Starting a Beverage Amidst a Pandemic
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Have you ever woken up one day and thought to yourself, "I have a brilliant business idea!" You live out a dream in your head only for that dream to stay just that, a dream. I've had a million business ideas, and I have some more, and they've never come to life until my co-founders and I decided to create Redy.
Amidst the pandemic, I was drinking. I was drinking a LOT. I'd get off work in my apartment, play online poker with friends at night while sipping on hard seltzers, liquor, or beer. It was a lot of fun (until it wasn't), but it took its toll on my body. I needed something to take the edge off of the pandemic, I needed something to take the edge off of work.
Shortly after stores started opening up with masks required, I wandered into a local dispensary and stumbled onto CBD. I tried it, I felt great, I thought, "If only they turned this into a drink." That was it. That was the idea.
"Let's create a CBD beverage. How hard can it be?" I thought to myself. That was definitely a naïve thought on my part because it hasn't been easy, and there's also some strong competition in the space. Nonetheless, I reached out to a couple close friends, and here we are with a full, delicious, healthy, and well designed product in our hands -- Redy.
Naming the Product
At the time, we really wanted the name of the business to be Remedy. We called it Remedy, we named our business Remedy LLC (legally), and we were rolling with it. It's not until our design consultant mentioned we might have trouble from an SEO perspective. Being a digital advertiser myself, I immediately knew he had a point. We thought about some names, we even hired a content consultant, and we couldn't come up with anything. Long story, short we fell onto Redy. A four letter, easy to remember name that didn't have much competition in the SEO space. We took that idea and thought about how we wanted to formulate the drink, "Something that gets you ready for your day. Redy."
Creating a GOOD Product
There are a LOT of things that go into creating a beverage and even more things that go into a CBD beverage. You can't simply create a CBD beverage by taking CBD oil and putting it into water because oil and water don't mix it. CBD had to be emulsified and built specifically for our beverage. We found some CBD manufacturers, tried different samples in our drinks, decided which flavors we wanted, and we went through multiple rounds of flavor sampling.
My co-founders tend to be more optimistic than myself. They were excited trying the samples and I was skeptical as we went through them. It wasn't until we tried the final product, both refrigerated and room temp, I realized we created a really good drink. I believe this from the bottom of my heart. I buy our product, I drink our product, and I love our product. It's really good.
Designing The Product
Product design and good branding goes such a long way. As a fulltime advertiser, I know this. We were lucky enough to work with a very talented designer to bring our vision to life and we also got an idea from our good friend, Efferman, to create a matte black can. Something that other CBD beverages aren't currently doing, and on top of that, most people love the color black. It's slick, it's smooth, and it's premium.
After rolling with a matte black can, the rest sort of fell into place. The designer we worked with knew fonts, and he knew it well. Our co-founder in charge of content has a strong eye for these things, and she was able to give him some good direction. Now we needed to figure out logistics and ops.
Logistics & Ops
Our other founders, "Mike" and "Joe," have a very strong sense of organization, they're very patient, and they're persistent. These are all essential traits when working with vendors across the industry.
You might hear this or know this from experience, but working in food and beverages isn't easy. You have to build relationships, you have to stay on top of communications, and vendors have a million other clients to work with. If you want to make sure things don't fall, you have to stay on top of everything. You have to understand minimum order quantities, how it works against your budget, you have to know how much to order incase you lose some product in the process, and you have to figure out shipping logistics.
We're lucky to have two founders who have killed it in this area, and we're still riding this wave.
Sales & Advertising
Trying to sell your product to stores is incredibly difficult. It doesn't matter how good your product is. Even if they like your product, when you try to sell product in stores, the people at the stores always give you a card and say, "e-mail this address." When you e-mail them, when you try to contact them, you get ghosted. You get ghosted a LOT. This is where distribution typically comes handy. We haven't locked in a distributor yet, but luckily for us, we've been selling our product online.
Our online sales have been doing incredibly well for a new business, which I'd tack to our online advertising. We're getting consumers from all over the country to try our product, and they're expressing that they enjoy our product too. It wasn't always easy to sell online because it's CBD.
CBD is difficult to advertise because most online platforms won't allow you to advertise it since it's still in a legal grey area. We had to learn the tricks of the trade in CBD before we could get ads up, but once we figured it out, the product started selling itself.
Here we are less than a year into our business, killing it in online sales, and looking for distribution. I feel great about where our product is and I really think this is something that can take off. Although I'm excited to get this business running smooth, I'm more excited to get this drink into peoples hands. It's a drink I really think can help people in their day-to-day that doesn't disrupt it like alcohol.