It's been a few months since I joined the hubspot podcast network and I'm so excited about the other shows in there that I'm learning from, especially the gold digger podcast hosted by Gina Kolata Jenna's show helps you discover your dream career with productivity tips, social strategies, business hacks, inspirational stories and so much more. I just finished listening to her recent episode about how she grew her show to 60 million downloads and was blown away by some of the insider tips she shares And here's something else you should know on January three you're going to hear a certain someone in Jenna's show that certain someone being more, make sure you pop it in your diary because I am so beyond excited. I can't wait for you to hear it. Listen to the gold digger podcast wherever you get your podcasts. This is demetrius charlemagne for female startup club. Yeah, Hello and welcome back to the show. It's Dune here, your host and hype girl. Today we are learning from D charlemagne, who is the co founder of Avec drinks made with real fruit juice low or no sugar and natural botanicals of X drinks are the better tasting and better for you, mixes that you deserve.
But before we get into it, there are so many pieces of gold in this episode. We're chatting through a lot of the money stuff. We're chatting through, selling through 100,000 units in the first year in business and landing the new york times on launch day, grab a pen and paper because you are absolutely going to need it. This episode is so good and by the way, there's an epic download available for free. In my Tiktok bio at Dune rasheen, which is D double O N E R O I S I N. It's the year long marketing calendar that we use to map out our efforts as well as a comprehensive social media calendar for all the different channels and if you're anything like me and you're not great with documents, this is going to make your life 10 times easier as a brand owner. So go check it out. It's at Dune rasheen on Tiktok. D double O N E R O I S I N. Let's get into it.
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S. C. That's K L A V I Y O dot com slash F. S. C. Female startup club precincts. D Hi, hello, welcome to the female startup club podcast. Hi, Thanks for having me excited to be here. I'm so excited to be here and here all the things about your amazing adventure over the last 18 months. It seems crazy from an outside point of view. It seems crazy from an insider's point of view. Amazing. I always love to get everyone to introduce themselves. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what your business actually is for those who might not know yet. Cool. Well I'm d demetrius is the long name but D charlemagne, co founder of effect drinks, we make better for you alcohol mixers. So think instead of tonic water or cranberry juice or like really boring club soda, what we're solving is that compromise that you kind of see at the bar between health and taste, right? So if you want something interesting and flavorful, you really have to trade up to this really sugary cocktail or if you want something healthy, you're being offered a mock tail that's like a bitters and soda or a cocktail that's just like, can I have a club soda with a splash of this and a dash of that And you know, you're trying to hack your way to this healthy drink at effect.
We kind of merge those two things. So all of our mixers are made with real juice, botanical spices. No like monk fruit stevia, like skinny girl kind of stuff, but are all under 20 calories and under five g of sugar. So super simple. You just pour it in with your favorite, you know, spirit or you have it on its own as an adult treat and it's kind of, we're on this mission to really help people drink better and to do it, you know better together with you. No more thought more helpful ingredients and kind of recognized, you know, premium spirits had taken off and non alec spirits have even taken off in the mixer category had kind of been left behind. Uh there's a little bit boring, so trying to shake things up. Yeah, I love it. And I so see it now that I read about your brain, I'm like, yeah, what happened there? Like that just got left out of the picture for a second for a second. I love your um well I haven't tried it, but the jalapeno, blood orange, I was like, this speaks to my soul, this is what I want to drink daily basis based off of a spicy margarita, which is like I my favorite drink the worst in terms of sugar though.
Like I feel like all workout classes are like if you have a margarita you're discounting all of your gym going this and you're like, oh my God, are you sure to me it was like, it's just straight alcohol. No margaritas are like the worst. Oh man, I hate that for me. Okay, let's get started on your beginnings on why you decided to go into this industry, How you founded the brand where your entrepreneurial story pretty much get started. Yeah, I guess I have to go way back when but there's like lots of reasons to unpack why I'm an entrepreneur today and why it took so long I think too, but starting with the HVAC Met Alex, my co founder at business school, um he's a brit but also Australian, Canadian, kind of what he calls it, like a, a month of that world, a blend of that world. Uh and we met at Columbia business school on the first day and he came over with this idea for this better for you. Mixer having seen, you know, he was a food and beverage consultant, kind of saw the world of food and beverage change, you know every category, if you think about totally sweet green, like halo top ice cream can be healthy, like everything was moving to health and wellness except for the mixer space where people were like, okay, I guess I'll get a club soda or cranberry juice.
