Five Minutes with the Founder | Tom Cotton & Dina Jahina, eto

Tom is an industrial designer with a love of beautiful things and almost limitless attention to detail. Dina is inspired by connecting with people, improving lives and having a positive impact on the environment. Together, they run eto from their London base. Eto is an award-winning wine decanter which uses a unique patented design to preserve wine, while also looking beautiful on your dining table.

Tell us the story of how you built your brand

Tom: I spent 20 years designing new products for other brands, and by 2012 I was hungry to create something of my own. I was (and still am) a wine lover, but with a young family, Dina and I would often just want a glass or 2 in the evening rather than a bottle. This problem – of wine wastage or reducing quality – felt like it needed a better solution than the options on the market, and so my quest began. While it was important for me that I created a product that worked brilliantly, I always wanted it to be a luxury item too. A beautiful wine decanter in its own right. My determination that it would be made of glass brought some serious design challenges, but I always believed it would be possible, and after over 60 prototypes, we got there. The word eto means ‘again’ in Welsh, and as a proud Welshman, it felt like the perfect name.

Why did you choose to set up your business in the luxury sector?

Dina: We always had high expectations for ourselves in both how eto would perform, and the theatre it would bring to the table. By committing to a system that preserves wine so well, and a design that is a beautiful centre piece, we naturally created a luxury product. We also wanted eto to be the perfect gift, so we invested in premium finishing processes and packaging.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Tom: It’s given us the chance to meet and work with some amazing people. Everyone has been so helpful and generous with their time; we’re now enjoying giving something back to aspiring design entrepreneurs.

What and/or who is your source of inspiration and motivation?

Dina: I love listening to other entrepreneurial stories on podcasts, hearing their highs and lows and being able to identify with their experiences. But I think my folks are my biggest source of inspiration. They both worked in the NHS and I still call my Dad first before calling the GP.

If you could have any other job in the world what would it be?

Tom: I would go back in time to the mid 1960s and be the guy who makes the tea at Abbey Road Studios.

If you could do something differently in your career what would it be?

Dina: I would have started our own business before we had 3 young children.

Where do you see yourself and your company in 10 years’ time?

We want to build a fantastic team, nurturing a creative and innovative culture; with people who have the passion and vision to help take eto to the next level. We also have plans to introduce new products and collaborate with other brands. We have a strong global DTC market, with plans to establish B2B sales & distribution internationally.

What does success look like to you?

Tom: For eto to become a verb, like Google or Skype. I love hearing people say they’ve eto’d a bottle of wine.

What advice do you have for any young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?

Tom: There will be setbacks, and wobbles of confidence, so always remember your brand promise, and why you’re doing it. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice; it’s amazing how many people want to help. And do something positive towards your vision, however small, every day.

What is your greatest luxury under £10?

Dina: Mine would be in liquid form – a good, strong coffee in the morning and a glass of Cote du Rhone in the evening.

Tom: On that theme, a pint in the local pub with my friends feels like the pinnacle of luxury at the moment!