What It's About
Two friends brew up success with their million dollar side hustle.
Words of Wisdom
This is one of the few stories we feature in which it really is difficult to grow this kind of business without outside funding or substantial help. Remember, this show is not about quitting your job to take a big risk.
That said, in this story, I think they took a measured risk. They worked on the project for a long time on their own. The first time the accelerator asked them to quit their jobs and move to NYC, they said no. I recently talked about the “right time to quit a good job”—in this case, the right time came with the second ask.
Bizzy Coffee couldn’t win in retail, so Alex decided to increase the product size and reduce costs. Amazingly, this enabled Bizzy to sell more bottles, which allows the company to increase production, which reduced production cost, which made those larger bottles profitable.
Notes from Chris
Obstacle courses are fun. They offer exercise, a challenge, and a moment of lighthearted competition. 24-hour obstacle courses, on the other hand, are serious business. Alex French, a corporate worker for General Mills, was training for one of these insane day-long courses. Between training and work, he basically had no free time and needed frequent energy boosts. Alex and his training partner, Andrew Healy, started brewing large batches of cold brew coffee when they could find time here and there. By immersing coffee grounds in cold water for 12 or more hours, they could create a rich, smooth cold brew concentrate that they could dilute with cold or hot water whenever they needed a boost. It was simple, affordable, and much healthier than the energy drink alternatives they’d seen on store shelves. A few months after the race, Alex and Andrew came up with an idea. What if they could streamline their cold brewing process to make the beverage accessible to other people low on time, but who still want to enjoy good coffee? With jobs in the marketing department of General Mills, Alex and Andrew had access to data—and lots of it. In early 2014, they noticed that the cold brew coffee market appeared to be at the beginning of a huge spike in growth. Sales were picking up for other companies, new products were being launched—and they thought it was time to jump into the black gold rush. So they did. In homage to how busy they both were when they were working full-time and training for the obstacle course, they decided to name the company Bizzy Coffee. In May of 2016, Bizzy Coffee launched via its own website and on Amazon.com with a 16-ounce bottle of cold brew concentrate priced at $8.99, and they generated a few thousand dollars that month. By the end of June, they had reached $10,000 in sales. And by the end of 2016, after just over six months, Bizzy had generated $100,000 in sales. The duo attributes their rapid growth mainly to Amazon. By targeting very precise search terms in their product descriptions, Bizzy was able to attract a ton of organic search traffic—and a ton of sales. Oh, and when Buzzfeed, the holy grail or internet PR, mentions Bizzy (like they already have three times), they see nearly a 500% spike in sales for that day. Fast forward to 2018. Bizzy Coffee has already generated over $1,000,000 since its launch two years ago and can be found in over 1,000 retail stores across the nation. Alex and Andrew aren’t ready to just ride out the wave of their success. They didn’t want to spill too many beans, but they’re said to be brewing up three new products over the next three months. When we asked about the long-term goal, Alex told us he just wants to be the leading cold brew coffee brand—a big challenge, but this is coming from a guy who runs 24-hour obstacle courses. At least we know that he'll be well fueled on his way!
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Bizzy Coffee: Get your morning buzz on—learn more about this unique cold brew over on Alex and Andrew's website!
- Food-X: The food and beverage accelerator that helped Alex and Andrew truly launch Bizzy Coffee
- Man Sells $1,400 in Coffee to Neighbors with NextDoor App: After teaching himself to roast coffee—nearly burning down his apartment in the process—a California man gets creative and uses a social network to grow his hustle
- Fire Roasted Coffee Dreams Lead to Big Beans: When searching high and low for fresh roasted coffee leaves a father in the Yukon with an empty mug, he starts making it himself and creates a side hustle caffeinating the masses
- “Mommee Coffee” Becomes a $20,000/Month Side Hustle: Tired of the guilt associated with consuming coffee while pregnant and breastfeeding, a biomechanical engineer creates a line of coffee bean options that keep Mom happy and baby healthy
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To infinity and beyond,