Like mixers really hadn't really changed from like a health profile perspective, but also a flavor perspective. Like, you know, you see like casa amigos and Tito's, I don't know what the big brands are in Oz, but in the states at least and all this love around spirits and then you get to the mixers and people, it's like, like you said, kind of the forgotten plan, really thought it was like a very simple idea. I was like, yes, America needs something like this. Uh, I spent, you know, a decade, nearly a decade and advertising before becoming an entrepreneur. So I had worked for a lot of big brands, you know, Starbucks is the one that I talked about most when I talk about it because it was kind of like the rest of the world knew about this thing called espresso and like America was like, oh, we'll still settle for drip coffee and I feel like that's how mixers are today. We got to consult for a lot of big brands and work with awesome brands like Starbucks, but it was just really feeling like I was tired of advising brands on what they should do and making PowerPoint slides and like having that kind of be my output, just like this power point advisory position versus really getting into it and building a brand.
So it's such a simple idea, I want to kind of like a hard product or a product that really bought people together, I kind of went into school with the coaching idea actually like a life coaching idea which you can get into separately, but really thinking about just like how do you bring different kinds of people together? Like my background is, I grew up in the Bronx, got to go to boarding school in new Hampshire, then I traveled with my career, kind of going to new york, I lived in new york Hong kong and London as we were talking about before for a little while and just get to see all these different kind of cultures, blend and mix and really when I was like always trying to get brands to just think about, you know, the world and I kind of think the way like people already think about the world, like very globally, very challenging, very curious and was just tired of advising people on that, so just a really simple idea and I think entrepreneurship on like a capital e entrepreneurship level, I guess for me is really about uh you know, kind of generational wealth, if I'm honest. I know you said people don't talk about money, but for me as a black woman is very much like, you know, entrepreneurship is one of those paths that help you jump a big gap, so I wrote my business school essay around, like do I want to be a female thunder or a female founder and like what, you know, kind of making that decision in business school was like a key one of like, okay, I don't want to be on the investing side.
I actually really like operating, bringing people together. Like maybe I can do investing after I have some more experience and things like that. I love talking to investors who are former founders themselves or were founders are our founders themselves just because they get it right, they get the journey, the operational experience. So I kind of want to start, you know, being an operator, being a founder and the idea kind of resonated with me on a on a level that made sense. But also like, I also love planning parties and bringing different kinds of people together. So it's like this seems like I could do it. Like it's something that a brand, a perfect recipe, uh so we can get into how we got here. But that's kind of the, the not so short answer about entrepreneurship with lower case E and entrepreneurship with a capital E is I would say, I mean I love it and I think the generational wealth thing is so important to talk about and from a different lens, I grew up really poor, we didn't have any money and for me, I was like, I don't want to be like this, like I want to like change my circumstances and I really want to build a business to have the opportunity to potentially make life changing money and I think we should talk about this more openly because you know women, it's I mean maybe it's a cliche, not a cliche, sorry, but maybe it's like a stereotype that women are more like kind of, oh we shouldn't talk about the money thing or maybe it truly is that way, but I'm like, no, we shouldn't be like ashamed to say that we want to make life changing money and we can shout about that.
It's like so important. Yeah, I mean, I think it's just clear, right? Like it's like it's not that everyone's an entrepreneur just for nobility, like people want some level of success, right? Like it's like whether that is the amount of people you touch, the amount of power you have, the amount of money you have, like there's some amount in everything, right? Like even if it's a non profit, you're trying to, there's some kind of measurable KPI that you're trying to get at numbers wise? And I think the generational wealth question is still up for debate, right? Like is this the way forward or is it like a really big risk then you should do something more traditional, but you know everything I've read at least talks about just like how could you like with so much stacked against you generational wise, like it's the biggest way to leap. Mhm 100% going back to your first day of business school when you met Alex, what's the kind of journey from there, What leads you to being like, okay, yeah, let's actually join forces and start this business that you kind of have a bit of a loose idea around Yeah, so Alex will say that he spent time courting me into, like tricking me into doing this business, but at Columbia, there's actually very few people who are not very few, but it's a small group of people who are interested in entrepreneurship, like for real, for real after business school, like not just going into banking or consulting or tech, like really, like, okay, I'm here to try and figure out how to start a business, So kind of created this small entrepreneurial group where people would pitch ideas to each other back and forth, back and forth, and when I heard the idea for a fact which had a different name then I was like, oh, that's an interesting one, but like, I don't know Alex part, can we make this product?
