“I always call myself an accidental entrepreneur because I really didn’t aspire to be an entrepreneur. I just wanted to solve this problem for myself”
That’s Kara Goldin, CEO and founder of Hint – one of the biggest private beverage companies in America – and the “problem” she’s referring to is her health.
12 years ago Kara wasn’t the head of Hint water. She was a mother of four, a top AOL exec – and struggling with a serious weight problem.
Doctors said her hormones and metabolism had changed from HER pregnancies. But Kara knew the real problem: her raging 8-12 can A DAY Diet Coke addiction had likely turned her pre-diabetic (something 40% of the American population now struggles with), and as a result she was dealing with a host of problems including weight gain and adult acne.
She knew the soda had to go. But actually cutting it out? A nightmare. Not only did she go through 2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms (soda addiction is real), but she was struggling to force down gallons on gallons of boring, flavorless water to stay hydrated.
And when she perused the “healthy” drinks at her local Whole Foods, they were either neon colored and sugary (looking at you Vitamin Water), or chock full of artificial sweeteners – no better than soda.
She was in need, and no one was helping her.
So she went to work herself in her own kitchen
A natural problem-solver, Kara cut out the engineered sweeteners and sugars by going old school – slicing fruit into her water, to get natural flavor with zero calories.
The result was good. Like, really good.
Kara realized she might be onto something bigger than herself, when one day a local mom called and asked her where she got that raspberry water her daughter kept raving about.
“That conversation was my ‘Aha!’ moment.” reflects Kara. “I realized quickly that I couldn’t have been the only mother searching for a simple solution.”
Kara’s business intuition turned out to be right. After she brought her first batch of Hint to her local Whole Foods in San Francisco, it instantly went national – which for those unfamiliar with the grocery industry, is very rare. From there it got the attention (and investments) of big names like John Legend, Verlinvest, and The Perkins fund.
Fast forward to now, and it’s one of the most popular drinks in Silicon Valley, where you’ve probably seen your friends at Facebook or Google guzzling it down. Its ever growing subscription of regular, fizzy, and caffeinated waters have helped the company grow to millions of dollars in revenue, while also shifting our expectations on what a healthy drink can be.
But while the business keeps booming, Kara will always think of herself as a problem-solver first.
“I never aspired to be a beverage executive… I saw a lot of other people around me that had the same issue in drinking plain water. So, when I look back at my experience in launching this company, it was for one purpose – solving a problem”
So if you want to see what the hype is about, and try the drink that turned a health problem into a lucrative business, check out Hint’s line of fruit-flavored waters – including popular raspberry, blueberry and watermelon. They’re offering 50% off to first time subscribers of their Mega Pack which features their top flavors. Just make sure to use this link.
Now go solve your problems! And just remember to stay hydrated while doing it.