, right? 100%.

Simon Dell: But the majority of people are not going to buy them off the shelf unless they’ve already tasted it.

Toni McQuinn: Especially because retail is $9.99, right? So people go, “Oh, holy shit. $9.99, that’s too expensive. I don’t believe in it. Off we go.” And they don’t try it. So, the first 6 months were just getting it in people’s hands, handing it out as many as we basically could.

Simon Dell: And how did you do that? What was the method for that?

Toni McQuinn: We partnered up with the partners that we had, the TerryWhites of the world and the Cellarbrations, and what-not, and we did sample tastings on days, and we had teams out there in each store.

Simon Dell: So, if I was going through and buying a can, is that exactly what the wine guys are doing…

Toni McQuinn: Really basic stuff, yeah. Brought it right down to basic fundamentals of just getting it out there. So, that worked really well. And then like I said, we linked ourselves with a few sporting teams. So, we’ve got a few Australian Olympians. We’ve got the Broncos [sp] and a few soccer players and what-not that helped us as well push it through their channels as well.

Simon Dell: There must’ve been a point where you guys sat there and thought, “Shit, this is going to work.”

Toni McQuinn: I think it’s mostly when the bigger brands started partnering up with us, they started contacting us. When it flipped from us having to knock doors, to phones ringing. That was when we sat going, “Right, the numbers are looking healthy. There is a demand for it.”

We start seeing smaller competitors pop up, which creates a sector which is healthy. And yeah. And ultimately, we’re not reinventing the wheel. We’ve just looked to see what happens in South Korea where it’s a much bigger industry. We’ve just improved the formula basically and brought it to a country where partying is healthy.

Simon Dell: When did you guys – So, there were four of you in there. Did you all leave your jobs at various times, or did you all just go “Fuck it” in one day? 

Toni McQuinn: Myself and my brother, we left on the same day, basically, at the very, very beginning.

Simon Dell: Was he in HR as well?

Toni McQuinn: No, he wasn’t. He has an engineering background. Graphics engineer, industrial engineer, that sort of stuff. All different backgrounds, ties in construction like electrician, and he stayed on probably for another 3 to 6 months. And when the business was doing well enough, we pulled him out and Patrick was the last then to come on board.

Simon Dell: So, everyone’s full time now?

Toni McQuinn: That’s it.

Simon Dell: Right. So, where to from now? Obviously, you’ve got yourself a position in the marketplace. When you guys sit down and think about expanding, is it now taking this overseas or taking this into new markets, or is it staying in this market and moving it into different variations of it?

Toni McQuinn: Yes. Overseas is definitely an area we want to go, especially in Asia. That’s why we’ve trademarked our name and what-not to be able to move across over there. We won’t go there until we’ve really secured our spot in the market here and we’ve still got a long, long way to go. There’s still a lot of areas we’ve not touched on just yet.

So, I think growth around here and in each of the states would be a big focus for us. That was going to be this year, it was all about expansion until COVID hit and then we had all the delays, getting suppliers, and all that nonsense that everybody I’m sure went through.

Simon Dell: What you really need is someone to say that this cures COVID. Not you, because you obviously couldn’t say that. But if an influencer just happened to mention it, as long as it wasn’t Pete of My Kitchen Rules. You don’t want him saying that.

Toni McQuinn: Yeah, that’s it. So growth, and then just continuing partnering with brands. We’re doing really cool stuff from a commercial perspective, so we’ve just done, again, let’s use the word “joint venture commercial” with Liquor Legends, which we’ll release in the next week or so.

It’s more kind of comedy skit, and we’ve changed the angle from just demonstrating what the benefits of the formula is and how to use it, to more of a fun, lifestyle commercial with subtle plugs of the brands in the background, and then working alongside with it so we’ll start with Liquor Legends and we’ve got a few others in the pipeline that we’ll start addressing them

Simon Dell: As a brand, you can imagine that it could take itself a little bit too seriously. It kind of can [inaudible 00:23:09].

Toni McQuinn: 100%. It’s a fine line because it is registered as a medicine, and we’re super proud about it. And the formula – a lot of work has gone into it. So, it’s a fine line between making sure that you don’t move away from that serious medicinal space. But also, from a rounding perspective, we want to have a bit of fun with it. We want to have a laugh.

And because we are linked to the hangover social nightlife space, it gives us a lot of room to manoeuvre to create some kind of funky stuff. We’re smack-bang in the middle of doing now getting ready for the silly season, which is the biggest month for us.

Simon Dell: In terms of that overseas strategy, the thought behind that, is it finding distributors in these countries and having them sell it for you, then you sort of partner them with brands?

