Hitting The Mark

Hitting The Mark

Conversations with founders and investors about the intersection of brand clarity and startup success with your host, brand strategist and author Fabian Geyrhalter.

Fabian

EP070 – Chris Boyd, Co-Founder & CEO, Drink Monday

Strategic Clarity + Verbal Clarity + Visual Clarity

Chris Boyd is the Co-Founder of Monday, a Southern California distillery that crafts non-alcoholic spirits such as gin and whiskey.

 

The brand is only a year old and its impeccable design caught my eye from day one.

 

Chris and I talk about how community and authenticity are key to building his brand. And he is walking that talk as he has 1,366 shareholders to who he is reporting.

 

And of course, we talk about the power of design and how the big question ‘why’ should be fundamental to any entrepreneur’s journey of building their brand.

 

A spirited conversation all around.

Notes

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Welcome to the show, Chris.

Chris Boyd:
Hey, thanks, Fabian. Thanks so much for having me. I’m super excited.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Oh, I’m thrilled, I’m thrilled to have you. Looking into your brand’s history, it’s only been around two years, give or take, since you launched into the nonalcoholic spirits category with a flavor forward zero alcohol gin in a design forward packaging, and you made quite the waves ever since. Take us back to the start. How did you come up with the idea and how did you make it into reality?

Chris Boyd:
Yeah, sure. I think all the entrepreneurs listening in can probably relate. I had an aha moment just being out with friends. I basically looked around trying to see if I could be a customer of someone’s product that was going to scratch my itch. It didn’t really work out. It was almost like a, “Hey, challenge accepted. I’m going to go make this a reality.”
To put it more into real terms, I think it was January 2019, so not that long ago. I was neck deep in some consulting work and long hours and traveling all the time. It is my birthday; we are going to celebrate but it’s on a Sunday. I think I’m turning 38 at the time, 37. Not that special a year, not something to super celebrate, but out with a few friends. Grabbing one gin drink, it’s delicious; grabbing a second. I think a friend wanted to buy round number three and I’m like, “Yeah, I’m going to pump the breaks here and I’m going to switch to water. I got to get up early, I got to catch a flight.”
I have to pitch some high-level managers and do all the things that consultants do on a Monday morning. I caught a little flack for that. They’re like, “Hey, what do you mean? It’s your birthday, you can drink as much as you want. Who cares how you feel in the morning?” I was kind of like, “I actually care about how I feel in the morning. I need to be at the top of my game, I like to be sharp in the office and I don’t know that more alcohol in my system the night before is going to serve that.”
So, I made the conscious effort to stop. I still had a good time with my friends, we chit chatted and I went home a few hours later. But there really was a little moment there of like, why can’t I keep drinking the flavorful complex beverages that I want without the alcohol that I don’t want anymore, right?
I think I tucked that away, went about my life and a couple more months of the consulting gig. It wound down, say, in March or so. I’m at the gym and I bumped into my now co-founder, Ben, at Monday. He’s a serial entrepreneur, big online marketing and DDC guy. We just always hit it off when we see each other, chat about, “Hey, what’s new and what’s next? What’s hot?” He was like, “Hey, you wound down your consulting thing. I know you’re not just going to go to sleep. I know you’re thinking about something. What are you thinking about?” I kind of just blurted it out. I was like, “What about gin that tastes like gin without the alcohol?”
I think that’s a crazy thing to say out loud and it needs a backstory, right? The beautiful thing about this was I didn’t really have to say much more than that, and I see Ben’s eyes light up and he basically goes, “Yes. I’ve actually been thinking about this too.”
He’s got four young kids at home; he sits on three or four boards at any given time. Just a super entrepreneurial go getter right and we’re just like, hey we’re here at the gym working out and we’re competitive, we’re competitive in our office spaces. The last thing we can do is be hangover for a couple days drinking too much alcohol, right? But we still miss the experience and being out with people and having that beverage that you really enjoy. So, we’re like, okay we’re just two crazy guys. Is this a thing, right?
I think we went our separate ways. He went to his space, which is online digital, looking for white spaces, keywords, looking for trends online. I actually went the opposite direction. I had a brief background in hospitality and nightlife in San Diego, so I kind of went … I hit the concrete, right? I hit the pavement just asking people like, “Hey, are bartenders being asked to make lots of nonalcoholic beverages? Are people switching, after a couple of drinks, to something less hard?” All of these types of things.
We brought both our learnings back and we came to a very strong conclusion, this is a thing. People are definitely interested in nonalcoholic beverages that still tastes good. It seems like a very underserved area, and it seems like a category that’s growing. We definitely saw at the time the UK and EU had the rise of dry January. There were some products in the space, so we’re like, “Yeah, this is a thing. I’m sure it’ll jump ship here, get to the east coast pretty soon and become something that’s nationwide, if not worldwide,” and “Hey, maybe we’re early.” All of those things were pointing to, “Hey, this is where I pour entrepreneurs to pounce out, right? We’re like, okay, let’s wait.
There’s a couple of things happening; there’s a couple of products in the UK and EU and we’re just like, maybe we’ll be customers. If they’re good, why bother? Try to see things that were out there, waited for the long shipping times overseas. Their websites and packaging were pretty decent, they had a great story. A lot of alignment there. Some of the things they said resonated with us. We got all the way to the pouring of the liquid in the glass, the mixing and the tasting. The tasting was so disappointing to us. No judgment to those brands. They helped get us to where we are and inspired us to pursue this; but for us, it was just short on the taste side. We’re like, “Ah.”
We really want this for us and this growing group around us who says that they want what we want. Let’s just take the plunge, right? So, I saved some pennies from consulting. I was like, “Let me just jump into this full time. Let’s see if we can produce something good and get this going.” I think it was April of that year, I just got on the phones to US-based distillers. As the story goes, I got laughed off the phone about 85 times. They’re just, “What do you mean? You’re taking the best part of gin out of gin. Are you insane? Get off my phone. Don’t even contact me.” It was a lot of that.
There’s two ways to think about that, I think. It’s, “Hey, wow, this is crazy. I should stop,” and the inner entrepreneur is like, “Wow, keep going.” Like, the last thing you’d want is 85 calls where they’re super interested and they’re like, “Yeah, we could do this for nothing. I do this all the time.”