You know, like, I've never made a product that's also terrifying for it to be like, our product has been power point, that's like, I've never made a product, like come down the line, like can we make a product that tastes good, and so I think we kind of focus on schoolwork for the, you know, kind of getting adjusted to business school, but then in the summer really started making recipes at home and Alex has a great palate, so it was like, I just got to taste a bunch of interesting things and then won some money from the business school to get it like a proper formulate er and once we had kind of a formula that I was like okay, this commercial, it tastes good, and like we were doing this before, like Spike seltzer was like a huge thing, right? Or like in parallel with spikes cells are being a huge thing, We were trying to get bartenders on board and people were like drinking device, no one cares about health when it comes to drinking, that's why no one has done this before, like it's a really silly idea, you guys are cute, like you think people care about health and alcohol and then white claw summer as we call it here, kind of took off at the same time and we've never really heard that since, but it was a time where it was like even are formulated was like you guys want less, you know, less sugar, less calories, like you have to give something up, like you have to do something from concentrate or you have to do some sort of natural flavor, you have to do some sort of fake sugar and be like, nope, this is like this is what we want and so once we got to a product that I felt Proud of tasting and proud of sampling, kind of knew that we could build a brand around it from there.
And so I guess it was like August of that year, we had met in January, August of that year, it was like really considering what year are we talking about? 20 1920 19. Yeah, So we met January 2019 and then August 2019, 1 that pitch competition And then got formulas kind of ready by January 2020. We're planning on launching quick, planning on launching. Well, we did a lot of at home testing. So it wasn't like we were just going in and being like, oh, we have not tried anything, No, but I still mean that it's kind of quick for me, like R and D. Has been this whole year. And I'm not sure if we'll finalize the product this year. I'm kind of like, gosh, when will it happen? I think you also have to be like, is this a good enough version? Right? Like, I think someone's one of our investors told us that like, beyond meat and Impossible burger, one of those are on version 60 of their product and they just iterate as they go, right? So it's never, you learn a lot taking things to market, right? And you're like, all right, Am I proud of this product are the things that I could improve? Yes, but let's test they get real feedback.
See remember, You know, the 40,000 cans, we had The day after graduating virtually. We like went into making these 40,000 kids and I was like what are you doing to you? Like what it felt like so many Was that your like minimum order 40,000 holy moly? I'm like scared about 6000. It was you know, 8000 skews 8000 times five skews. We had five, okay five skews, which is also crazy before I get onto the funding part of how are you funding this in the beginning when you say you were kind of, you had these non negotiables, like you wanted fresh fruit, you wanted no concentrate, you wanted sugar, you wanted these kinds of things, did you? I don't know how this works as such for those ingredients, but did you still need stabilizers and things to get like a longer shelf life or were you having to because of your ingredients? Cut your shelf lifetime? Yeah, so we have a year shelf life, we pasteurize everything. So I think, you know, some people would say at it so that it's two years or three, you know like I just think it's weird for something to sit in a jar for more than a year.
I'm like what's in there, if it can last, if it's fresh and it can last for two years, like that seems super weird to me. So, but I would think like that's where the formulate er kind of came in and like the food science part of it comes in where you can't just make things at home and like bottle them and pray like you have to get things certified lab tests and all that kind of stuff. So it was a lot of iteration to figure that out and we also have a lot of juice in our product right? So like our grapefruit has like 19% like real juice, not like you know from concentrate blob or powder or anything, so figuring out you know, managing that supply chain to is something that we just like our learning kind of as we go and like and maybe that we need to reduce some juice to get more carbonation and like like I said not being afraid to kind of iterate based on product feedback. Yeah. Gosh, I feel like you are 20 steps ahead of where I am conversations, I'm having like a combination, what is our level of carbonation, how do we make it more like how do we make it last for longer in the glass, you know, all these kinds of things that I'm sure you've been through But let's talk about that funding piece of the puzzle.
