We love to learn the stories behind wellness brands we adore. Especially brands whose products we actually use and from founders who really care.
Have you ever tried using one of those water bottles with an infuser for fruit or herbs? Most of us have. Have you ever tried cleaning the goopy strawberries, mint or lemon pulp out from the infuser? Not so fun.
The bigger story, of course, is that country-wide more of us are drinking a steady stream of diet soda and other sugary beverages each day than bottles of water. And that’s exactly what got hint water founder, Kara Goldin, fired up to build her fruit-flavored empire.
In 2005, Goldin was leaving a buzzing career at AOL. She found herself focused on new health goals – including a desperate hunt for something to replace her addiction to diet sodas. Soon after, she created the first hint water recipe and launched a healthy drink brand as a solution to her own wellness needs (read more below).
We love hearing how our favorite products first came to life and Goldin is an inspiration. The line of flavored waters are remarkably clean (rare for a beverage brand, sadly) and the things Kara’s learned as she’s built the multi-million dollar brand will inspire you, no matter your career trajectory. Read up then click the banner below for a special offer from hint!
My wellness passion:
I have lots of different wellness passions. But first and foremost, I would say being in nature. Whether that’s hiking in Marin County, CA where I live with my 2 dogs, Sadie and Buster, or kayaking in San Diego with my husband. I love being surrounded by nature.
Outside of nature, you’ll likely find me at SoulCycle taking Rique’s class in New York or Molli’s class in San Francisco.
Why I started hint:
When I was at AOL, there was no question that I was addicted to diet soda, more specifically Diet Coke. I was under the impression that because it’s diet, it was healthy for me. When I realized that it wasn’t, I wanted to find something that was healthy to drink but also had flavor. There was nothing!
So I went to the kitchen, cut up some fruit, added it to water and tried drinking that… but it was mushy by the end of the day. Then, I tried boiling the essences out from the fruit and infusing it with water, and finally found water I enjoyed drinking!
I quickly became known as the flavored water girl among my friends, and they always wanted some. So, I knew I had something.
The moment I knew I was onto something:
Every time I’d make my infused water, everyone wanted some. Oh, and Whole Foods also sold out of 10 cases overnight after the first shelf placement. That was a good indicator, too.
A business moment of panic (and how I solved it):
A few years ago, we were heavily stocked within Starbucks nationwide with our blackberry flavored still water. One day I got a call from Starbucks that they no longer want to stock hint, and because of the success of selling hint water, they want to create their own water.
Fine. But, what was I to do with the millions of dollars of product waiting for Starbucks? I panicked. I even remember crying.
A few days later, I got a call from Amazon. They were about to launch food and beverage on the site, and one of their buyers tried hint at Starbucks. They wanted in. So much so, that they bought all of the inventory we had meant for Starbucks.
I learned that with all the scary times, you have to know that better stuff comes.
What I wish I could have told myself at the start:
I wish I would’ve reminded myself that I am smart enough and I am capable to build this brand.
Proudest business moment:
There are so many. But one of my most proud moments is launching our direct-to-consumer (DTC) website — drinkhint.com.
We had so many customers around the country thanks to brands like Target, CVS, Starbucks, Amazon, etc., but now with this site, we can truly interact with our own customers, and offer them a full variety of flavor options.
Wellness trend I love:
Lately, I’ve been a fan of a new class in New York, SLT. It’s all about using every part of your body and also getting a good stretch. It’s 50 minutes, so it fits well with a crazy schedule.
Wellness trend I wish would disappear:
This one’s easy — the same one that got me sick in the first place: diet-sweetened drinks! There’s no question these drinks are marketed to consumers as “healthy” but in reality, they’re horrible for you!
My three daily staples for well-being:
Hiking, drinking fresh water or hint and sleeping.
Workout of choice:
If possible, hiking. If I’m traveling, then usually SoulCycle.
Healthy energy hack:
Calling a friend. Friends can always make me laugh and bring me back from a slump.
What I want to share with the world about hydration:
Stop being marketed to by big shareholder-focused brands with words like diet, low-fat or vitamin. 99% of the time, they’re not good for you.
Hydration fact you want to share:
Something everyone should be aware of: BPA, a harmful chemical, is in almost every can, even those that say BPA-Free. They can get away with saying BPA-Free if it’s under 1% of the total volume of the container. Crazy, huh?
Leader you admire:
Easy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Essential business read:
Principals: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
Favorite hint flavor:
Tomorrow is another day.