Passion is always important to have when starting a business. I recently had the opportunity to interview Scott Thomas, Co-Founder and CEO of Zoom Water, about his business. Being a fan of energy drinks and small businesses, it was great to learn more about how they are building a brand new beverage company from the ground up.
Zoom Water is all-natural spring water from the mountains of Idaho that’s been bolstered with the zing of naturally-sourced caffeine. Each 16.9oz (0.5L) bottle of Zoom Water has as much caffeine as as an 8oz cup of coffee or a 12oz soft drink without all of the sugar. And believe me when I tell you it is very refreshing.
How did your company get its start?
I was first introduced to a similar product many years ago, and LOVED the idea, but felt like the product itself lacked. There was a bitter aftertaste that was hard to overcome. Over the years I’ve toyed with the idea of launching a top-quality bottled water with a perfectly tasteless caffeine additive. My brother and I decided to take it seriously, and spent some time searching for that perfect caffeine add-in. When we found it, we bought the exclusive rights to the formula, and began seeking a a bottling partner.
What do you think is the most interesting part of your business?
We’re new to the beverage industry, so every day we learn something new. There’s a new vocabulary to learn, new equipment to understand, and a different set of challenges vs. our previous experiences. I love operating in a new space, though, and find that it gives us opportunities to innovate. We always go into it thinking “how do we get this accomplished” instead of asking “how does everyone else do it” and along the way find some new or different ways to operate.
What is your company’s biggest challenge you are struggling with?
Two things are of crucial importance to any beverage company. First, shipping a beverage twice kills the margins. So we’re struggling with how to get the product into the hands of some of the people who want to re-sell it, without having to blow up all the margins in shipping costs. And secondly, directly paired with the shipping problem is distribution. Getting distributors and retailers to bet on a new product is a challenge and we’re having to work very hard to get attention, and grow our distribution network.
What sort of goals do you have for your company in the future?
Zoom Water is a product that fits into the needs and lifestyles of a lot of people. We really want to expand our distribution to a national level. We even have some global interest, with consumers in Canada, Australia, and even India asking how and where they can get the product. There are lots of possibilities, and we wish to carefully explore them all.
What advice do you have for other future business owners?
Go for it! Don’t wait for a $20,000 investment from anyone. You can start a business with a few hundred dollars, and grow it from there. It might be on a micro scale at first, but the only thing worse than super-slow growth is not doing it at all. Take a chance on yourself, and run with it. Plus, you sometimes attract better and more lucrative investors over time when others spot you betting on yourself.
Anything else you would like to add?
It is our firm belief that Zoom Water is the first perfectly tasteless caffeine-enhanced water. Every other product we’ve tried (there are only a handful of others) has an aftertaste or bitterness to it. Or one brand has so little caffeine added that you don’t taste it, but then you also don’t get the advantage of the caffeine. And lastly, our mountain spring water is a fantastic quality water. Some are selling filtered city tap water with their caffeine added in. That’s not a high-quality product in our eyes.
Intuit is giving away (5) six packs of Zoom Water to lucky readers of this article. No Purchase Necessary. Sponsored by Intuit. Open only to legal US residents of the 50 United States and D.C., must be at least 18 years old at time of entry. Void where prohibited. To enter, each contestant must comment on this Intuit Network article with their Twitter handle. Limit 1 entry per person. Sweepstakes begins 3:30:00 p.m. PT on 12/19/11 and ends 5:00 p.m. PT on 12/27/11. For full Official Rules, click here.
Winners will be chosen by Intuit and notified through direct message on Twitter. Taxes are responsibility of the winner. Employees of Intuit Inc. and Zoom Water, and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising agencies, and members of their immediate family, and any persons living in the same household, are not eligible to enter or win. Prize is a six pack of Zoom Water approximately valued at $6. Tweets must contain #SPON or link to http://network.intuit.com/2011/12/19/zoom-water-energizing-customers-from-the-ground-up/.