Startup Spotlight: DRINKMapleFebruary 14, 2016
For this week’s startup spotlight, we hang out with Kate Weiler, one of the founders of DRINKMaple. She tells us about all of the amazing local resources she was able to get to help her with her product, and how sometimes, you just have to ignore those voices that tell you “it’s never going to work”.
GH: What is DRINKMaple?
Kate: DRINKMaple is a natural hydration, consisting of one ingredient that comes straight from Vermont maple trees. With natural electrolytes, antioxidants and half of the sugar of coconut water, DRINKmaple is a local, natural hydration.
Kate: My (now) business partner and I were doing an Ironman up in Canada and stumbled on a very small manufacturers maple water. As a sports nutritionist and health and wellness enthusiast, I couldn’t believe that what was coming straight from the tree was a natural, refreshing hydration. We were dumbfounded that coconuts were being shipped across the world for the coconut water craze for the love for a single ingredient natural hydration, but we weren’t utilizing a resource that was right in our backyard.
Kate: It is very hard logistically to produce maple water water in a safe and pure manner. We had a lot of bottlers and maple sugar makers tell us that coming to market with a maple water product couldn’t be done.
Kate: We learned that follow up is a major necessity in the retail business. Just because a retailer orders your product, doesn’t mean that they will continue to keep it in stock even if it moves very well. Following up with buyers is important, so that you stay top of mind and that the reorder of the product doesn’t fall off of their radar.
We joined Northeastern’s IDEA accelerator where we received some grant money and coaching around business plans and business pitching. The Massachusetts Specialty Food Association has been extremely helpful in getting funds to support exporting.