Toni McQuinn: One option, our investors have Chinese backgrounds and networks in that space. So, the other option is just to go through the safer option. But yeah, and I think getting Australian products to countries like China, Japan, and what-not is definitely well sought-out for over there.

Simon Dell: Yeah, Chinese go nuts for Australian products.

Toni McQuinn: Absolutely. An industry for this is already existing. Like I said, it’s a multi-million dollar business over there. Especially in South Korea, they’ve gone to the next level up. They drink it, of course because it helps from a hangover perspective, but they drink it more so from a health perspective, thinking, “I’m going to be having a bottle of wine.” Toxins are coming into their body and knocking one of these back first to kind of give back, get on the wine, and then next day having a hangover is a bonus. That’s their mentality.

It’s kind of like the protein drink to gym-goers here in Australia. You’ve got the Aussies who will not go to the gym without having a protein, which is ingrained in the culture. It’s kind of the same over there with these.

Simon Dell: You mentioned investors there. When did they come into the picture? Was that early-stage?

Toni McQuinn: No, very, very end. 28th of December to be exact last year. So, it was just that first year, prove the market. Make sure there’s room for us. And then once that was done, investors on board, expanding, second year, started kind of our expansion piece.

Simon Dell: Right, okay. And where did you find the investors from? Was it people that were already interested?

Toni McQuinn: Through our own networks. We have people that contacted us, seeing what we did marketing-wise. I did a little bit of door-knocking, that sort of stuff. So, I literally went to town looking at everyone that was there to make the best decision that was both… Obviously, the financial piece, but more so a cultural fit, where we want to go from a direction perspective. It was going to help us navigate this direction, and business acumen, and all that sort of stuff.

Simon Dell: My last couple of questions. We speak to, from a client perspective, but we also know a lot of other people out there from listening in and watching this kind of thing, are really early stage. They’re kind of where you guys were. They’ve got an idea or they’ve got the basis of a product and they’re testing it out. What’s probably the major thing that you’ve learnt through this whole process?

Toni McQuinn: Probably, like I said again, we spend a lot of time at the beginning mapping out who we are as a brand. I probably would say we’ve even undercooked that and we probably will expand even more time doing that, designing really who our target audience is, and really understanding who we are. That’s probably the first piece.

The second piece is 100% consistency, because the one thing we don’t tell you about startups is the ups and downs and the levels in the seriousness of how up and down it is. You hear about it. We hear more of the good stories around how you’re your own boss, and your own time, and free time – you work from home, and laptops, and cash, life is great. But the downs as well can be pretty intense.

Simon Dell: Give us an example. Has there been a point where you guys just went, “Fuck this. Let’s not.”

Toni McQuinn: Yeah. Especially at the very beginning, we were very green in the marketing space. And we attempted a lot of things that just completely flopped; different types of events and different ideas and angles that just didn’t work. It took a big chunk of capital off. And because we’re such a taboo product and there is that scepticism, the capital side of us was being drained pretty quickly because we’re having to get product out there. So, we didn’t have an enormous amount of room for errors, and fuck, we did a lot of errors thinking, just sitting back on, “Oh, Jesus Christ. We couldn’t afford it at this stage,” and X-Y-Z.

Simon Dell: What was one you look back and just go, “Oh god, that was a shamble.”

Toni McQuinn: Logistical errors, dealing with suppliers and completely stuffing up our timeframes, so not getting products here on time, and then promising that we would have products here when we didn’t. I think we tried to chew off a little bit with creating events like music events. Didn’t go into the nuts and crannies of what was involved, and it was… They’re expensive exercises. So, they’re probably the more PG kind of errors we made along the way.

Simon Dell: I bet there’s some swearing in there.

Toni McQuinn: There is a bit. But I think consistency is the absolute key. It’s when you feel things are gone to shit and there’s no way out. It’s just being able to push through that and around the corner, the amount of times that we taught, “That was the last error we could’ve afforded.” Literally a few days later, something would’ve happened – a new client came on or what-not, and it boosted us. So, it is really about that, pushing through it, when times are a bit rough.

Simon Dell: We’ve talked about next steps, expansion, that kind of thing. Where’s the long-term goal for this? Is it something you guys would imagine potentially you might sell or exit from in years to come?

Toni McQuinn: I think anyone entering into the consumable space without having a huge presence already like Coca-Cola or what-not, the question is: Is it realistic to be such a small player to create a consumable that could ever compete against the giants?

