BU founding story: This is how Ella Göbel founded the liquor brand “Bazylia Liquor” while still studying
Hi Ella, you founded the spirits brand Bazylia Liquor in your last master’s semester. How did the idea come about?
The idea for Bazylia Liquor developed in conversation with friends. To be honest: I can really hold my liqour – my friends like to say it must be in my genes. And they’re not entirely wrong, because my great-grandparents owned a distillery. At some point, I couldn’t resist the idea of reviving this family tradition. One evening I just sat down and started researching. In Germany, the most frequently consumed drink is herbal liqueur. That gave me the idea of using basil as the main ingredient. There was no basil liqueur yet, although cocktails with basil are very popular.
What was your path to founding the company like after that?
To develop a recipe, I teamed up with a distillery in my home region, Münsterland. After the composition of basil, lemon and juniper was decided, everything went very quickly. Developing the brand name and corporate design, founding the GmbH – these steps intertwine, which is why you have to do everything at the same time. Then there was the development of the online store and the design of the bottles.
I did all of this on my own while I was still doing an internship in consulting and then wrote my master’s thesis. Keeping the focus was not always easy. But the feeling of drinking the first bottle of Bazylia around the campfire was incredible! Since October 2022, I have been able to put all my capacities into the company and work on its further development.
What makes Bazylia Liquor unique?
It was important to me that the liqueur is seasonless and versatile. Whether at home with friends, in a restaurant or in a club – everyone can do with it what he or she wants. Drinking it pure, as a long drink, as a cocktail or as an aperitif, all options are open. This individualism is in line with the spirit of our times! And practically speaking, it makes life easier when you’re buying drinks, when you want to party with a lot of people.
What inspires you the most for your work?
Creating something myself instead of just doing a job drives me. For starting up right out of university, I did have to gather my courage, but realize now that I am in turn inspiring others with my work and giving them courage. If I ever have doubts, I stick to my two mottos: “Nothing comes from nothing!” and ” It’s no use!”. They always fit and immediately get me out of any mood of gloom.
What do you see as your biggest challenge as a founder?
I didn’t see coming that you are still permanently underestimated and belittled as a young woman in business today. Especially in the male-dominated spirits industry. You can’t let that get you down! I’ve gotten used to staying cool in such moments and smiling away stupid comments without letting them bend my authenticity. This topic is close to my heart and needs a lot more attention.
You studied brand innovation with a focus on entrepreneurship. What did you take away from that for your startup?
Even though the course teaches a lot of practical and methodical skills, I realized after graduation that it has influenced my way of thinking above all. It’s not about the product itself, but about the feeling that the brand conveys. An eye for target groups and their needs is crucial here. This is often ignored when founders are convinced of their own product.
In addition, my international fellow students have given me an eye for cultural differences and taught me to take these into account.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to found a company during their studies or immediately afterwards?
First of all, you should ask yourself if you have the capacity to start a business while studying. How much energy will still be there when the initial euphoria wears off? In the double burden, you quickly forget yourself. It’s also important to get a lot of honest feedback and track your progress. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t be overthinking. Just do it! Otherwise, there will always be the question, “What if?”. Questioning your idea every now and then is normal, but not a reason to stop. No one can take away the experience you gain along the way.
Thank you very much for the interview, Ella. We wish you all the best for the future with Bazylia Liquor!