We first spotted new CBD beverage company Good Day when they signed up for Linktree. With their cold brew only a month old, we leapt on the chance to speak to co-founder Nick Miller about the challenges in bringing product to market in a new category.
Split between New York City and L.A., Good Day‘s three founders aren’t interested in being just another brand on the increasingly busy CBD field – they want to have the best quality CBD-infused beverages on the market. It’s a strong mission, and one they’ve turned around fast. Six months after forming, their cold-brew CBD coffee is their first product on the market.
A chamomile tea is now ready for pre-order and a sparkling water follows in October. We wanted to chat to co-founder Nick Miller to understand the challenges behind launching a new product, mostly online. Nick was so generous with his answers – enjoy!
First up, congrats – your launch product has now been on market for a month! How’s it going?
“Yeah, that’s right! We’re coming up on a month now since our first product launch – a cold brew coffee. A nice clean, high-end blend of fair trade, organic coffee, filtered water and our broad spectrum CBD. And it’s going really well. Of course we’re a small company so there are always lots of little hiccups here and there. But I’d say the response to the brand has been really great.
We’ve been really pleasantly surprised by the interest of retailers as well. That’s something that we didn’t plan on focusing on quite so early, but the positive response has been really encouraging. So we’ve been able to make a nice push into starting to sell in retail as well.”
Who’s behind Good Day?
“There’s three co-founders. I’m the COO – I run all of our operations and product. Basically everything that has to do with either making the beverages, the whole supply chain, or our online digital experience. So, the website and the eCommerce experience.
“My co-founder Warner Siebert has a sales and marketing background and was an executive at Sysco Foods – he’s our CEO. And, our third co-founder, Andy Gabriel is our CFO. In addition to having a finance background he also has run a home-pressed juice company, as well as a large beverage contract manufacturer. So he really rounds off the team with the food and beverage experience.”
Look at that holy trinity! How long have you guys been working away at this?
“The business really came out of a little bit of luck and coincidence. I had been thinking about cannabis, and CBD more specifically, for a few years now since I started using it while I was running ultra marathons. I was trying everything and anything that might work for recovery from long mileage weeks – cryotherapy, dry needle and cupping, infrared, the whole thing, as well as CBD. And CBD was one of the things that I felt was actually effective in helping recovery.
“The trend of cannabis consumption has been growing really rapidly, but it’s primarily been consumed in what are largely unhealthy ways. Smoking, even vaping, or when you’re thinking about edibles – brownies, cookies, really sugar-rich unhealthy things. That just didn’t mesh with my lifestyle. I wanted to just have CBD in a healthy way – the way the rest of the food and beverage market has been moving.
“And, it just so happened that literally within three days of one another, both myself and my co-founder Warner, had reached out to a mutual investor in both of our past companies and brought up the idea of a very similar business. We reconnected back in October 2018 and started kicking around the idea for this company. We didn’t start in earnest on building it until January 2019. We left our jobs in March and April respectively, to go full time.”
Was that a scary leap?
“We call it either fortunate or unfortunate, or maybe crazy, that we’ve both done this before. So Warner, my co-founder and I actually know each other because we were both the CEOs of previous companies that we started in the same incubator space, in New York back in 2011. I started a company called Parking Panda which did deal management and pricing optimization for the parking business. He started a company called BuzzTable, which did a mobile waitlist management and CRM for the restaurant industry.
“He ultimately raised money from Microsoft Ventures and sold that business to Sysco Foods. I raised about $10 million for my company and ultimately sold it to Spot Euro, our largest competitor. There’s always risks in giving up your cushy, comfortable corporate lifestyle. But we were both, to some extent, prepared for what that meant.
“There’s always some stress – you don’t know that it’ll still be around in three months, six months, or a year. But you learn a lot and you’re pushed a lot more when you’re building something brand new, than when you’re at a company like Facebook or Sysco, where if you don’t show up for work for a day, a week, or even a month, the company is going to keep right on rolling!”
We love co-founders who muck in! Here Nick and Warner are adding the CBD to the Good Day drink!
Your product focuses on stress relief. Is stress something you’ve all experienced firsthand as founders?
“Absolutely. Everyone experiences stress in their life in one way or another. I think being in a position of being founders of startups you’re put in very unique situations. I can certainly say that I had times where you’re counting on net 30 pay outs to be able to pay your team. Or, looking to raise your next round of venture capital when that bank account is running low.
“It’s one thing when your own livelihood is on the line, but once there’s a team of people, or even a group of people using your product, they’re relying on you. It certainly adds a lot of pressure. I think that’s reflected in our desire to give back to mental health causes. 100% of our apparel sales go directly to nonprofits focused on the mental-health space that help with a lot of things, stress, anxiety, suicide prevention and inner city population. Our personal experience ties very closely to the mission of the brand.”
"It's one thing when your own livelihood is on the line, but once there's a team of people, or even a group of people using your product, they're relying on you. It certainly adds a lot of pressure."