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Right.

Chris Boyd:
I love that, the needle in the haystack. I think call 86 was to our today’s distiller and mastermind behind all of our formulations. He’s a guy around our age, late 30s, entrepreneurial, set out on his own creative zone distillery. He is an award-winning spirits maker of the hard stuff. I gave him the same spiel. Basically it’s like, “I see non alc as a trend. I understand what you’re trying to do. I make some gin inhouse. You guys have a very distinct and focused flavor profile that you want, I understand that. I think I can do it, but no guarantees, but let’s take the ride.”
That was enough for us. We wrote him some personal checks on the spot. We don’t have a company, we don’t have anything yet. We’re just like, “Hey, hopes and dreams here. Let’s see what you can do.” That really was the impetus of it. We’re often running into the spring and summer, kind of building up this Founder team, continuing to do some online testing, making sure there is a market.
I think mid-summer we tasted our first batches of non alc gin, and they were really good. Two were, god, awful and one was like, man, it was like 80% there. We’re just like, wow. This is a thing. It’s already better, in our opinion, with some of the other competitors and we know we can make it even better. I think that was the moment of mark the celebration of like this is going to be a thing.
Funny story is we celebrated with alcoholic gin and tonics and we left the Monday and tonic on the table, and we got confused by which one was which. They were actually holding up to the hard stuff. I think, for us, it was really a big motivator. We didn’t really think that would be possible, that it can just hold up and there would be a bit of confusion which was which. So, I think that was a huge motivator going into the fall of let’s continue to iterate this thing and then let’s take it out to Kickstarter.
So, being a small growing movement and community of people, being more mindful about their drinking, I think this deserves a community-based test. It’s a nice marker before finally going to market, making sure that enough people believe in what you’re doing, and the space. So, fantastic place to do that. We managed to hit our goal in just two days out of a 30-day-timeline

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Oh, wow.

Chris Boyd:
Yeah. It was great to see so many people enthusiastic. We managed to get a finished product to those folks on their Christmas trees; got some great feedback going into January, February; and then really just got into market now, April 2020, which was an interesting time because COVID hit right about then.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Wow! So, I stand corrected.

Chris Boyd:
Yeah.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
So, it’s been only a year, really, that you’ve been fully in market.