You said your first order was 40,000 Cairns. Sounds like a lot because you had five skews, what was your approach to funding in the beginning and how much money did you need to put in before you kind of started thinking about potentially going to raise or actually better question is what was your just general funding path for this brand? Yeah, so like I said, the first bit of funding I guess was from Colombia. So there was like a summer pitch competition and we got 10-K and that kind of got us to like, our first formula and a little bit of branding, like, being super scrappy about things because my background is in advertising and media, we were able to like, tap into a network of freelancers rather than, you know, get sometimes you were like, Brandon will cost you 200 K off the battle, like, that is wild. So we were able to like, kind of just be scratching because we had like, Alex's palette and at home recipes was more like making sure food safety and also getting like, a next level, like, are formulated some next level formulation. So that was like the 1st 10 K we'd initially planned to raise more of like, a traditional, I guess, like, pre seed round, like a bigger one.
And then Covid happened. So we were about to go, I was flying to brazil, I think Alex was going to Israel for break and everything got canceled and we're like, are we still starting a company in two months? Like, what's going like, what's going to happen right? Like, I think we had different, the good part about having a co founder is like, you go through emotions at different times. So like, I was like, a week before, like, I don't know, like, this covid thing is real Alex. Two weeks later, I was like, he was like, no, it's fine, then, it was like, it's fine, it's like, we're good then he's like, oh my God, this Covid things through and like, we've kind of had different timings with the whole thing, but we basically decided to do like, a small friends and family raised instead. So we raised like 275 k from friends and family, mainly, mainly friends and some from the business school and that kind of took us through our first year to be honest, we like, didn't pay ourselves for a little while uh which is rough because like, for me, that means freelancing another job right? And then raised, kind of like, our next round this past year, which was the 1.2 just announced, that was through thanks.
That was through really angels. And then gather, gather gay angels, black ambition, which is like Farrell's parade into investing in black and latin X entrepreneurs and then a bunch of angels, but I would say we thought we could more go for more like, traditional vcs but I think we're just like, you know, we're kind of in that face where we launched something, we had enough traction, but we were not yet at the like, you know, sea levels in the precede Mhm. That's so cool for you. Like, when you were doing your friends and family around and this is coming at a time that's super relevant for I am in the journey. What were your thoughts you and Alex around? Like how much equity you should get and how much you should try and raise and like, did you follow a certain equation or formula to come up with like evaluation or were you just like, hey, let's just like see how much we can raise and this is the post, this is the chunk. I'm not sure if you're happy to share, but this is kind of like the piece of equity that we're happy to give away. Yeah, I think, I mean we raised on a safe, so the valuation was like, you know, it wasn't like we were setting it, but I think we just looked at comparables to be honest.
Like I think business school helps and like letting you know that like all of these valuations are kind of made up, so it's more like what the market thinks at the time. Um Like you can do a bunch of science and math, but it's really like, what does the market think? It's fair and how do you, you know, like it's a very intimate round asking money from your friends and family, so like, you also want to make sure you're not like over evaluating yourself and then diluting the people who are investing in you and you have literally like most of our early investors had never tasted the product. They were just like okay like and also you want them to win Two. Like they're the only people really that you're like well not the only but you're like these are the main people I want to win out of this. Yeah, so I think it was just like a small enough to get us through, you know, We didn't know it was COVID, so we were like we don't know how long it's gonna last like but it got us through kind of like our first like let's say nine months, 12 months. Uh And so that's why you're just like the bare minimum to get there and just like super scrappy about how he spent it. Like there wasn't a lot of excess. Did you put any kind of like minimums on how much people needed to invest?
Like uh you know 10-K. Minimum, 20 K. Minimum or anything like that. Mhm accessible kind of thing but not minimum, wow, cool. That's so interesting. I love speaking to people who are, you know, you're obviously further ahead in the journey but you're still like at a point where you really clearly remember everything, you know, you're a year later, you can really still recall all of the details. It's so interesting. Um Thanks for sharing that. It's down here back to hype you up about all things Crm with a little message from our friends at hubspot. A Crm platform takes any customer interaction and transforms that data into valuable insights as the world's leading Crm platform. Hubspot is rolled out over 50 plus integrations over the past year to help businesses connect with customers like never before. The latest suite of customer centric tools to help your business show your customers. A whole lot of love includes seamless payment tools, Crm powered CMS, customer portals and feedback surveys, seamless payment tools mean payment links and recurring payments can be directly embedded into hubspot is quoting tools and emails for easy delivery and collection from customers and Crm powered CMS means both your marketers and developers can personalize the customer experience and ensure all engagements are timely and relevant.