You’re working in a pretty new category – what’s it like bringing an entirely new product to market?
“It’s really interesting – I’d say it’s both a challenge and an opportunity. It’s almost at the point of fad, here in the U.S. right now – people here hear hemp and they almost believe it has magical healing powers.
“While there’s certainly a lot of benefits, which is why we believe so strongly in it, it’s not a miracle cure for anything. There’s a lot of misinformation right now. A lot of companies care more about moving product than being transparent in what their product consists of and how it should be consumed.
“It’s one of the reasons frankly, we welcome more responsible players in the market. Cutting through the hype and all this misinformation to make sure that people are really well educated on why, and what they should be consuming, can be a challenge. People are eager to learn, eager to consume these products, and it represents an opportunity to be someone that stands for the actual science and quality product, quality ingredients, and comes out as a market leader.”
The narrative around the brand is beautiful. What’s been the process in setting the identity and positioning?
“We knew from the beginning that we wanted a brand that reflected our belief in the power of the ingredients we’re using, and the way they’re best consumed. And quite frankly, we wanted a beautiful and recognizable brand, both online and on shelves. We went to great lengths personally to define the brand we wanted to build. In conjunction with other experts in the space, we went out and did a lot of user testing and research to figure out what that would be.”
"We wanted a beautiful and recognizable brand, both online and on shelves. We went to great lengths personally to define the brand we wanted to build."
“Even as early startup founders with limited cash supply, one of the things that we really invested in was the brand. We partnered with a branding agency that had launched companies like Bombas and some brands that we really respected in the market. We worked very collaboratively with our own vision, using their skills to bring that to life. I’m really happy with the way that turned out. It’s the foundation for what we believe.”
You’ve got one product currently on the market with two on way. Was that always part of the strategy to release a product at a time?
“I will call that one a little bit of planning and a little bit of the reality of running a company! Creating three different beverages, in three different categories, is definitely a challenge. If we’ve made three coffees, or three flavors of sparkling water, things would have been much easier.
“If you’d asked me six months ago or nine months ago, I would’ve said all three at once would an ideal world. But that wasn’t the reality and it gave us a really good opportunity to introduce our brand to the market, and build it over time.”
What are some of your current marketing focuses?
“Marketing in our industry is very interesting. Even here in the U.S. hemp and CBD were only legalized back in December, when the Farm Bill passed. It takes time for the industry to catch up to that, meaning places like Facebook and Google paid advertising is still off limits to CBD companies. It makes for a unique advertising experience.
“We are really focused on a few things because of that. We believe really strongly that the taste is key. No matter how good your branding is, no matter how funny, or entertaining, the things you put on social media are- if people try your beverages and don’t like them, they’ll never buy them again. So we believe strongly in getting our beverages in the hands of our consumers. Through sampling events, partnerships with places like high-end hotels where we actually allow them to sample.”
"We work hard to walk the line between beautiful but also authentic."
“Of course, social media is very important to us. Having this beautiful brand, we want to show it off. We work hard to walk the line between beautiful but also authentic. We want to see people having good days. That is the mission of the company and that’s what we want to show. We’re doing everything – paid media online, we are partnering with other like-minded brands. We’re looking to find people that believe in the same things to help promote one another.”
All natural ingredients for Good Day’s CBD chamomile tea.
What tools are you using to help with your marketing?
“Of course we’re using Linktree to give our fans and our followers on social media easy access to the things that we’re sharing. Places like Instagram are not always the most link-friendly. Actually allowing people to take that next step in secondary action on our content is really important.
“We use Sprout – we share a lot, not only posting our own content but engaging with the community. So Sprout helps us in knowing who’s talking about our beverages or the space. It means we can go and engage with our fans where they already are.”
"Places like Instagram are not always the most link-friendly. Actually allowing people to take that next step in secondary action on our content is really important."
Any tips for other early-stage product startups?
“There’s two different things. One – supply chain is hard. Don’t underestimate the value of making really high-quality products and getting them to your consumers in a timely manner. It’s an industry that, as former tech people, we did not realize how far behind in terms of modernization it is. Things are still done by phone, in person. Finding the right partners is not easy and maybe not the first or even fifth, or 10th person that you talk to. But it’s really, really important.
“Then, the second is on branding. One of the reasons our brand works so well is it really does have a mission. The brand really believes in providing people more good days. Our cans say “Have a Good Day” on them. That is something that really resonates with people and finding something like that goes a long way in helping people identify with your products.”
Good Day's Linktree
Check out the branding on this! Good Day’s Linktree works so well as it adheres to a few simple design rules – a simple color palette with high-contrast buttons, directive button copy and the perfect amount of links to fit on the screen without scroll.
Good Day has kept its Linktree neat by utilizing the social icons rather than including their social platforms within the main links. This is a Linktree aimed at conversion and content exploration. You can easily discover more about the brand, purchase its products or get in contact with its team. Bravo!