You might recognise the name Irene Falcone, the clever Sydney mum of four who founded Nourished Life, the fabulous online natural skincare and beauty store. Now that this serial entrepreneur has conquered the beauty world, selling the business after 8 years for a cool $20M, Irene has set her sights on an unexpected industry, beverages.
Irene’s decision to practise mindful drinking was the catalyst for her newest business venture Sans Drinks, an online store selling non-alcoholic drinks only.
Tell us a bit about your family
We’re a modern blended family, my husband and I have four kids between us. Three boys, one girl. We have three teenagers and my baby of the family is 10! Our oldest is 16 and about to get his driver’s license. We’re very tight-knit and not big on travel – we spend our weekends in the backyard playing soccer or splashing about in the pool! My husband works for NSW Ambulance and is a great support to all of my crazy endeavours. My kids and my husband are always helping out in the warehouse too – it’s a family affair!
You’re all about living a natural toxin-free lifestyle. Is this what drove you to start Sans Drinks?
Essentially, yes! Around nine months ago I decided to cut alcohol out of my diet and see how it was affecting my wellbeing. Not only did it make a huge difference to my gut health, energy levels and skin, but I also came to realise that it was really hard to find high quality non-alcoholic alternatives. I remember I was standing in a bottle shop asking if they had non-alcoholic wine or beer and they looked at me as though I was absolutely crazy! It was exactly the same look of judgement I received when I walked into a chemist and asked for a toxin-free deodorant back in 2012. This is what really inspired me to start Sans Drinks and we proudly focus on stocking Aussie brands that tick all the right boxes, including natural ingredients, low calories, sugar-free and vegan options.
Tell us about your drive to build and succeed in business
The thrill of the challenge is what drives me in building my businesses. I’m passionate about disrupting industries and challenging the norm, all the while providing better shopping experiences for the everyday Aussie. I love spotting unique opportunities and running with them. This year has seen us turn to alcohol and online shopping like never before, so being an online non-alcoholic marketplace, Sans Drinks addresses both those trends in a positive way.
Aussies love a drink, especially in Summer, and dare I say it, mums love a wine! How do you educate people into agreeing they should ditch the booze?
For me, when I ditched alcohol, I realised pretty quickly how much better I felt without it, and how quickly I stopped craving it. I realised I didn’t really need it, nor did I like the way I felt when I drank, physically or mentally. It’s not really about getting people to ditch alcohol entirely, I just want to make delicious alcohol-free drinks readily available, spread awareness of this alternative and the benefits, and break the stigma around drinking in Australia especially. I haven’t come across anybody yet who hasn’t been excited about swapping their weeknight reds to a non-alcoholic replica and saving the alcohol for the weekend. I think we can all agree there is nothing worse than parenting with a hangover!
What are your top picks to drink this Summer?
My top picks for this summer have to be vibrant, fruity Italian Spritzes and of course a nice bottle of bubbly for Christmas or New Years! One of my favourites is the Thomson and Scott Noughty. It’s created by a female entrepreneur in the UK, it’s organic and lower in sugar than most champagnes! And there’s nothing better than pimping it up into an alcohol-free Campari Spritz.
How has Covid-19 affected the launch of Sans Drinks?
Despite the uncertainties and procedure changes, the pandemic has actually acted as a pretty big talking point to emphasise Aussie’s need for non-alcoholic alternatives. Our research this year showed that Aussies have been drinking more and feeling worse because of it since Covid-19 hit. As a result, there is a huge audience of Aussies wanting to practise mindful drinking and cut back on their alcohol intake.
You’re obviously a very busy working mum! Describe your average day
Sure! I wake up at about 7am – I like to wake up naturally, never with an alarm. I make the kids breakfast and get them off to school, then I do some customer services emails from home before heading into the warehouse! Then I spend the rest of my day packing orders and racing around the warehouse! I’ve been feeling so fit from all the extra running around! Then I do the school-pick up and dinner rush and after that I wrap up my day with some more customer service emails, product buying and social media management. I’m a big advocate for not outsourcing my customer service or social media, I love to be the one chatting directly with my customers.
Have you got any funny parenting stories you’d like to share
There are so many hilarious stories from across the years that I couldn’t just pick one! I love being a mum and I find my kids hilarious. Fortunately, they find me just as funny!
Finally, where can we find Sans Drinks?
You can find our huge range of non-alcoholic alternatives, reviews and recipes at sansdrinks.com.au.
Read more: Try these 12 alcohol-free cocktail recipes