Aucklander William Deane, 20, talks about his motivations for starting an alcoholic drinks company with his brother and helping to reverse rhinos facing extinction.

What does your business do?

Part Time Rangers is the name but it is also the idea. Essentially we want to make it so that people can buy consumer goods but also do something good at the same time. Instead of buying a box of RTDs, you are buying a box of RTDs and donating to an environmental cause, and you're paying roughly the same for it.

We have two products. We started with White Rhino which is a gin, lemon and sparkling water, 10 per cent of profits from which went towards Saving The Wild, a non-profit organisation who dismantles poaching rings in South Africa, particularly around rhinos.

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What was the motivation for starting it?

Me and my brother Oliver, 23, run it. Basically, our family has always been really involved in non-profit and charitable causes.

I spent time in Ethiopia doing teaching and volunteering and so has Olly, and one of the times we went over to Ethiopia we with our family to Tanzania to do a safari and throughout that entire two weeks we saw one rhino, it was a black rhino, and it was about 2 kilometres [away] and we were wondering what was up with that and found out about how this beautiful species is getting decimated.

In January 2017 we started building the business around donating to Saving The Wild. Recently it has expanded the organisation to Zimbabwe to help prevent elephant poaching so we have joined and introduced our African Elephant vodka, lime and sparkling water drink that supports that part of the organisation.

Where did the idea for founding the business based on beverages come from?

Olly was more into running his own business. I initially went to university and did law for a year, didn't really like that so started doing business and my brother, he did his degree in geography and marketing, he's always been like a salesmen, and in my second year of uni I went to stay with him in Dunedin.

It was orientation week and I really wanted to go out with my friends so we tried this mix of gin, lemon and water and thought "this is pretty good, let's put it in a can" and then a year later we launched in July in Dunedin at orientation week, where it was conceived.

How has the business been doing in that time?

It's been awesome. It's been a huge learning experience for both of us but it has been really cool to use what we've learnt at uni and learn so much more. Our dad has helped us a bit with decision-making and introduced us to some great people. Overall it has been fun and it's cool to talk to store owners all across the country.

We got to do music festival Rhythm & Vines recently - we were the exclusive RTD for it so it was pretty cool for us as a small, new independent company to get that spot over larger organisations. We sold over 100,000 cans during the festival.

What are your plans and goals for the year ahead?

Our key focus right now is distribution. We've got 90 stores signed on across the country right now who are stocking us and the goal is to get everywhere by the end of the year. We've just brought on a distributor to help us out a lot with that.

Part Time Rangers sold more than 100,000 drinks at music festival Rhythm and Vines. Photo / 123RF
Part Time Rangers sold more than 100,000 drinks at music festival Rhythm and Vines. Photo / 123RF

There are also a lot of brilliant causes that I want to support and bring it home to New Zealand. We want to increase our drinks line and build a big, strong community of New Zealanders who are part time rangers helping our planet. We're full-time Part Time Rangers and anyone who drinks it is a Part Time Ranger.

How much did you invest to get the business up and running?

We started with a loan from BNZ for $50,000 and we've just built it from there. We started making 3000 boxes and then we've made more each time.

What challenges do you foresee for the year ahead?

We'll need to be quite tactical with how we spend use money. Another big challenge is getting our name out there to people and then increasing distribution and making sure stores want to bring us. What we want is core-ranging in somewhere like Liquorland where they put us in every store. There's a trial period with that where if you sell well you stay but if you don't then you're out, so that's going to be a big challenge - getting the opportunity and staying in.

What advice do you give to others thinking about starting their own business?

Make sure your passionate about something. If you've got the passion and a good team around you to give you advice just do it - especially when you're young. There's no point holding off on you're dreams, give it a go.