Chris Boyd:
Yeah.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Wow. I guess because I’m in Southern California, it’s easier for me because I’ve seen the brand around. But, wow, that’s impeccable.

Chris Boyd:
Yeah, yeah. So, we’re actually super young in market. We had only know what it’s like to sell in the COVID era. That’s always a funny question. They’re like, “Hey, how is it going?” I’m like, this is our reality. We only know this. It’s been an interesting rollercoaster and journey.
It’s been beautiful. As an entrepreneur, I’d say this is a super exciting place to be. Of course, excitement is equal parts good and terrifying sometimes within the same 20 minutes span, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love where we’re headed. We seem to be changing people’s lives for the better based on all the custom responses we get and people having their individual battles with alcohol and other things, and how products like ours can kind of help make a difference in their lives from time to time or even over a long period to get them drinking a little bit less alcohol or no alcohol at all, depending on their journey. So, it’s been a very motivating experience.
I think we initially did it for ourselves, and for the challenge as entrepreneurs. We’re definitely now here for the community, for people because we’re seeing how powerful is that people are being affected by our product and products like ours. So, I’ve now switched gears to being more category and people champion for the space because I really want the space to be relevant and to become mainstream and to just be top of mind. So, hey, 5, 10, 15 years from now, any place, you’re out with friends at a bar, at a restaurant, you have nonalcoholic options. It’s not this thing where it’s something to talk about. It’s normal, I think.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
I love that, yeah. I totally love that. And the nonalcoholic options that you see these days, they’re also not very satisfying out in restaurants. You and I talked about it a little bit offline that a lot about having a drink at the end of the day or having a drink on the weekend, a lot of it is a ritual, right? It’s a lot about what kind of glassware you use, the ice cubes you put in. You mix it and then you enjoy it. It’s not really all about the alcohol, right? I mean, a lot of it is just psychological, and I think going into that space and being able to pour yourself a gin tonic at the end of a Monday, and there comes the name, which is, by the way, I mean, awesome name. I mean, that is just so convincing from day one. Why is it Monday? Oh, it doesn’t take too long to figure that out, right? And so, to have a gin tonic on a Monday evening and feel good about it.
And it’s not only for high achievers, it’s not only for people who want to be super healthy. I mean, there’s a lot of reasons. There are a lot of people who would enjoy that. So, I’m really excited about that. Let’s talk about … So, you launched through Kickstarter, but just recently you did your first round of actual funding, which raised just north of a million dollars from 1366 Republic investors and five angels, so talking about community.

Chris Boyd:
Yeah.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Why did you go down that route and how did it treat you besides having a million bucks and 1366 superfans, which obviously is priceless. But, tell us a little bit about that experience.

Chris Boyd:
Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely. I think 2020, being in market about nine months, what we experienced in that COVID era of sales was like feast and famine at the same time. Feast, as in we’re DDC focused, we’re digital so there’s more eyeballs on the internet than ever in the COVID era. That’s fantastic for a new product and a new space. It sparks a lot of curiosity, gets us more attention, all that good stuff that everybody already knows. That’s great. And then we sell out, right? I think when we were in market, we had three months of inventory, it’s sold out in three weeks. Everyone was like, “Great, you have the best problem in the world. Go get some more stock.” I’m like, well, in the COVID era, there is no stock to get. There are worldwide shortages and massive delays and then costs are going up. All of those things are the worst things for a brand-new brand in a brand-new category.
I think there was a lot of learnings and a lot of like, this can only go so far so fast as a bootstrap. Doing it ourselves and putting every dollar back into the business, it’s still not enough to make those mature bigger buys on the raw material side, or, hey, there’s massive shortages here. So now, you’re fighting with big alcohol for raw Juniper materials to make your gin. Things like that, those aren’t things overcome by anything other than money, quite honestly. We’re just like, “Hey, this has traction in the market. It makes sense for people, we’re here for people. Let’s do right by them, let’s grow this thing.”
So, I think, going on the investment trail tail end of 2020, we were approached by conventional money, institutional money, professional money, whatever you want to call it. We definitely went down that more conventional route and have those talks. I think, ultimately where we came to is like let’s stay true to our roots; let’s be authentically about the people, the movement, the community. Because we get so many people saying, “Hey, how can I help? I believe in this category, I want to do my part. What is that about?” Or, “Hey, how can I be part of Monday? How can I contribute? How can I invest?” And these are regular folks, right? These aren’t people with a million bucks to write a single check.
We just pieced all that together, and we’re just like, “Hey, we see this rise in equity crowdfunding and platforms like Republic, They’re raising millions of dollars and they’re gathering up these customers and industry champions and brand fans and saying, ‘Hey, if you have a credit card and want to put down 100 bucks and grab some equity in this company, or you want to write a check for 100,000, anywhere in between, come do this.'” Right?
So, we looked into it. It’s like Kickstarter on steroids but it’s even better than that. When we are successful, those investors and those champions also win with us. I saw that as so aligned to what we are, this mission driven thing that we built. I’m all in on that.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Yeah, yeah.

