It was in February 2006 when German Marketing-expert JÃ¼rgen Alker came back from the UK with a new business idea: smoothies.
A smoothie is a blended non-alcoholic beverage made from natural ingredients, usually fruits and juices but sometimes other natural flavors such as chocolate or even green tea. Smoothies and juice bars started becoming popular throughout the United States in the 90′s where Jamba Juice is the largest smoothie bar franchise, with 533 stores and sales reaching $345 million in 2005.
So what’s special about selling smoothies you say. Well first of all, there are no real smoothies on the German market yet and unlike following the usual and secret path of bringing a product to market he did a lot of things differently. Most importantly he created a blog and let everybody to participate in developing his vision: Hello! Drinks.
JÃ¼rgen Alker says:
After working all the years in the communication and marketing business and a lot of brand builing experience I want to start my own brand. I have had dozens of business ideas in the last years. Now I have chosen one that I want to implement. I needed something simple, something that does not require hundred thousands to start.
I always liked fresh juice and asked myself why there is only all this crap in german stores. In February I visited London and was amazed by a smoothie brand. This was what was missing: the final “hint” for me to start something.
Interactive steps to create the smoothie product
- Choose a brand name (Yumm, Pi, Sun, YeahBuddy, Mother were a couple of the options). An idea I liked was “What you see is what you drink” (Short: “WYSIWYD”. long, but says perfectly what the product is about)
- Develop a brand design (Contest where everybody could send in designs and other people would vote for them)
- Choosing the bottle (Checking out various shapes, sizes and producers of bottles)
- Social research (How people react to certain colors, names and tastes)
- Finding appropriate packaging to distribute the drinks in Germany, then Europe
Hard to find a standard PET bottle. There are a lot of manufactureres out there who can produce PET bottles. But there is always the need to build a special form. And that is really expensive. Just for the form you need to afford 12.000,- to 40.000,- Euro. But I found 2 good looking bottles. Which one is your favorite?
Final label design for the product
As I understood from the website he and his wife will produce the drinks on-demand in their kitchen, then send them off in a cooled packaging with DHL.
Today I bought a lot of fruits to start working on some recipes. It is really fun to do something with your hands, not just in front of your computer all day. And it tastes great! I will continue to do some more fine tuning the next days!
Sounds like the typical “out-of-the-garage” business, which big companies like Amazon.com and Apple have already started with. What’s left is finding distributors and shops willing to sell Hello! Drinks. While JÃ¼rgen Alker was developing the brand a couple of competitors popped up on the German market, and got already positive feedback. It will be interesting to see who will be on top at the end. I wish him all the luck he needs!