High School Enterprise: A Study in Teen Entrepreneurship
Most recent high school graduates spend their time thinking about college, sex, drugs and music. We can’t say what was going through the mind of Ben Lewis, the founder of Potion Herbal Remedy and Give energy and water drinks, but we doubt many other 18-year-old guys were planning a bottled water business out of their bedroom and car. All of that is recent history and after a long consistent haul, investments from friends and family, and help from friends, he has what is a stable small business in the beverage sector.
Beginning with bottled water, years spent attending trade shows led the business rookie to enter the energy drink business, and more recently, the energy shot sector. Both the water and energy businesses involve a charity element. The energy drinks are a full-calorie option with exotic flavors and cane sugar for a non-shaky jolt. However, it was Lewis’ latest line, Potion Herbal Remedy, that truly impressed us.
Lewis started the company with the help of three friends and is keeping overhead low via gradual growth of his personnel, thanks to a few recent hires, but big strides in the industry. When asked about why he expanded beyond the water, Lewis said: “I kind of have my ear to the ground…the energy shot category is the fastest growing item in the food and beverage industry…I thought that was interesting all along, I found it interesting that there are maybe 5000 shot products every month but they are all energy…”
In the energy shot sector, one largely driven by the club scene and supplied by drugstores, this line is different from others because of a blend of cane sugar, tea- and guarana-based energy, and various herbs and vitamins. The line also uses fruit as a way to color naturally and various supplement-type ingredients, such as chlorella and grape seed extract.
His new shot line is different than most because it focuses on many needs, not just energy. There are six shots, each of which uses cane juice as the sweetener and some of which use stevia. The six shots include: Focus, Power, Detox, Calm, Immunity and Burn. Focus taps gotu kola and ginkgo biloba, while Power has yerba mate, in addition to guarana and tea, and Burn has chromium and garcinia cambogia. The shots veering away from the energy side include Detox, with selenium, B12, ginseng, and dandelion, while Calm features the Indian adaptogen, ashwagandha, and lavender, and Immunity employs vitamins B6 and B12, niacin, vitamin C, grape seed extract, Echinacea, and chlorella.
Further clarifying, Lewis added: “My inspiration for potion was doing something different, combining two trends –shot product and ingredient trends.” Noting the most difficult part of the one-year process involved in creating the line, he said flavor was the biggest challenge. We were “going for functionality over flavor, but at the same time it needed to be palatable and certain ingredients counteract each other. I probably went through 40 or 50 flavors. “
So what’s next? More growth. Rather than following a dot-com model, Lewis is happy to grow and expand over time, and maintain control of his company. Lewis told Trendcetera there have been a “ton of private equity and various investors that have talked to us, but we’re not trying to grow too quickly. I don’t want to give too much away at this point, I’m OK growing at this rate.”
The product only has 5 grams of sugar and 20 calories. The suggested retail price is $2.99. Potion Herbal Remedy is available at Amazon.com and other retailers. Click here for more information on Potion products. Click here to read more about the water and energy drinks.