Meet Steph Turner, the innovative founder behind Chu Lo, a venture that adds a burst of Japanese inspired excitement to the soft drink scene. Steph's journey into entrepreneurship began in 2018 when she was deployed to Japan by the Royal Navy. It was here that she fell head over heels for the renowned Chu Hai, a delightfully sour alcoholic cocktail.
The story of Chu Lo
The spark for Chu Lo ignited when, back in the UK, Steph found herself continuing to enjoy delicious Japanese meals but lacking the perfect sour soft drink to complement them. So Steph saw an opportunity to infuse excitement into the world of soft drinks and set out to create Asian-inspired, sour-flavoured beverages that would captivate taste buds. Armed with a bold vision and fueled by a passion for crafting unique flavours, Steph launched Chu Lo in 2019.
With an initial investment of £10,000, Steph invested half of this into designs, cans, logos, and website development, while dedicating the remaining £5,000 to flavour development. Inspired by the sour cocktail Chu Hai, Steph developed 6 unique flavours; apple sour, peach sour, lemon sour, cherry sour, tropical fruit sour, and yuzu sour, each boasting a zingy twist from citric acid.
But it’s also what’s outside the cans that matter to Steph; embracing the spirit of the craft beer movement, Chu Lo prioritises both flavour and vibrant, fun branding, bridging the gap between soft drinks and their more spirited counterparts. Steph's mission is simple: bring excitement and joy to soft drinks, making Chu Lo a refreshing standout.
Fizzing onto the scene
With flavours and branding on point, the journey kicked off in Manchester, where Chu Lo entered the market through the vibrant Manchester Youth Market, providing an ideal testing ground for their products. However, just as the business gained momentum, the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. Undeterred, Steph pivoted and secured a listing with Yo Sushi in October 2021, marking a significant milestone.
Embracing the spirit of entrepreneurship, Steph took part in Gordon Ramsay's Future Food Stars, a remarkable opportunity that came with substantial costs but resulted in £20,000 in sales in just one day when the final aired. This exposure led to collaborations with renowned establishments like YO! Sushi, Sushi Gourmet and Bone Daddies.
Customer satisfaction at Chu Lo
For Steph, the most rewarding aspect of running Chu Lo is the positive feedback from customers. Whether it's witnessing faces light up in a store when they first try Chu Lo or receiving glowing reviews on Trustpilot, the satisfaction derived from happy customers and repeat business fuels Steph's passion.
When asked about advice for fellow small business owners, Steph emphasises resilience, “tough times will end and work out. It is rubbish sometimes, but keep going.” She acknowledges the challenges that everyone faces but encourages perseverance, believing that tough times will eventually pass.
Customer satisfaction at Chu Lo
Steph enthusiastically endorsed her Capital on Tap Business Credit Card as a business game-changer. "We absolutely love our Capital on Tap card. The cash flow buffer it provides is like a safety net, and honestly, we would be lost without it.”
Steph describes Capital on Tap’s virtual cards as a "godsend," acting as a protective shield when dealing with unfamiliar websites. "It's almost like having a burner card," she says, emphasising its flexibility and safety.
Beyond security, "the rewards programme is a fantastic bonus," notes Steph, adding that these perks are not common with other business credit cards.
"What really stands out is how our Capital on Tap card grows with our business," Steph explains. Starting with a 4k limit, their credit limit only increased as needed. In the words of Steph, "Capital on Tap is not about handing out huge credit limits—it's about supporting us as we grow. We truly feel like Capital on Tap is there for our business every step of the way." This financial flexibility and support align seamlessly with the dynamic needs of Chu Lo as they continue their entrepreneurial journey.
Steph’s story got you inspired? You can take the same path and enjoy the perks of the Capital on Tap Business Credit Card. It keeps things secure, has great customer service, and makes handling money simple—perfect for chasing your small business dreams.