Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jeana Harrington, CEO of Mighty Swell Spiked Seltzer, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Mighty Swell is the largest independently-owned spiked seltzer company in the US, born in Austin, Texas. We push against category standards and consider ourselves flavor pioneers, creating combinations never before made housed in standout packaging. In short, we're "wild, weird, and a bit defiant." Our most recent release - a Keep it Weird Variety 12 Pack - pays homage to our Austin roots but resonates with anyone across the country which subscribes to our slogan and appreciates the individuality and weirdness in all of us. The pack includes the flavors Rocket Pop (a boozy popsicle riff), Tiger's Blood (modeled after the snow cone flavor), Purple Magic (juicy dark berries and grapeness), and Pink Colada (a classic spin on an old favorite but made with pink pineapples).
Mighty Swell is an all-natural, certified Gluten-Free, OU Kosher hard seltzer at 5% ABV and 100 calories. Unlike most competitors, we use real fruit juice versus fillers, resulting in a fruit-forward product with a clean finish. Our products are available in 30 US markets, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands.
Tell us about yourself
My first foray into alcohol was helping to launch and run a microdistillery. It turned out that I had a knack for sales and product development, and I enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing both. I moved to Mighty Swell after reading an alcohol journal article about the creation of a "better for you" sparkling beverage. I wanted to take a leap and expand my knowledge from the spirits business to the beer and CPG industry, so I reached out to the founders via LinkedIn, and the rest is history. Over five years, I've held a bevy of roles at Mighty Swell before being named CEO in August of 2021.
As far as what motivates me, ultimately, it is my duty to make Mighty Swell grow and succeed. We have a team of 30 people and a group of investors who have put their trust in and count on me. That's enough to get anyone out of bed every morning. Our continual innovation also inspires me and has me always forward-looking and excited for the future.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building a team and creating the culture we have today at Mighty Swell. It's been a multi-year process, but we have found smart, engaging, good people with strong beverage backgrounds from all over the US who believed in our mission and joined our team. Our people are committed to what we are doing and want to win together. Anyone who isn't feeling pretty uncomfortable in this environment, and I'm fine with that.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being a CEO of a company means that I have to make progress every day, and there isn't any downtime - the goals you make are raised continually, someone always needs something urgently, and there's always something to do. I make several quick decisions daily to help my team be as productive as possible. At the same time, I'm focused on more macro-level future planning: Are we on the right track today? What do I need to do or be thinking about today that sets us up for success six months to one year from now?
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be bold. Ask yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?"
- Don't try to make everyone happy.
- Put in the work yourself. Give before you ask.
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.
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.