Simon Dell: Yeah, and probably, whilst it’s not a direct competitor, you’ve got someone who’s looking at, say, a can of Red Bull versus… So, you’ve got Red Bull, who are throwing people out fucking planes and balloons in the stratosphere or whatever, and you guys who are down in Yatala…

Toni McQuinn: That’s it. And I mean, the two channels that we’re focusing at the moment is just expansion, creating the brand so the brand nearly outgrows the product and we can start pushing new types of product lines which we have in the pipeline. Grow our distribution channel as well so that it’s attractive if there was ever to be an opportunity to join with a larger crowd. And then have it in the back of our mind that we continuously need to build our brand to a point where there will be Coca-Cola, all the likes that would come in.

Simon Dell: Knock in the door and say, “We like what you’re doing. We think we can take you from here to here.” I guess the other advantage with a business like yours and the size that you are is that you can move pretty quickly now. And you understand you’ve got the chemists. You understand the logistics. Red Bull creating just even a new pack size is probably going to go through 18 months’ worth of R&D and exactly like this, and you can probably go, “Let’s do this.” And then possibly it’s done in 3 months’ time. 

And also, knowing Red Bull in the past is that they are very, very specific about the brand and they want the big feature events. Whereas you can sort of hit that grassroots…

Toni McQuinn: Yeah, but even Red Bull, you track right back to the very beginning, and they were one of the first movers in the energy space for the United States. And if you look at their first year or two, there’s struggles in getting it up and running. And then a few events happened and off it went from there. So, it’s kind of similar in the sense that we are the first, especially from a TGA standpoint, that has arrived in Australia. So, you’ve got that kind of initial barrier to break basically and that’s where we’re kind of focusing at.

Simon Dell: That’s the other interesting thing. I have a mate who sales coconut water, right? And he’s selling it in Woolworths, and he’s bringing stuff in by the container load. He’s doing really well. But coconut water, there’s a low barrier to market coming into coconut water. There are opportunities for competitors to go, “Yeah, I see what he’s doing.” And potentially be doing it 6 months later. Whereas with you guys, there’s a much higher barrier to entry.

Toni McQuinn: Absolutely, yeah. No, it’s fun, interesting, and it’s just the perception that people have. That’s where the marketing comes in to basically change that way of thinking. Because automatically, your mind goes, it’s like, hangover cure, you know, a cure. And cure, we try our very best to come up with a full cure. But to completely eradicate all the damage alcohol had done, impossible. So, it’s around educating the relief component of it versus a cure. So yeah, not fun.

Simon Dell: If somebody wants to get a hold of you… So, the website is

But if they want to get a hold of you personally, what’s the best way to find you?

Toni McQuinn: The website is probably the quickest way, Or if it’s just a test to try one of the products, like I said, we’re on heaps of the stores. 

Simon Dell: You can buy online as well.

Toni McQuinn: We can. We ship all over Australia, and…

Simon Dell: Is there a minimum order for it?

Toni McQuinn: 2-pack is the smallest one.

Simon Dell: Which would cost them?

Toni McQuinn: $19.99, and we do a money back-guarantee policy as well.

Simon Dell: What have they got to lose?

Toni McQuinn: That’s the way we looked at it. We sat there and was like, “Right, people need to at least try it. How can we make sure that there’s the level of comfort? Let’s put our money where our mouths are and let’s give a money back-guarantee, and off we went from there. So, you try the two packs, you’re addicted to them, and then off you go from there.

Simon Dell: Perhaps you shouldn’t use the word addicted. That’s the wrong word to use, but you’re engaged.

Toni McQuinn: Fear of going out and drinking whatever.

Simon Dell: Mate, thank you very much for coming here. 

Toni McQuinn: No, thanks for having us. It’s been fun.

Simon Dell: It’s a great little story. An Australian-Irish brand, is that what you call it?

Toni McQuinn: Yeah, let’s do that. Let’s go with that.

Simon Dell: It’s more Irish-Australian. Made in Australia, dreamt up by the Irish.

Toni McQuinn: Tested by many of you.

Simon Dell: Last question. There were 12 of you on that original trip, did you say?

Toni McQuinn: There was.

Simon Dell: The other 8, are they sitting there going, “Fuck, wish we’d go with it.”

Toni McQuinn: Yeah, there is a bit of that.

Simon Dell: They’re sitting there envious in the background and going, “Fuck.” Did they not want to get involved?

Toni McQuinn: I think the four of us just lived together here in Brisbane in the same area, whereas the rest came from Ireland, North and South America, and logistically, it was a bit difficult to manage. So, I think it just happened by chance.

Simon Dell: Circumstances, I guess. Anyway, mate, thank you very much. It’s been fantastic and we will give this a go over the weekend.

Toni McQuinn: That’s how you go.

Simon Dell: Thank you man. Cheers.

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