Chris Boyd:
So, we went down that path. We created a campaign and every day there is big questions from investors, and you answer them on a very transparent forum-style thing. It’s a little scary because they think the first thing is like, okay, old school business background that I have in business management, degree and all that stuff from way back. It’s like, hey, don’t show your hand, right? Now, the age is like, all right, everything is transparent. Your pricing is out there, your model, your strategy, your plan. That’s a little scary.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
That’s scary, yeah.

Chris Boyd:
It is. It is. I think, ultimately, we are so transparent about what we do with people. Like, let’s just take the plunge. It makes sense for us. I am so glad we did it because in the end, I think, we can show you what we’re doing but you have to go out and do it if you want to compete or if you want to copy. There’s a ton of work in that, and I think we’re farther ahead. And I honestly think our Founding team is better at it than anyone else. It’s almost like, hey, I can show you the recipe but you still have to cook the meal.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Exactly.

Chris Boyd:
There’s a lot that can go wrong in that cooking, so good luck to you. I think the rewards are worth that risks, and we’re garnering lots of support because of that transparency. Our campaign was successful, luckily, and we got a ton of feedback. One of that reasons is we are very transparent and very long winded in our responses. So, people could learn not just about the plain what but the why behind it. And I think that’s why people want to get behind young brands because they have a very strong why, they have a mission. And it’s not like a nameless, faceless organization that only makes money, right? It’s not a transaction. It’s about a long-term relationship, some someone or some group of people that you can really get behind.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
I totally, I totally agree. I advised an entrepreneur the other day and he was like, “We have to have 500 sales in the first month.” I told him, “No, you have to have a hundred superfans in the first month.” A hundred people who really love what you do, they stand behind you, they share it, and that’s it. That is so much more important. And so, the idea that you suddenly have 1366 investors who love your product, right?

Chris Boyd:
Right.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
I mean, how that spreads. I mean, that’s already 6000 people right there, the way that that spreads.

Chris Boyd:
Right.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
It’s really intriguing. Talking about zeitgeist, in your eyes or based on your experience, how important is the idea of offering and claiming small batch or artisanal to today’s consumer? Because we see it everywhere. I myself buy into it, and I would advise others to do the same because it just makes sense. But, how important do you see that? I know it’s on your bottles too, the idea of small batch.

Chris Boyd:
Yeah. I love the artisanal handmade small batch idea. I’d say, short answer, it’s very important. One, because it’s authentic to what we do for products. Our products are handmade in a 3000 square foot family-owned distillery. I guess what I’m trying to get across there is this is not a mass-produced thing in a nameless, faceless organization. We are not big alc, we don’t turn out millions of gallons of this stuff. It’s very handcrafted.
Just trying to get that across is like, we’re doing stuff that us and other brands in our space hasn’t really been done before. Nobody has really tried to make beverages that tastes like alcohol but without alcohol. It’s a lot harder than one might think, and we’re really just scratching the surface of what that looks like, so it requires a lot of R&D and a lot of science, and there aren’t a lot of efficient ways to do it at scale.
I really wanted to give off that vibe because I think when your customers are digital, there is both an inherent closeness to them, like you can communicate with them more than other means, like brick and mortar or retail, but you also can also get that trollish effect where people stand at a glance, they see your stuff, and they judge it without really knowing it. What we’re trying to do is break down that wall, that we’re not this nameless, faceless group. We are a small group of passionate humans that really care about the product and the people. I think that’s one of the ways that we communicate that.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
That’s going to be interesting, with you scaling Monday’s production, which inherently you will because the product is great. I’m sure people are going to start loving it more and more. You want it to spread, right? And then at some point, if you grow the brands quite a bit, not losing that authenticity and not losing that idea where you can’t maybe put small batch on it anymore, but still keeping that, that’s going to be the big and exciting next challenge.