Learn more about how a hubspot crm platform can help build, maintain and grow your customer relationships at hubspot dot com. Let's talk about the launch, you launched with 40,000 units on your website or potentially with distributors. You had like press in the New York Times from Day one. I feel like your press is just mind blowing everywhere. You've got so many cool things, let's break down like how you actually I think actually read, you did 100,000 units in your first year or something crazy like that. Let's break down your kind of launch plan and your marketing strategy. Yeah, I wish I could say, I feel like everyone comes on these shows like so organized about exactly how it went down. It was like All right, we can't like our plan was really to be more like Red Bull, right? Like more in the streets at different festivals partnering with cooler events, like not like Coachella, but like the level below like Moma PS one and like the groups that are organizing parties like, you know, big DJs and Covid happened, it was like, okay, well now we need a really cool website.
So we spent most of like our, I mean even small but like launch dollars on a really cool website, making sure the experience felt interesting and different. Um, and then really working on kind of like the branding of the product, like that's where most of our focus went. I knew from having worked in media. So I worked in media for many years but worked for vice primarily and then was trying to start a female founded media company called damn joan and like kind of saw the world of media blow up with facebook blowing up. And so I was very as a marketer, very like not anti facebook but wary of just like launching on facebook and being like, now we're DTC brand just launched on facebook. So we didn't actually spend any money on like paid advertising until like 6 to 7 months in like all of it was like, how could we get a bunch of earned media, I was lucky to have a close girlfriend who was in restaurant pr food and beverage. Pr Covid happened and you know, she had a little bit of excess time and I was like why do you like let us be your first client? And she's just been crushing it ever since. So like all the press accolade goes to her 100%.
But I think it was important. Like the strategy we did have is that we knew we'd have to kind of tell a story around the back. It wouldn't be like you know, okay, yeah, we're a new tequila and people get it right. Like it's like we're a new mixer, you can mix it with alcohol. Here's how you mix it. It's low sugar and low calorie. It's founded by this diverse team. We have values. It's launching on the internet. Like there's so many different stories to tell. So we knew that like pr we didn't know how powerful PR could be to like drive your whole business basically the first year, but we knew that we needed to tell a story right? Like around not just how to use it, but like why we were launching why to care about this category and create some buzz and excitement around it. So even in pandemic, we launched with like the six ft apart bar, which I don't know if you saw, but we built this six ft apart table. Um and like a like a little launch event in new york and like when it was safe, we would do smaller kind of like activation things because like you get into the drinks business because you want to hang out with people, right? You don't really get into the drinks business again to like sit behind your computer.
So it's like as much as we could, we're trying to get in front with real people and do real things. Oh my gosh, that is so cool. I love that. It's creative thinking. Right, their skills and advertiser. It was fun. That sounds so fun. And what about like now obviously you said you didn't start spending on paid media until six or seven months in, but when you look at your marketing mix and the kinds of initiatives you're doing, where are you finding that you're kind of able to acquire customers at scale for a reasonable cost. Yeah, I mean that's a golden question. Will report seed, but I would say honestly like partnerships have been really successful. So like we pair well both in the non alcoholic space and the alcoholic space with those, you know, like the spirits of both of those worlds. Uh but then also partnering with like we did something with a makeup company, right? Like if you care about clean ingredients that you put it on your skin, you likely care about clean ingredients in your drink. We've partnered with like moms who are like I'm pregnant and for the first time I have to re look at what I'm drinking today, right?
So I think it's a for us, the first year was really figuring out like getting tighter on who our core audience was, what occasion we were in. And now I think we're like really double doubting on partnerships, I would say online as the world opens up, is slowing down a bit. Um in terms of like how easy it is to scale that channel. Like people are going out into bars and restaurants and supermarkets more. So we always knew that our business would move more wholesale. Like that was the original plan. So spending more time again with real people in real life doing like mixing with real things. Uh So yeah, so I think it's like, you know, more boots on the ground sales, sampling cans and hands, you know, liquid to live. So all the fun sayings, people say in beverage, I haven't had that. That's so cool. Yeah. So yeah, just getting more trial and last year I would say there's a lot of press, a lot of pr and partnerships that made our business scalable. Mm And I loved the partnership. You did. I don't know if you would call this a partnership or not, but I was reading the seed lips recipe guides that include your beverages and I was like, yeah, that's so clever and so cool to be associated with them to be partnering with them on those recipes and it makes so much sense when you see it, but it might not be the first thing you think of doing, but finding those brands that you can just partner on, that kind of thing with the food and beverage industry.
