Episode 117
August 2, 2022

Persistence and Patience

with Paul Voge, Co-Founder and CEO of Aura Bora

About this episode

Joining the show today is Paul Voge, Co-Founder and CEO of Aura Bora, making sparkling water a better-tasting experience. In this episode, Paul shares his story from growing up as the youngest of five, to selling vintage t-shirts in college, to quitting his job to focus full time on building Aura Bora in 2019. He talks about how he dropped off some cans to a buyer of Whole Foods at their corporate office desk, the differences between selling to different grocers, how he's had to change his pitch, and how they came up with the name Aura Bora.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • (1:07) How Aura Bora makes sparkling water from herbs, fruits, and flowers using unique ingredients, like basil, cactus, and lavender for a better tasting experience all while donating 1% of annual revenue to environmental causes.
  • (2:35) What it was like growing up in a small town outside of New York, being the youngest of five children
  • (5:25) Some of his early jobs from selling vintage T-shirts, to starting a Christmas tree farm, and working for a venture studio. All of this led him to fall in love with sparkling water
  • (14:00) Why they decided to not go down the selling flavor route but to instead stick to making premium water in cans
  • (17:00) How he decided to take the leap into entrepreneurship in 2019 and sold the first can of Aura Bora in the fall
  • (21:40) How he dropped off some cans to a buyer of Whole Foods at their corporate office desk, which led to being on the shelves just a few months later
  • (33:00) How they came up with the name Aura Bora out of 311 names on their list
  • (37:00) The perks and some challenges of working with his wife and running the business together, and how they manage situations with their team
  • (40:00) How one of the biggest learning experiences he’s had is that there are no shortcuts
  • (45:00) The experience of going on Shark Tank, and what it's like having Robert as an investor
  • (50:00) The final advice he has for inspiring entrepreneurs, and what’s next for Aura Bora, with new flavors launching every other month. 

To Find Out More:

https://aurabora.com/ 

Quotes:

“I loved the idea of trading and making something out of nothing.”

“The most popular item in this pantry is LaCroix sparkling water, and it's probably the least interesting as in we're all drinking it, but no one's enjoying it.”

“It felt weird that there wasn't a craft version of flavored sparkling water.”

“We thought about what if we could make a much better product and as a result, be able to brand it and sell it as a differentiated, more premium offering.”

“Uniquely in CPG, I think you probably have to take the leap earlier than you would like to.”

“Being persistent but also patient is key”

“The beginning of it really was if we could make something memorable.”

“We have had to be deliberate and transparent with every single person we've hired.”

“There is truly no shortcut to this. You just get bigger one account at a time.”

“​Do yourself a favor and pick a hundred stores that are very similar and get really good at selling the product in those stores. And then from there you can rinse and repeat in other channels once you grow.”

“I have felt like Shark Tank has opened us up to actually most of the country, middle of the country, all four time zones, high income, low income, old, young, et cetera.”

“Sometimes it just feels like this is either so close to impossible that we should just call it impossible, or I must be doing it wrong.”

“Learn as much as possible before you need to commit to something.”

“It's really tempting to your point, quit your job, start selling the product, etc, but you’re really well served by learning way more than you might need.”

Read the transcript

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