Chris Boyd:
Yeah. I agree with you and I look forward to having that problem. I think we’re evolving. I don’t think we’ll go from that 3000 square foot distillery to the 300,000 square foot industrial facility probably in my time with Monday. But we are making that change of like, hey, our distiller now is looking at say, a 15,000 square foot facility, and it basically scales up with, I’m going to say, bigger tanks or bigger stills and more staff, rather than massive automated robots that somebody pushes a button on one side and somebody moves a pallet on the other side. It’s … By the way, I’m assuming that’s how it works in big alc; I could be wrong too. But I think that’s the Elon Musk way of maybe making handcrafted goods.
We’re not there yet, I’m not sure what that looks like. I know that we’ll grow in ways that makes sense of like, I love caring human hands and eyes and ears, kind of just looking around and being surrounded by our product. As much as I can do that, I’m going to continue to do that because I think caring people that, have a sense of pride in what they’re doing and share our mission driven alignment, that’s the key to really making this thing real and ensuring good quality product reaches amazing customers.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Yeah. No, that’s truth right there. So, Monday as a brand is known as much for its alcohol-free gin, which now is also its whiskey. As it is for the gorgeous Art Deco inspired label design, your brand convinced, through impeccable design from day one, at least I assume because those were the labels that I’ve seen from the beginning, which is really rare these days to do that from the beginning with any startup. Even in the retail environment where there is strong data suggesting how shelf appeal is everything, why was design so important to you?

Chris Boyd:
Yeah. Marcelo is our co-founder and chief creative. I have to get you guys connected up because I think you would vibe on so many levels, like-

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Oh, I’d love that.

Chris Boyd:
… everything he creates is completely gorgeous. He has this very deep track record of creating amazing things for countless brands. He’s the most talented guide that I’ve ever met, and we’re so grateful to have him. He created Monday after we basically, Ben and I, founders, gave him kind of a brief of, “Hey, here’s the space, here’s what we’re doing, here’s what we’re thinking,” and just led him to his own ideas. The Art Deco inspiration there is so beautiful.
Honestly, we were thinking about it in 2019; thinking of like, “Okay, 2020. We’re coming into a new era of the roaring 20s. I think Art Deco could make a comeback.” We see that with some of the new brick and mortars in LA doing this. So, we’re seeing some trends and playing off those. The last thing we expected is COVID, which is anti 2020. But we actually think there will be a resurgence of people being out and people having a good time hopefully when COVID starts to settle down a bit.
So, we do have the rest of the decade to work with that original concept. But I think, ultimately, we wanted a gorgeous bottle that I think stood out on the shelf but then equally looked like it belonged on a liquor shelf when you’re looking at a beautiful bar or a restaurant and you’re sitting there, your belly up to the bar, you have a drink, you see the bottle and you’re like that’s both beautiful but it fits. I think that’s what we really want to be, a familiar looking bottle that does stand out, which I realize those are two separate things but in a way they fit, right? It’s like, it belongs here but it is more beautiful than the other, so I’m going to look at it.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Totally. You guys totally nailed that, that’s why I was so fascinated with your brand from the beginning, pretty much, as I now learned because it’s only been a year. There were a lot of things that you said that are really interesting. The idea of fitting in yet standing out, that is literally one to one what I try to do with every single brand I work with. Because you have to fit into the industry, you have to fit into the marketplace; but on the other hand, you also need to stand out, and how do you do that? That’s really where all the work goes into. How do you do that. I think, for you guys, going into a new category, but fitting into the alcohol category, that was even more so important.
Going back to the idea of the roaring 20s and Art Deco and all of that, I do believe this still, even with people not being able to go out and party and have that whole idea of what we thought that last year would be about, I think people were craving it, and you gave them away that they could still have that vibe at home, right? I mean, I think it’s no secret that people started drinking a lot-

Chris Boyd:
Right. Right.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
I mean, it was a crap of a year however you look at it, right?