Yes, exactly. And I think a lot I've talked to not just beverage, like I just think like there are people behind every brand who want to work together, like you're interviewing like entrepreneurs, like I'm sure there's a way to work together, like everyone's trying to help everyone out because everyone knows how small everyone's budget is. So it's like, if it could be something together, like maybe we can get a little bit of scale the thing about last summer that was like a good advantage for us. Was that also the big brands didn't know what to do either. Right? So there was no like summer playbook for all these really big beverage brands. They too were like, oh virtual happy hours, like I guess that's the way to go, you know, like trying to figure it out. Um So it's just an interesting time to kind of see the playing field just like level a bit more. Yeah, I bet gosh, having been in the industry now for a couple of years, are there any sort of pitfalls or things that you're like, wow, I didn't know this needed like watch out for this kind of thing. I think just the amount of money it takes to build a beverage company and people say it, but it's like astronomical the amount of like inventory costs and just things to consider I think you know now or like you need like $2 million like 1.2 is not gonna do it like you need like $2 million to get any kind of scale.
I would say like a lot of the cowboy cowgirl nature of it right? Like a lot of but it's still like you show up with your product and you're like are you going to buy this? Like there's still a little bit of just like it's not yet fully did. I don't know how to describe it. There's just a vibe that's like you go to distributor, you're kind of like networking hustling like it's like very cowboy cowgirl. Feel like sometimes. Yeah exactly. Yeah that's a better way. But again like in comparison to like you know other professional feels like it feels way more tactical, tactical and tactile in that way. And then I would just say like learning from other beverage founders. Like I feel like I you know at the beginning I was very like a lot of average founders are like very like close like no one wants to share formula because like there's not a lot of like I. P. Protection but I feel like now maybe it's just because I know people better like it feels like everyone's down to help or down to share. Like tips if you just ask right versus even if they're like, in your competitive set, like everyone's just like, we're all in this crazy industry. Like we get it. Like we had cans that were like exploding within the winter last year.
Like the big blizzards and like, like in the middle. Like they were like blizzards in texas last year, right? Which no one knew what to do it. Like we learned from another beverage founder, like, okay, you got to send out your stuff if it's going across country on monday, so it's not sitting in the truck over the weekend. It's like someone has figured it out. So I think there's just been more um community building online. Probably more so in like CPG and food and beverage than there were in the past because more people were behind, like not just running around stores because we couldn't. Um So I just think it's interesting. A lot of those communities I feel like I've formed over cooking. Mm Yeah, wow. Gosh, that's a crazy one, cans exploding in good old texas, jesus, all kinds of things. I was like, I remember being like, what's the three pl like, someone, I remember their first calls people like three pl I was like, all right, let me google that like first order that new york times article. Everything was fulfilled. Like out of my apartment. Like out of the warehouse in Brooklyn. Like we did not have a three pl setup, we did not, we just launched and we're like, we don't get that like it won't be that crazy.
And then my neighbors are like what is going on? Like she doing drugs, what is she doing? What is she selling? Yeah exactly. What was the impact of that new york times article? Are you able to share like numbers around like what is something like that drive? Um I think it really depends. We've had a lot of process and I would say some are like nothing right? And some like really drive like obviously new york times it's like a huge boost right? You get in the 10 plus 10,000 plus range I would say from that it's hard to like attribute. Exactly. I read this article. I came to your website but like some, some posts are like that and then others are like, you know more of like an awareness play like you hear people be like, oh you're legit, I saw you in here and now you're legit to me when I see you in store. So I think it's really hard to just be like, you know, a lot of people are like what's the conversion from this exact affiliate link? And it's like some of it is just like again that storytelling nature of like it is a newish category right? So there needs to just be a little bit more storytelling around it. But yeah food and wine like who knows how much sales that Drew drove like probably a lot, but also like just having that credibility when you walk into a restaurant, like food and wine wrote about it.
