Q and A with Nathan Clemes: Founder of Unrooted Drinks

by Dec 20, 2022

What do you love most about the brand you’ve created? 

Baobab! With Unrooted we’ve created a brand that people love which celebrates such a unique and special ingredient. It’s one of the healthiest fruits in the world and plays an important role from a sustainability perspective in supporting both environmental and social projects.

Have you always wanted to work in this industry?

When I was young my Dad worked for Coca-Cola, so I grew up learning so much about brands and the drinks industry. 

Since then, I’ve always been drawn to the drinks industry whether it’s trying out the newest flavour launches or following the latest trends. So when the idea came to me for Unrooted, I took the chance and knew I had to go for it.

What are you most proud of? 

There’s so many things when starting a brand to be proud of, but I’d have to say I’m most proud that we’ve built socially and environmentally sustainable practices into our operations since the very beginning. 

We’ve been carbon neutral since our launch in 2020, and we support the men and women who harvest our baobab fruit in Zimbabwe by paying for their children’s school fees when they can’t afford it themselves. We currently sponsor 41 children’s education and hope to increase this number year on year.

What advice would you give to someone keen to start a business but unsure where to begin?

Find something you’re passionate about, and that you’re willing to (at times) obsess over. 

Persistence is so important in the early days and passion and love for what you’re doing will keep you driving forward. 

Surround yourself with people that you can learn from and support your vision 100%.

If you could attribute your success to anyone who gave you your big break?

Two people, Antonia Jamison and Neville Portelli, worked with me from the very beginning and still sit on our board today. Together they have decades of experience building some of the world’s most exciting and greatest brands and have put countless hours into Unrooted. 

I’ve learned a tremendous amount from both of them and continue to benefit from their advice, ideas and support. I wouldn’t be here without them! 

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

Balancing between staying the course whilst adapting our strategy over the past few turbulent years.

Which part of your job do you most enjoy?

The variety! In a single day I can work on sales, marketing, finance, recruitment and countless other things. It’s both challenging and exciting.

Do you find it easy to balance work and play?

Not always. I love my job but it can be tough to switch off, especially during the week. Holidays are when I can really find the time to detach for a little while, without constant calls and emails!

About Emily Eaves

Co Founder and Editor at To Work or Play, Emily has been Freelance Copywriting for over 10 years. She is passionate about food, drink, travel, design and finding ways to keep her two children out of trouble.

With a background in Luxury Restaurant and Hotel PR, Emily moved from London to Dorset in 2019. She now spends weekends at the beach and daydreams about her vegetable garden.