How to Find Inspiration in Doubt
Hello and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jansen, my guest today is Carol. She is the founder and CEO of hint water a flavored water brand she founded in two thousand and five. He's also the author of a new book called. Daunted overcoming doubts and doubters. So thanks for joining me. Thanks for having me. So in your bio I, read that you were one of the I don't know about original. You've spent some time at AOL. My father-in-law still hasn't AOL account and he thinks he's he thinks it's the Internet that AOL's. That's I I met. So my real question though is, do you still have any of those CD's? You. Know what I do have a couple of the CD is that I kept and I have a few. AOL Jackets Memorabilia that I stuck in a plastic bin. For. can't can't throw that away I. Mean it was a great time. I mean it it's a you know it's sort of an iconic brand that really Steve Case. Bill Right. There were a lot of people there and I played a part in building out the e commerce and You know there were a lot of people that basically felt like. Was the only place to shop. I mean, we were kind of a very enclosed safe place where you could go and You know I really fortunate opportunity to help build out I always viewed it as like a virtual mall and so I would I would like actually. Study Mall's people would ask like, how do you not like bring in Lake J. crew and into. Building out the small and I'm like I go down to the Stanford Mall and actually figure out what other stores are sitting there. Do you know Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom's and some of the others and and that's essentially what we were doing and A community for people. It's funny too because and and we'll get look into the book but I think it's fascinating because it was really it was really a closed place originally got AOL and it wasn't the same as getting to a website that you could. Then just you know punt go somewhere else for a long time it was a very much a contained. As. You said, yeah, and it was also a place for brands to really reinvent themselves I. Mean I remember there was this one catalogue company that we were dealing with called celebration fantastic and pretty small catalogue and and They weren't doing great on the service I mean they were up against like some big guys they weren't getting the promotion. So I remember Valentine's Day rolled around round one day and You know they had this product that was like a chocolate sauce and and they were like we have this idea that we want to do one of your pop ups, those pop-ups screens come. and. They and they called it a better than sex chocolate entrepreneur and and you know people went crazy over it and and so I think it was like it was the first place where you know you could really reinvent yourself in this new channel by showcasing certain products that you have and I mean their sales just off of that product were millions of dollars and just it was absolutely insane but it was really the first place where I saw that you could build brands you know in a non traditional way which you know frankly I go back to our business, my my main business hint. My my day job, you know we fifty five percent of our business is direct to consumer and a world where Soda Is. You know that's just not the way that. Are Sold I mean if anything if they are sold online, it's through an Amazon but it's not through their own site and so I think it's it just little examples like that on my journey make me believe and make me think like how can we just do things? How can we try and how can we do things a little bit different and ultimately better. So today hint comes in twenty players if people aren't familiar with it sparkling and caffeinated. It's a non alcoholic beverage, one of the maybe the largest independent non alcoholic beverage in the world hundred. This is estimated I haven't looked at your books, a hundred and forty million dollars or so in yearly sales, two hundred employees and no famous investors involved in the company, right? That's ten today. Did you start hint to solve a problem or disrupted industry. a little bit of both. Actually you know it's I think back on the journey and you know I call myself an accidental entrepreneur because I wasn't a typical. I'M GONNA go and work for myself or I'm going to be an entrepreneur one day My Dad had actually kind of been frustrated entrepreneur and side a large company He had developed a brand that you may know called healthy choice and inside of Armor Food Company, and then ultimately they were acquired by Conagra but I i. so I had a little bit of learning working for him but I think also when I. Had grown up and tack and in many ways and being at AOL before I decided to start this company and while I, was. Really trying to solve a health problem for myself after I had had three children I wanted to lose the baby weight that I had put on and. Develop terrible adult acne I realized after looking at everything that I was putting all the food I was putting into my body that there's diet. Soda was had more ingredients in it than like I mean I I I talk about it now as I. Cared more about what I put in my car than what I put into my own body and I thought like why is that and a whole story around labels like Diet and you know there's low fat and vitamins and things like that that equated to health in my head but you weren't alone in that address. After switching from my Diet Soda over to Plain. Water, I two and a half weeks lost twenty four pounds got rid of my acne God my energy back and I said Gosh, there's just like a lot of people who are trying to figure out obviously how to get healthier and it's not. Right and and. Like if they could just actually enjoy water again, then they you know we might not have the brand new thing that cropped up about the time I was starting hint type, two diabetes you know things that are. Really. Dangerous chronic right and I thought they need to ultimately enjoy water maybe they need to do other things but that's a first step and so that's when I. Recognize that I didn't like water I aspired to be a water drinker and I start slicing bruton throwing in water and that's when. You know I thought I'm not even sure this is a company I think it's like A. I I don't know I think it's a product I'd worked for companies before right and so when I decided to take this product to whole foods and my local whole foods in San Francisco friends were would come over my house and I tell them. You know it started this little thing I wasn't even calling in a company and they're like that's so cool that you start a company I'm like is it a company? I don't know if it's a company like I have three skews like I'm not sure it's actually a company. But. That's when I really realized that I'm starting something that could actually help bigger range of people get healthier disrupted industry that doesn't care about health back. Then there was nobody calling companies mission driven I was mission driven from day one because I really wanted to help a lot of other people.