This is like, you know, or like a distributor like we didn't have, we were self distributing. So Alex Michael found was driving around in this like 1995 Chevy van that if anyone lives in Williamsburg in Brooklyn would have seen and been like, what is this thing? But like it was like a 1995 Chevy van that we bought for like 1000 bucks off of craigslist facebook marketplace and that's how things were being distributed and like he's 65. He can drive that van. I was like, I can't drive this thing anymore. Like it's a monster but like he was fulfilling orders, right? He was fulfilling orders on the ground. I was packing boxes in my apartment. It was like not uh you know fully like, oh we know what a three pl is and we have distribution set up. It was just like, again the hand to hand combat is the nicer term I'll use now. It's so that like me more that kind of thing of like what people think entrepreneurship is like and like the glamour of being an entrepreneur verse what it's actually like my gosh yeah, that's so cool. How holy molly my next question is a two part question, what is the best and worst advice you've ever received about entrepreneurship about building this company in general, um I would say the worst advice probably sometimes it's like just trust your gut, right?
Like people always like trust your gut and I'm like, sometimes you don't know, like sometimes you need to check your gut, sometimes you need to ask around and like, just be a bit more humble about like what you don't know, like most times your guts right? But I would say like sometimes you just like fly by the seat, like you're the entrepreneur, you're you're the visionary, right? Like a lot of that narrative I think can get dangerous because you're not being open to kind of like new ideas and new ideals and new ways of going about it, especially when you don't know the industry that well, starting out, so I would say like, yes, go with your gut, like you can feel it, but also like to make sure that gut is really just like, experience, kind of like, your experience will tell you that best advice I probably got was just like, understand your and now this is like what, when people are like, what advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and like understand your personal relationship with money before you start a business or while you're doing a business, just because I do think like, you know, some people grow up in money is like a really icky thing for rich people, some people grow up and it's like money is a really powerful thing and like debt it's totally fine and like they understand like, you have to kind of understand where you come at money from a personal perspective, I think before you start considering it for business, because I do think a lot of I'll speak for myself, but like, you know, taking on any debt, taking on any risk, even asking my friends and family for money, I was like, oh my God, if I lose their money, like you were gonna hate me.
Like, you know, I just think understanding your relationship with money and another female founder recommended this book, which sounds really cheesy, but it's like, you're a badass with money, it's it's one, it's the same like you're a badass book, but I just found it really helpful advice to be open and honest about like wherever, you know, whether it's a positive or negative or like don't judge yourself whatever kind of relationship you have, but I think you have to understand it to properly manage the businesses books and like not be afraid, like there are times when I open like our model and I'm like, oh, even when I went to business school, I'm like, oh, it's like opening your bank account after a big weekend out, you're like, I don't really want to know what's going on in there, uh and they're like why is that an unpacking a lot of why that is Yeah, and just understanding that you're kind of like in a different game than a lot of like, I'm sure a lot of people listening or like really successful have accomplished a lot before becoming entrepreneurs and like you're now kind of in a different game than a lot of your peers, right? Like I'm 32. A lot of my friends are like, you know, entering kind of like VP level or like getting bigger jobs in the corporate ladder and it's like easy sometimes to be like, oh man, I should have just stayed there and done that.
Like I would have been crushing it in this way. You know, they're crushing it and it's just hard. You just have to be like, I'm in a different game, you're like, I would be making hundreds of thousands of dollars for, You would have a salary, like people are able to afford things that you weren't in your twenties and you're like, I'm back to where I was at 28 three financially. So yeah, I just think thinking about it a bit differently and understanding how you think about it before you go in. Mm That is great advice. Thank you so much for sharing. At the end of every episode, we asked a series of six quick questions, some of which we might have covered. Some we might not have. But I asked them all the same at the end. So question number one, what's your why? Why are you doing what you're doing for the generation before me and the generation after me? Maybe sometimes for myself, please please put that in there. Question #2 is what do you think has been the number one marketing moment that made the business pop mm P R P R B one moment. But pr Yeah, I feel like for you, it looks from the outside of perspective and from what you've said, that PR is a huge moment for you ongoing.
So cool Question # three is where do you hang out to get smarter? What are you reading or listening to or subscribing to? That's worth mentioning. I'm a good podcast google er that makes sense. I'm always like podcasts on email marketing podcast on money troubles podcast on blank, so I can't give you a specific one, but I always kind of look for that. And then yeah, I like reading and hearing other entrepreneurs surely. So listening to podcasts like yours or how I built this or reading shoe dog, like just hearing how other people have done it. Like more of a personal story. I need to read shoe dog, everyone recommends this book. Like so many people have recommended on the show and I'm always like, yeah, I'm going to read that next and then it just slips my mind and I haven't read it yet. I need to get on that question. Number four is how do you win the day? What are your AM or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy successful and motivated. I wake up really early like what are we talking like 5 30? Um Yeah it's tough.
