We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Madani and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sam, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
For starters, this is a perfect question to ask anybody at BOMANI Cold Buzz. Habit building is a core part of our culture – in fact, everyone at our company has read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. We buy a copy for new team members on their first day! While each of us has their own individual habits, we’re also proud to say that we’ve worked together to develop a few habits that we believe have been critical to our success. We’re humbled and grateful to say that having launched merely two weeks before shelter-in-place orders, we’ve successfully expanded our presence to the point that our alcohol-infused cold brew coffee can be purchased in 34 states. We’ve earned authorizations at key retailers including Whole Foods, Total Wine, Gelson’s, Stater Bros., and more, we raised $3.5m in our seed capital raise (making it one of the largest seed rounds of 2020), and we continue to grow rapidly month over month. Since we’re such genuine believers in building habits, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few of the habits we’ve built at BOMANI Cold Buzz. Empower your team. This specifically means always being honest and vulnerable with one another. When one of our team members admits they need support, whichever team member(s) would be the best fit to support them will step up. It sounds incredibly simple, but this habit simultaneously dissolves the potential for office politics and increases your team’s effectiveness in working together. Be transparent. This habit goes hand in hand with empowering your team. At BOMANI, we’ve developed a habit to start every internal meeting off with the “bad news.” By doing so, our team feels comfortable addressing problems immediately, which creates an environment where everyone is rowing in the same direction. Even when there is confrontation (which is healthy and natural in a growing company), we clearly differentiate between “boxing” and “sparring.” While the goal of boxing is to knock your opponent out, the goal of sparring is to get better at the sport. The latter is how we define the confrontations at BOMANI – our problems are never one person vs. another, it’s both people on the same side vs. the problem! Clearly define intention. In a rapidly-growing company, it would be easy to be distracted with all of the seemingly latest & greatest opportunities. To stay focused, we developed a habit to immediately ask two questions when we run into one of these “shiny objects.” Firstly, why would we do this? Secondly, how is this a part of our overall strategy? If those two questions don’t have clear answers, then it’s likely that there’s little to no intention around the proposed initiative. By knowing that, we can focus on the important pieces of the business. Execute. This habit is exactly what it sounds like. We’ve created the habit to execute our tasks all the way through to fruition. Though it may sound straightforward, it’s frankly shocking to see how many tasks at how many companies are either unfinished or handled lazily or sloppily. Since we so passionately insist on top-tier execution, we have built habits centered around accountability. These include clearly defining specific responsibilities and assigning tasks (and their timelines) to a leader. Now while habits are not easy to create, they absolutely pay off in dividends. I firmly believe that our dedication to forming habits has directly contributed to BOMANI’s success to date. And no – we’re never done building habits – since we believe in ongoing self-improvement, we set new habits to build every quarter!
What should our readers know about your business?
BOMANI Cold Buzz is innovating the hard coffee category, which is growing at a booming 11,000% year over year. At 5.7% ABV and ½ a cup of coffee’s worth of caffeine, BOMANI is only 110 calories, 0g sugar, and 0g carbs. BOMANI is gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and vegan. The delicious, balanced taste profile of our 100% ethically sourced Arabica bean coffee has earned us a collection of awards, including the World Beverage Award for Best Ready-to-Drink Beverage of 2020. In creating BOMANI Cold Buzz, we’re excited to be electrifying two of everyone’s favorite occasions to enjoy a drink: the brunch and the pregame. The product itself is a combination of two of the fastest growing subcategories in beverage: cold brew coffee and alcohol from sugar cane (the same type of alcohol that goes in hard seltzers). Almost nothing about BOMANI has been easy to date. Because we created a new product rather than a variation of an existing category, we had to partner with some of the most talented flavorists, supply chain experts, and manufacturers in the world. Following countless hours of formulating BOMANI and building backend infrastructure to support demand, we finally launched in March 2020 – two weeks before shelter-in-place orders began. Amid all the uncertainty, our team was able to successfully pivot rapidly to an unprecedented marketplace. By prioritizing our brand values, investing in our customers, and dedicating a portion of our net proceeds to philanthropy, we survived and thrived! We have learned more than a few lessons. First, I want to quote Shirin Behzadi (our Chairperson who also happens to be my mother). She taught us that a healthy business isn’t merely a business with a good plan; a healthy business is one that can adapt and pivot quickly. Since this advice was engrained in us even before the pandemic, we were able to leverage our nimble business model to innovate through the never-ending insanity of 2020. Since we had a business model that could adapt to always prioritize culture, we were able to invest in our customers. While many of the major corporations released insincere, out-of-touch ads, we decided to shift our messaging to reflect our lives. Rather than sharing BOMANI with your friends at your favorite restaurant’s brunch, you could order BOMANI delivered to your door alongside your favorite restaurant’s food and enjoy both in the company of whoever you were quarantining with. On this topic, we also partnered with fitness gurus to host at-home workouts on Instagram while gyms were closed! Our efforts to convey our authenticity proved to resonate with consumers, and BOMANI soon began to take off across multiple states. While it feels like there are a million things we’ve learned since we started BOMANI, I believe that building an adaptable business model and investing in your customers are two critical lessons!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First and foremost, we’re heading to the beach. Born and raised in Southern California, I’m just about as obsessed with the beach as someone can be. Whether we’re surfing, swimming, or playing volleyball, I can guarantee that it’ll be time well spent! I also love the vibrant atmosphere at EP & LP. After a long week of work, there’s nothing like enjoying a BOMANI with a friend and then heading over to EP & LP for a few drinks. Restaurants – now that’s hard to pick! If someone is new to LA, I think Kazu Nori is a must. If you’re visiting and you’re a nature lover, I highly recommend spending some time at Runyon Canyon. The views from the top are simply breathtaking! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to take this opportunity to shout out my mom, Shirin Behzadi. She went from immigrating to this country as a teenager and paying her way through college while working at a gas station to earning wild successes in the worlds of entrepreneurship, philanthropy, investing, and more. Yet somehow, her massive accomplishments merely scratch the surface of the impact my mom has had on my life. I could write (and one day, probably will write) a book about how superhuman my mom is. So for the sake of this article, I’ll spare the reader some time and focus on one specific trait of my mom’s that I have always admired and longed to live up to. My mom genuinely loves people and wants the best for them. It’s uncanny how she can meet a total stranger, and within minutes, she naturally focuses on that stranger’s best qualities. She makes it a point to communicate these qualities to whoever she’s speaking with, truly showing them that she values them and that they are important. Whether it’s a professional or personal relationship, my mom has the superpower to make people feel like they’re on top of the world.