AN inspiring mum has gone from cleaning and waiting tables just ten years ago to becoming CEO of a multi-million pound spirits empire in a true “rags to riches” story. 

Gina Duke, from Benfleet, went straight from school into her dad’s family business at the La Quinta restaurant where she came up with the idea to build her own brand. 

The 36-year-old then launched her global drinks company called G&I Spirit Group, named after her grandparents George and Ida, along with her father and uncle.

Since its inception in 2019, the company has been on a meteoric rise and has an estimated turnover of £4million by the end of this year and look set to be heading to supermarkets soon. 

Gina says the premium quality of her spirits sets them apart.Inspiring: Gina says the premium quality of their spirits sets them apart. (Image: G&I Spirit Group)

G&I now export to the United States, China and India and have launched a new line of flavoured tequila called Mis Amigos.

Now, Mis Amigos has announced celebrity chef Aldo Zilli, who is founder of some of London’s most exciting and innovative restaurants - Signor Zilli, Zilli Green, Zilli Café and Zilli Bar - as ambassador. 

The mother of three, who was cleaning and waiting tables only ten years ago, says she owes all her success to her family.

She said: “My family really motivated me to build something of my own right from the start. I was first inspired when my grandfather came over from India after the partition and built his own business from nothing. After that, my dad and uncle built their brand with the La Quinta restaurant. 

Inspiring: Gina's father, Simon Duke, helps her to run the business along with her uncle, Rupert Duke. Inspiring: Gina's father, Simon Duke, helps her to run the business along with her uncle, Rupert Duke. (Image: Akira Suemori)

“Seeing them run their own businesses and how happy it made them really made me want to follow in their footsteps. I owe them everything. 

“When I was young, I couldn’t wait to start working at my dad’s restaurant. That taught me so much, what it was like to work your way up and earn respect. 

“It was all like one big family and that’s what I have done with my own business too. My dad and uncle help me run it and it’s really amazing to have that support and team around you. We sometimes have our board meetings at a family barbecue.

"I am so proud of how far we’ve come and the journey we’ve been on.”

Inspiring: Gina with celebrity chef, Aldo Zilli.Inspiring: Gina with celebrity chef, Aldo Zilli, who is the brand ambassador for Mis Amigos tequila. (Image: Terry Boyd)

The company prides itself on offering customers “premium, high quality” liquid with a personal touch.

“I sign off on all our flavours myself so every bottle has a little bit of my love in it,” said Gina. 

“I think what sets us apart is that I am super involved in everything we do. I love to go out and develop personal relationships for our brand. Our personability has taken us to the next level”