We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Pfeiffer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Like many young professionals, I couldn’t afford to get sick working in finance and trying to have a life on the weekends. We had no “sick days” and instead loaded up on as many vitamins and health drinks we could, tried to hide our sniffles, and returned to our desk. As soon as any semblance of a cold surfaced, I ran to the pharmacy, the health foods store, and smoothie bar and filled up with vitamins, fruits, and pills. These were never cheap runs. I thought there had to be a better way to get back on my feet than a pharmacy cocktail of supplements. When I learned the product I wanted didn’t exist, I went about trying to make it. I started experimenting with ingredients that science has proven hastens recoveries, to create a single shot to fulfill all my vitamin and antioxidant requirements. With the help of a food scientist and nutritionist, we managed to bottle this elixir into a shelf-stable shot. I always knew I wanted to start my own business one day. I never planned for it to be in the beverage space. I just saw a need and went about trying to create the product I wanted.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My product is different from what is on the market currently because it combines three of the main ingredients of other products and does this all in a shelf-stable form. I am most proud of getting this product off the ground. I am one person, without outside funding, and in a year I went from idea, to legally selling a drink and shipping nationwide. Nothing about it was easy. There were so many small hurdles that almost shut me down or kept me from moving forward. I am proud that my first test batch sold out without any paid advertising and I personally hand-delivered every unit. After getting good feedback from this round I was ready to sprint on some minor tweaks and get a larger batch ready to ship. This whole process was almost derailed when the 5th most important ingredient in my drink went missing from my supplier’s website. I called them and they said they were out of stock and didn’t think they were getting any more. I was able to find the larger supplier who sold them the product and contacted them as well. This larger supplier was also sold out and thought they were going to stop carrying the product. Right there with a production date already scheduled, I thought I was dead on arrival. I checked the site every day for a week and a half and out of nowhere the original supplier got some in stock. I immediately stocked up and sent it straight to my manufacturer. A seemingly small issue, but I had no time to reformulate my product and my manufacturer would have charged me thousands of dollars to delay the run. That would have been a stopping point for me and my brand, but we made it through. Throughout all this, I learned never to give up and to never be afraid to ask for help. I want the world to know starting a company isn’t as glamorous or easy as it looks on Instagram, but if you have a passion, go for it, because the grind is always worth it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh, man. I was a tour guide in college and planned our spring break for a study abroad group for a dozen kids from different schools. I got this. They better be ready to walk because we are walking a lot. Our days are going to be based around food and drinks. We will start our mornings at my favorite breakfast places around the city. During the week, healthiesh smoothies, acai bowls, and french toast and bagels and lox on the weekend. Then we will hit museums and keep walking off the food. Afternoon we will grab a local iced coffee and a light street food snack. Next, we are hitting another less touristy attraction, something you won’t find high on TripAdvisor, but you might like more than the big sites. Dinner is going to be a world tour – different every night. Thai, Himalayan, Italian, Mexican, Japanese. Afterward, we will grab a post-dinner cocktail or beer that might turn into three, before starting the whole thing over the next day. If you are not a coffee fan, you will be after this trip. The city never sleeps. There’s too much to do. And eat.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This may be a little unorthodox, but I want to shoutout my university. Many people owe a lot to their university, but mine owes a special place in my heart. Arizona State gave me the opportunity to do every, single thing I wanted in college (excluding being born 6’5’ and running out of the tunnel on game day). They gave me over a half-ride scholarship that allowed me to graduate without any student loans, a feat I couldn’t have even accomplished at some of my in-state school options. I went out of state for school and expanded my network, studied abroad in Rome for a semester, was a tutor and tour guide, met some of my best friends, hung by the pool, and somehow still networked my way into my dream job. I will forever be thankful that this “state, party school” gave me the college experience you see on flyers and in movies.