Chris Boyd:
Right.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
And even though a lot of brands, including yourself, were successful, it was still from a human perspective, it was just a crap year. And so, I think that it was still timely. I mean, the design and everything, it still fit in tremendously. My big question was, or would have been, how does one bootstrap design and still get great results? And I think that your process, from the get go, you had someone on the team, it sounds like, who was a strong designer. That was an early decision, right?

Chris Boyd:
Yes. A complete stroke of luck that Marcelo was available and excited by our project. I think he gets courted by dozens of brands weekly. I think the idea of this was to really set up a co-founded super team of people who could really do the majority of the work needed to stand up a brand and a minimum set of viable products, get them to market, see if there’s some scale; and if there is, pour some fuel on that fire. So, that was really the onset. I think we got him excited by that idea, like, “Hey, let’s copy and paste this with some other exciting products going forward on the entrepreneurial side.” That definitely caught his attention.
And I think Monday, in particular, was very exciting for him, maybe hearing from me. I’m very passionate about the space in particular. I was like, “Hey, this thing could really go farther than anything else we work on. I can’t think of something that’s more new and exciting. We’re really on the cusp of a brand new category.” I don’t know that you can say that too many times in your career. So, I think we brought him aboard for that reason and just … My God, we wouldn’t have been able to do it. I don’t know what our brand would look like if we had to go bootstrap that, right? Because you only get so much bang for your buck on that side.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Totally.

Chris Boyd:
I think Marcelo would have said, “Hey, here’s the big six-figure price tag for Monday’s branding.” I would be like, “That’s gorgeous. We want it and we can’t afford it.” So, I think having him in early makes the most sense. You can’t really buy his level of talent because he’s so immersed in the brand from day one.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Yeah, yeah.

Chris Boyd:
It’s really the best place to be.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
And I think there’s a lot to learn for entrepreneurs out there. Make people that you think would be important to the success of your company, co-founders, right? Let the ego slide. And then for a lot of designers out there and marketers, strive for that. Strive to become the person that people want to reach out to and say, “Look, I want to make you a co-founder,” on that level because great stuff will be created when you’re at that level because skin is in the game.

Chris Boyd:
I agree completely. I think, especially… I’m not a creative but I respect the creative processes. Creators, you will have more creative control than ever if you can become part of that co-founding team, and your assets that you bring to the table are really priceless especially early on because nobody wants to fund that. When you fund it with an agency, there’s inherent problems with that because there is never going to be a founder level immersement there. So, you’ll never really get the vibe.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Yes. Yes.

Chris Boyd:
And I feel like having that founder level … That’s one of the best decisions that we ever made from day one. I think you’ll hear a mixed bag across entrepreneurship, thought processes of like, “Hey, you should own 80 to 90%. Don’t give it away for nothing.” We are more of the mindset, there’s six or seven of us and we don’t have a ton each, but collectively we all know we’re necessary pieces of the puzzle that we’d not want to or be able to pay for on the street and you wouldn’t get nearly as good quality return there. So, I’m a big fan of forming a good super team that can do the majority of the high-level things in a high-quality way instead of owning a ton of equity and something that you have to continuously outsource.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
And because of what you just said, it makes it so easy for you to suddenly have 1366 or whatever investors because you can talk openly and honestly about it. Because the way that the entire team has been structured, it already shows how you guys work.

Chris Boyd:
Yeah.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
I think that’s really great.

Chris Boyd:
Right. Yeah, thanks. I mean, I think the platform to be so transparent and direct, I think, is one of the key reasons we did so well on Republic with equity crowdfunding. To go back to your original, you really nailed it. Of course, the money is completely essential for Republic and the raise that we did, but grabbing the 1300 plus investors is arguably worth more than that over the long term because now you have people who are so … The pride of ownership of like, “Hey, everybody I know, take a look at this shiny new investment. Isn’t it gorgeous? Let me share that with this many people as I can.” That’s better than anyone you could pay to be your brand ambassador. It’s going to be really powerful over time too.
We’re already seeing these people being very highly connected, introducing us to interesting doors or interesting other opportunities. So, I think that is really a seed that is yet to propagate and I can’t wait for that to really start getting going too. So, I highly recommend that too as a path for other entrepreneurs.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Very, very cool. And it’s a pretty new path and not many have the guts to take it yet, so I think this was really, really educational. Going back, you’ve been a consultant, you’ve been in the business world for a pretty fair amount of time, now you co-created, may I say, this brand which really came on the marketplace and it looked like it’s a brand. It’s not like this is a startup. This is a brand. You look at the label and you’re like this is legit. What does this often misunderstood label of branding, what does the word branding mean to you after you’ve been through your journey so far?

