Sleep Toniq: a natural journey

September 12, 2023| Past Issues, Community Spotlight

You may have read our series of interviews with interesting and inspiring people from Burpham and Jacobs Well. Although it has been a while since we last wrote one of these features, this month we spoke with local entrepreneur Timothy Spinks about his new business venture, producing and selling a natural health drink called Sleep Toniq.

At the beginning of June, lifelong resident of Burpham, Timothy Spinks set up a business selling a product called Sleep Toniq; a natural health drink that promotes sleep, supports digestion and calms the mind.

“It was never my plan to set up a business. After school I took the conventional route into university and then straight into the job market. But the years that followed carried my life in an unpredictable direction.

When I got my first 9-5 job after university, I noticed a big decline in the quality of my sleep. I was constantly tired, felt groggy in the mornings, and developed bags under my eyes.

In my tireless search for a solution, I came across a traditional sleep remedy that has been around for hundreds of years: apple cider vinegar and honey. This piqued my interest, as I was already taking shots of apple cider vinegar and honey during the day for other health reasons, and I was intrigued at the prospect of it also adding value to my sleep routine. Rather than taking a shot of it before bed, which I didn’t think would be pleasant, I simply added it to my nightly chamomile tea.”

From the first night of trying this new drink, Timothy knew he was on to something good.

It was healthy, relaxing, stopped him from getting up in the night, and removed nearly all of the morning grogginess he used to get. He began drinking it every night.

In the years that followed, Timothy quit the 9-5 lifestyle after experiencing what many millennials call a ‘quarter-life crisis’. He decided to take the skills he had learned and go self-employed as a business consultant, helping charities and small businesses access different kinds of grant funding.

“I found it to be fulfilling, challenging, and interesting work, but after Covid, I began to get disillusioned. I had helped so many inspiring business and charity leaders get closer to their dreams, but realised that in the process I had been neglecting my own. I didn’t want to spend my whole life working on other people’s projects. I wanted to get off the side-lines, step into the arena, and start a business for myself.”

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’m excited about the prospect of growing my brand and maybe, just maybe, turning Sleep Toniq into a household name one day – that would be a dream come true.”

Unsure as to what business venture he could pursue, a thought occurred to Timothy: I wonder if other people will like that sleep drink I make? He did some research and discovered that the sleep and health drink industries were both growing rapidly, and that his sleep drink could potentially ride the crest of both these waves. He decided to go for it.

“Having gained a broad knowledge of the charity and funding landscape from my self-employed work, I already knew about a charity called the Prince’s Trust, established by King Charles, that helps young people start their own businesses. I signed myself up, completed their business enterprise course, developed a business plan, got assigned to a mentor, and received a small grant that I combined with my savings to pay for a small production run.

A week after the production run, on the 7th of June, 3,500 cans arrived at my house on Burpham Lane. My housemates were quite surprised to come home and find boxes piled high in the hallway!”

Three days later he had his first trading event at Ripley Farmers’ Market: “I was hoping to sell between 20 and 40 cans and roughly break even for the day, but people loved the product much more than I expected and I ended up selling out all the cans I had brought with me – 140!

Since then I’ve carried on trading at every farmers’ market I can find in the local area, as well as making sales on my online store My best day of trading so far was at Burpham Wellfest, where the attendees loved the fact that I am based locally, use local ingredients, and bring something new to the area. I sold 190 cans that day.

It has been a promising start so far for Timothy, but he is aware he has got a long journey ahead of him. Years, maybe even decades.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’m excited about the prospect of growing my brand and maybe, just maybe, turning Sleep Toniq into a household name one day – that would be a dream come true.”

Until then, he is planning to attend every farmers’ market in the Southeast, start getting his drinks into more shops, and slowly scale the business.

If you’re interested in trying Timothy’s drink, you can order it from his website or you can follow him on his journey on Instagram @sleeptoniq

Timothy Spinks sells Sleep Toniq at Burpham Wellfest 2023.

…and sells out at Ripley Farmers’ Market.