Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sammy Nasrollahi, CEO and co-founder of Hydro One Beverages, located in Greenwood, SC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Are you thirsty for a drink that's guilt-free? Something you can enjoy without crashing your calorie count or ingesting unknown chemical additives? Let Hydro One Beverages give you the refreshment you crave! We take natural ingredients and scientifically-based formulas to create functional beverages that restore healthy hydration and address common health issues. We have the ONLY US Patented beverage, REVd, that regulates blood sugar and blood pressure for diabetics and helps with weight management.
Our BÖDE (body) Sport is the only sports drink that is safe for people with diabetes and has CoQ10 and D-Ribose for muscle recovery. Our TRÜE Sugar-Free Green Tea has Alpha-GPC for brain function and has an FDA claim for heart health. Our most recent addition is our patent-pending CBD plus Probiotic beverage, CANABIX. Hydro One Beverages is located in a small southern town smack in the middle of what you might call "the barbecue belt" and one of the least likely to host healthy functional beverages, but we will ship to anyone in the US from our website. You don't have to have a health issue to enjoy functional beverages. Our drinks are created for anyone seeking low or no natural sugar beverages that taste great and give an added edge to a healthier lifestyle.
Tell us about yourself
I'm Sammy Nasrollahi, Co-Founder and CEO of Hydro One Beverages. As a former professional athlete and soccer coach, I was in the perfect position to see what players of all ages were eating and drinking. It was disturbing to see how little the players and their parents knew about what they were doing to their bodies with the choices they were making. After seriously looking at what was available in the market, I realized that there were not many better choices. At the time, all the sports beverages were full of artificial ingredients, loaded with sodium, sugar, caffeine, and carbs. Some of the players were pre-diabetic, and it was an even bigger problem for them. I already had a well-established company with three locations selling handmade oriental rugs, and through a client, met our Founder, Babak Baban, Ph.D., M.P.H., MBA, FAHA, who was intrigued by my idea of creating something healthy for athletes and for people with issues like diabetes and other common health issues. We found Dr. Mark Fields and several other research scientists. We began developing the first all-natural beverages to help people with diabetes. It took almost six years to develop and patent REVd. People with diabetes are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, and those are included in the formula along with key ingredients that regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
Our Blueberry and Pomegranate REVd won the platinum award in The World Beverage Competition when we first introduced it to the market. Diabetes is one of the world's fastest-growing diseases. The US has 34.2 million diabetics, that's 11% of the population, and an estimated 88 million have prediabetes, another 34.5 % of the adult population. That's a big motivation for me. We all have friends or family members struggling with diabetes or blood sugar issues. It's important for them to have a choice. Most companies are pushing diet beverages that contain either Sucralose or Aspartame, which cause insulin levels to spike just like real sugar.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner was starting with nothing. In 1994 I had $2,000 in credit and started selling handmade rugs from my car in Greenwood, SC. I was coaching and let the parents know that I was selling handmade oriental rugs. They let me know what they were looking for in color, and I would take several selections to their home to try. I'm from Iran and have always enjoyed the different colors and designs of traditional Persian rugs. It was exciting for me to be able to introduce part of my culture to others. After a year, I partnered with a designer and rented a 500 sq. ft. shop. After one year there, I moved to a 5,000 sq ft shop, and two years later, I opened two new locations in Augusta, Georgia. That was where I met Dr. Baban and Dr. Fields from the Medical College of Georgia. After we opened Hydro One Beverages, I closed the two shops in Georgia but kept my headquarters, Rugs of Distinction, in Greenwood, SC.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing is opening a business and not having capital for marketing and advertisement. You can have the best product in the world, but if you don't have the marketing money to promote it, it is a constant battle. It's sad to think of all the great products people don't have access to because they don't know about them. Major companies can afford to saturate the market with advertising and celebrity influencers, but that says nothing about the quality of their products or the impact they have on consumers.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have enough capital to run your business for the first two years without expecting to make money from it. Any money needs to go back into it.
- Always give great service and guarantee your product if you can.
- Word of mouth is the best advertisement. Ninety percent of my customers for the past 25 years have been repeated customers or referrals. Earn the trust of your customers, and they will always return to you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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