Chris Boyd:
Oh, man, I feel like any answer I give isn’t going to … You’re the grand expert. I feel like I’m going to fall short no matter what I do.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Look, I am practitioning in different ways than you’re practitioning, and I think, to me, it is always so much more important to hear it from someone who has actually been going through it and how they see it than from the textbooks or whatever I write or whatever I see. So, in no way would I ask that question if I didn’t think that … Whatever your answer is, that it wouldn’t be insightful.

Chris Boyd:
Well, thank you. I appreciate that. I’d say, if Marcelo listens to this, please know I only speak for myself in case I blow it. I think the brand is important … I’ll come from a place of like non alc is brand new, up and coming, and there needs to be a lot of education on why this exists and why it’s good for you and how to use it. And then I think about the product in its placement, so we’re thinking top shelf and we’re thinking, again, both familiar, fitting in but standing out. And then we’re thinking about, “Hey, Monday is familiar and I think it garnered some curiosity.”
So, taking those ideas and bringing it into something of like, “Hey, the brand needs to be gorgeous and it needs to be beautiful. It needs to be a showstopper.” We’re like, “Hey, what if it was on a grocery store shelf? How do you get people to stop and look at that?” So, thinking about that brand is like, “Hey, how does it grab your attention,” and then I’ll actually go to our true roots which is digital. How does our brand grab you? It stops your scroll and it makes you want to be curious and to look further into what that product is or what we’re up to. Because it’s really hard to grab people the other way of like, “Hey, this is our mission and vision.” You’re going to scroll past that because it’s text or it’s not that sexy. The brand needs to be sexy and a showstopper.
Really, our bottle label, I’d say, is that primary means. We have a lot of branding elements on our website that I think are gorgeous and lend itself to staying on the site, scrolling and exploring a bit because we really want that entry point of being visually stimulating so you may look a little bit deeper, and you may get a little bit of education behind that. I think that’s really what we want to do, is like, “Hey, what’s the entry point to grab your attention so we can start to tell you about the space, the people and the products.”

Fabian Geyrhalter:
And I like when you said the idea of curiosity, that curiosity is directly linked with branding because you just have to get people more curious to keep going, right? To either grab the bottle in the retail or to keep scrolling down the page more, and design and headlines and words. All of that is the brand and that’s what it needs to do. The curiosity, I think it’s super interesting. Some of the copy that you guys write on the site or on your social media handles, one of them really caught my attention when you say free of alcohol but full of spirit, which I really like. I mean, that to me is the brand. It feels like this.

Chris Boyd:
I love that.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Well, as we’re slowly coming to an end, because I want to be mindful of your time, do you have any brand advice that you might have not already shared with us, for founders, for new founders, for new startups as a takeaway? Anything that you learned in the last year plus where you feel like, you know what, that’s something that I would like to give them on their own path.

Chris Boyd:
Yeah, absolutely. I think if you tie brand in closely to your foundational entrepreneurial journey, which I think we both do, I would definitely say get with your team that you feel confident about, that you’ve recruited and brought together and have many, as many as needed, open candid conversations about your why for starting. Because I think having that foundational bedrock of why you’re doing this and having this mission and vision that you’re all aligned on will help form that brand and make it rock solid.
And I think if you do that right, everything else will work itself out because you’ll always have that to look back on and say, like … On your hardest days you can just be like, “Why am I doing this? This is crazy, this stuff I’m into.” You look back to that, and that’s your reminder of like, “Okay, that’s why I’m here and that’s why the brand exist.” It becomes bigger than yourself, so it really, I think, grounds you into, on your roughest days, supporting you; and then on your best days, really using that as a way to fuel going even further than you thought possible.
So, it always comes back to the why and making sure it’s rock solid, making sure it continues to speak to you. And if it starts to not, you need to bring that group back together and really think through that again. It’s never in concrete; it’s dynamic but it should always be accurate.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
A hundred ten percent. Really, really well said. And your piece of brand advice is my number one piece of brand advice for Founders at all times too. Anyone listening to me more often or having worked with me, they all know that. It’s really answering that why behind your brand is key to everything. I mean, it’s the foundation of your brand. So, super, super thrilled that you-

Chris Boyd:
Cool.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
… that you said that too. Okay, what’s next for the Monday brand? What are you excited about in the next six months? Usually, I would say maybe there’s some things you can’t tell us yet, but I know you’re a very transparent brand and you have people that you need to report to. What are you excited about? What’s happening in the next half year?

