My side hustle: how I launched an agency and an absinthe brand in the same year

Just months after founding PrettyGreen, chief executive Mark Stringer was called up by a friend and asked whether he'd like to travel to France to launch a new alcohol brand.

In early 2008, Mark Stringer was contacted by Sven Olsen, a friend he’d met at London Business School, about creating a new drinks brand. A few months later, the pair travelled to a small town named Pontarlier, the birthplace of French Absinthe.

Stringer said: "I suppose you could look at it in two ways as to why I’ve done it: one; absinthe –misunderstood, a bit crazy, a bit on the edge, but more importantly for me it fulfilled that entrepreneurial spirit.

"As a marketing person, I’m used to helping other brands create fame and be launched and I think if you’re in marketing, sometimes you’ve got to put your own neck on the line and create your own brands and create your own things."

Stringer (nicknamed "Strings") was originally approached for his creative, marketing expertise and the fact that PrettyGreen was aready interested in partnering with start-ups encouraged him to embark on the new venture.

After spending time in Pontarlier, a place with 200 years of Absinthe history, the duo set about searching for a Distillery in which to make their spirit. They wanted to make a premium absinthe that would appeal to absinthe experts and attract a new audience.

Two years later, La Maison Fontaine Absinthe launched and is now the world's most awarded blanche absinthe.

Stringer said: "The reality today is that everyone's got a side hustle. The days of just a single job and a job for life we know are well and truly gone.

"So what we try and encourage here at PrettyGreen is actually people having a side hustle. 

"We find it brings a lot back to the mix; so whether that's people who are journalists, whether that's people who are DJs, whether that's people that have got their own fashion brands, we actually want to encourage it and actually if there are ways that we can invest in it, then thats fanatastic for us at PrettyGreen."