Ray DeRosa, the founder and CEO of dandelion-based tea brand Lion Tea, knows that it’s an uphill battle getting consumers to understand why they should drink his products. How do you communicate the detoxifying and digestive health benefits of the beverages without a significant financial investment in consumer education that start-up companies like his rarely have?
As DeRosa explained in an interview included in this episode, he’s tackled this issue by using a simple, yet powerful and efficient method to create brand loyalists: direct conversations with potential consumers.
“There’s really nothing that compares in the early days to just talking to 50 or 75 people about your product,” he said. “It took us a long time to realize that if we let people try our product and understand the functionality, they’re going to come back for it.”
As part of our interview, DeRosa shared his journey as a beverage entrepreneur and how he weathered early stumbles on his way towards securing national distribution for Lion Tea at natural grocery chain The Fresh Market and a fast-growing e-commerce business on Amazon. He also spoke about why “finding the partners that are going to provide you extraordinary support in the early days ultimately make you successful” and how mentorship from Health-Ade Kombucha Co-Founder/CEO Daina Trout supported his development as a leader.
In this Episode
|1:36: A Scary Way to Start The Show — The hosts discussed the variety of new shot brands and products that came into the office this week, including a line of CBD-infused shots from Sunday Scaries, whose booth at Expo West 2019 had an impact on BevNET CMO Mike Schneider. They also spoke about why the direct message feature on Instagram has become a useful way to communicate with industry professionals, why Mike isn’t crazy about “yummus,” and an interesting new brand of matcha beverages.|
|11:00: Interview: Ray DeRosa, Founder/CEO, Lion Tea — DeRosa spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about how his experience with a rare eye condition spurred the creation of Lion Tea, his experience as a competitor in New Beverage Showdown 13 at BevNET Live Summer 2017 and why entrepreneurs should be realistic about rapid growth expectations. He also explained why simply surviving the first two years provided the company with a foundation for growth, why he “drew a line in the sand” when reassessing Lion Tea’s retail strategy and how it benefited the company, why brand ambassadors have been critical to the brand’s development and how he collates and quantifies raw sales data from Amazon.|