Chris Boyd:
Yeah, yeah. Great question, I think. I’m excited about so much stuff. I think with the onset of this last investment tranche, we’re kind of “like a real company,” if you will. Now that cash has helped us kind of mature supply chain, so now we actually have the product we need to meet demand for the first time ever, which means-

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Awesome.

Chris Boyd:
… it’s time to scale, it’s time to grow. It’s time to reach more people and excite more palates and all that good stuff. I think, along with that growth comes more products. I’m happy to share with you and your listeners that we’re working on a third spirit and it is going to be tequila.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Oh, great.

Chris Boyd:
Yeah. So-

Fabian Geyrhalter:
I’m glad it’s not vodka. You’re going towards the taste.

Chris Boyd:
I know. I know. Vodka is such a touchy subject, probably for another time, but there are afficionados who hate the idea that vodka is tasteless. I’m more in the camp of it’s really hard to bring genuine value to a group that thinks about vodka. I’m just like, I don’t want to go there.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Yeah, yeah.

Chris Boyd:
I think tequila made perfect sense. We love the taint and broad strokes on the flavor front. We’re like, hey, hit you over the head London Dry Gin, American style whiskey and now a deep flavorful like Reposado or Anejo style tequila, smooth sipper but also great, and a margarita. And now, we’re talking about a trio of spirits. We think we can reach a much larger population now. It’s like, oh there’s three? There’s generally someone who likes one of those three, right?

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Boyd:
Hey, if we haven’t reached you yet, we’re on our way. But I think those will hit a majority of palates in a way that people like. Margaritas are very popular. We’re excited about opportunity to reach more people, please more palates there. I think on the brand and marketing side, it kind of just evolved. Like I said, we’re at this crossroads of evolving and trying to get more of our culture of care involved. So, trying to bubble that up through the brand, I think, is interesting and something I’m very passionate about doing.
I like to break down those initial walls with people that you sometimes get online of just like, “Hey, we are people who care, trying to help you.” I think once we break down those walls, it becomes a very productive relationship and enacts long time happy customers. I think if we can get more of that going, we’re really getting back to that core idea of why you share drinks with other people. It’s to socialize, it’s to breakdown those walls so you can connect fully.
Virtual there is a wall, and we’re trying to break through that. I think if we can do that, there is a lot of alignment there between face-to-face versus virtual connections all through drinks, which I really think is that middle ground that people can agree on that they both enjoy something and can talk about it, or talk about life while they’re enjoying a drink. That’s really what we’re headed toward, and I’m very excited for that part of the journey.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Exciting, exciting times all around. I can’t wait to sit in a bar and actually see the assortment of all three of your offerings up there on the shelf. It’s going to look so beautiful, and it becomes a talking point too, right? Because if there are three different ones, then it really becomes a presence. Greatly looking forward to that. Well, where can people find Monday? Where can they find you online? What social medial channels do you want them to follow?

Chris Boyd:
Yeah, thanks so much for that. I think our website is your best bet, so drinkmonday.co is where you can find us and get more in tune with our product offerings are about, what we’re about. And then our Instagram is probably your best bet as well, so @drinkmonday. So, yeah, I’d love to welcome in any of your listeners interested in learning about the space. I think you’ve cultivated this group of brand-centric folks and experts, so I know I’ll tread lightly there, but welcoming in any and all newcomers.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Absolutely. Well, I’m sure people … If anything, I would encourage everyone to check out the design. It’s really impeccable. And yeah, it’s a lifestyle that I think everyone should be at least equipped to become part of this lifestyle. Maybe not 24/7 and every day and every week and every month, but it is something that I think … It’s a really great thing and I loved hearing not only your story but how you actually built the company on transparency and authenticity. So, thank you so much for carving out so much time of your day to be with us today.

Chris Boyd:
It is my extreme pleasure. Thanks so much for letting me ramble on about all the things that I love. Super grateful.

Fabian Geyrhalter:
Oh, it was a great pleasure.


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