Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Adam Kroener, president and co-founder of Carbliss Hand Crafted Cocktails, located in Plymouth, WI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Imagine, after a long day of working on your lawn, you're warm and ready for a cold cocktail to unwind. You opt for a vodka & lemonade, so refreshing! That vodka & lemonade will be roughly 25g of Carbs, 25g of sugar, and almost 250 calories! Carbliss is a cocktail in a can that lets you enjoy a vodka lemonade with 0 carbs or sugar and is only 100 calories in a 12oz can.
The product was developed from our keto lifestyle. We have found that everyone can enjoy it due to our full flavor concept! Men, or women, it doesn't matter if you are looking for a convenient, consistent cocktail option or an appealing nutrition panel; Carbliss is a great option.
Tell us about yourself
My wife Amanda and I were doing keto and couldn't find an alcoholic beverage drink we enjoyed. We were offered a hard seltzer in 2018 (when they first started becoming popular in Wisconsin). We liked the nutrition panel (2g of carbs, 2g of sugar), but when we tried it, we were underwhelmed with the flavor and overwhelmed with carbonation.
We mixed up our own cocktails at home using a spirit base rather than a malt beverage like most popular seltzers. We quickly found that our creation was not in a can and that when talking to consumers, they preferred something like we were making with a lot more flavor and a lot less carbonation.
Within about four months of trying our first seltzer, we had developed a product and a business plan, and we're ready to build a new business! A year later, we launched in our first market on the shelf and sold out in 90% of locations in our first weekend.
We have an amazing team, and I love sharing our product with people around the nation. My daily motivation comes from building a business that allows our team to flourish while sharing our creation with everyone.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Within 30 days of one of our first team members joining the Carbliss fam, I checked in to see how things were going. The person told me, "I don't know if I should tell you this," and I encouraged her to share. She said, "I don't feel like I work." This was music to my ears, and we have heard more than once from people on the team saying, "it doesn't feel like a job," and might I add, they are all amazing executors!
Owning a business has allowed us to do things how we want. It is unbelievably rewarding to hear team members say they don't feel like they're working and know that they are executing at the highest levels in the business. Tie that with record-setting growth numbers, and it's all just very satisfying!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
This answer could change by the day. Our two biggest constant challenges have been planning for our extreme growth. For example, this year, we planned on 300% growth which is a large number, and we are hitting closer to 1,000%! The other challenge is growing our team and ensuring that the next person fits well. We have interviewed many people who we know can execute and haven't moved forward due to them not being a fit for the team dynamic.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Stop thinking small, make a plan, do a budget, and hold yourself accountable. (So many people that are smaller say I'm too small to do that). If you keep thinking that way, you will stay small, think big, act big, and you will become big.
- Bet on the come. You need to know what lever you need to pull to move the business forward, and that generally comes with some risk. Do some risk vs. reward analysis and see if it works, and know when you need to retract that decision if it doesn't work.
- Build something others are proud to be a part of.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Many other entrepreneurs I speak with ask what our secret is, our worst growth year was 2020, and we had no revenue for four months, and we still grew 300% +. Our secret? The right people in the right seats. Build a team you can trust and one that executes. People fear spending the money and trusting someone with the business decisions and execution, and if you wait too long, the business is hard to recover.
We have a great product, and that's awesome. I have also seen many great products fail because of a lack of execution. We have an amazing team that knows how to execute.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.