Lindsay Simmons mixes up new drink business
Lindsay Simmons is doing her bit for Bermuda’s economy, and health, by launching a low sugar, fruit juice business.
At Front Street eatery, Rosa’s – where she is operational manager – drink sales have improved by 25 per cent since she started selling her own Lulu’s Sweet and Refreshing Juices.
“We are selling more of these than sodas,” Ms Simmons said. “I sell more of these than I do anything else in the fridge now. A primary school even ordered some for each of their students for an event.”
But when the government senator and junior minister for social development first started mixing up refreshing beverages for her kitchen staff at Rosa’s, she had no idea it would lead to a new business venture.
“The kitchen is hot, and drinking a sweet drink does not really work for the chefs because they are extra thirsty,” Ms Simmons said. “They wanted something fresh to drink that did not have sugar.”
They gulped down the fresh fruit drinks she made for them. The drinks have been such a hit her friends encouraged her to sell them.
Ms Simmons was doubtful, but she bottled some up and started selling them for $6.50 at Rosa’s and at sister business, Chopsticks Fusion on Reid Street. In two days they sold 580 bottles just by advertising on Whatsapp.
“People were coming in and buying 15 at a time,” she said. “Someone bought 32.”
Then, a friend at the Rubis East Broadway Service Station in Hamilton asked her to bring her a drink.
“When I took it to her, the manager was there,” Ms Simmons said. “He asked about them.“
She provided him with two of her best selling drinks, golden picnic punch with passion fruit, mango, pineapple, ginger, agave and filtered water, and, pineapple ginger lemonade with pineapple, ginger, lemon, lime and filtered water.
“He poured some in cups for his staff and customers,” Ms Simmons said. “Everyone said wow, this is delicious.”
Now, the drinks are flying off the shelves at the gas station almost as soon as she delivers them.
“I just can’t keep them in the fridge,” she said. “They just go. It started off with giving my chefs something nice to drink that was refreshing but not sweet. Now, every time I make drinks they say ‘don’t forget about us!’”
She makes between 70 and 80 drinks a day.
“The most challenging thing about doing this is making sure that we have all the ingredients and the fresh fruits,” Ms Simmons said.
She called the drinks Lulu’s Sweet and Refreshing Juices, because her mother’s nickname for her is Lulu.
The drinks are a family affair. Ms Simmons’s daughter, Laundyn, 8, helps by making sure all the bottles have the right caps on them. Ms Simmons’s sister, Kara Simmons Montano, owner of Psst Takeout Bistro on Front Street, designed the labels for her, and now sells the drinks at her establishment.
Other flavours include a pineapple ginger tea, strawberry, mango lemonade and berry punch.
Ironically, Ms Simmons is not much of a fan of fresh fruit or juice.
She said: “I don’t really taste what I make. I get my staff to taste it and tell me if it is all right or whether anything needs to change.”