5 30 or 6 30. But I feel like when I don't wake up that early, I feel like the day escapes me, right? Like I don't have that moment to be like it's D and her day and like kind of you know not really like bubble around a bit. Like I work out in the morning like just like I need that hour in the morning I think before I'm just like okay email and I started meditating before bed like just doing like a five minute. I got an Apple watch. Like track my sleep, my heart rate when I sleep but it really calms things down. Like knowing the information right? You're not like oh I feel really stressed because my heartbeat when I sleep is lower. So I started doing just like a five minute wind down thing on calm and that's been really helpful wow I didn't know that the Apple watch could check your heartbeat. Maybe that's something really stupid to say. But that sounds remember to monitor your sleep. Yeah. So um not to distract from the question but there's like H. R. V. Which is like heart rate variability. Uh and it measures the beat. I think it's like you know your heart rate how it varies like over the course of a minute. And if it's lower it means you're more stress and like it's basically like an under like a thing that a lot of people don't track.
But there's just like Sleep Watch app that does track it because I have a great partner. He was like, I think something's going on in your sleep, like your heart, your breathing weird like heart rates. Like not in a scary way. Just like if something happens when you sleep. And so I tried his apple watch for like a week and now I like religiously just like look like how much should I sleep? Like sleep is really important even though I don't get a lot of it, like the quality of it. Like I sleep for four good hours with that combat versus seven. Like I've been drinking too much or I'm really stressed hours. Like I can see the difference. And that is like a quantitative measure anyway. It's like a really weird, it makes me feel a little like quantified self, like a little robotic. But I feel like it's helpful data. I think I'm a really terrible sleeper and I have like weird breathing stuff when I sleep as well. And but of course like I'm like unless you go and do the full sleep test, you know thing, which just seems like a whole lot of the deal. I'm like how on earth he meant to like figure it out. But I'm going to look into this for myself and also like the whoop like w I've heard of that one.
I really like that for sleeping but I haven't just tracks it on its own without the app. It's more accurate. I think it's kind of ugly though. Which makes improved design choices for people who aren't athletes including myself. Question number five is What would you do if you were given $1,000 of no strings attached grant money in the business and it's obviously not a lot of money but to show your most important spend of a dollar. Mm right now I'd give it to sampling to be honest. More sampling. Trying to make more ambassadors out there with the back. I'd give it to that program. Nice and last question how do you deal with failure? What's your mindset and approach when things don't go to plan? Not well uh but uh I think I just try and like act which is probably like not the best response to their just like how can I fix it as quickly as possible and avoid. I have a very bad relationship with conflict to be honest. Like I tried like even though I'm like very straightforward, I like hate actual conflicts. So I think I just act really fast.
I'm like okay what do I need to do to solve it? And sometimes I think the best way to deal with failure is just like recognize it, have it be like I failed and here's what I'm gonna do differently next time rather than try and fix it in the moment. So I'm trying to be better at like, okay, it was a failure. Like it's not perfect and I think part of a lot of failure, like thoughts are tied to like money for me. So it's like trying to separate those two things out has been helpful to be like, this is the money fears talking and this is like an actual failure. You know, like trying to separate those two things, trying to think it through and disconnect those dots. It's a tough one to do that though. I feel easier said than done 100% like everyone is lying. If they say that, maybe refer me to said yeah. D This was so cool. Thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing so deeply about avec and what you guys are up to. I, as I said before, I'm just in or of what you're doing. I really look up to you for what you've been building in such a short amount of time truly.
It's really cool to see. Yeah, thank you. Thank you for asking. Good questions. Hopefully helpful. So helpful. Hey, it's Doom here. Thanks for listening to this episode of the female startup club podcast. If you're a fan of the show, I'd recommend checking out female startup club dot com where you can subscribe to our newsletter and learn more about our D I. Y. Course the ads, m B A. I also truly appreciate each and every review that comes our way. It might seem like such a small thing, but reviews help others find us. So please do jump on and subscribe, rate and review the show. And finally, if you know someone who would benefit from hearing these inspiring stories, please do share it with them and empower the women in your network. See you soon, mm mm hmm.