Calling herself an “accidental entrepreneur,” Kara Goldin shared the story of founding her Hint beverage line during a talk with a Yale School of Management audience on December 14.
“I had to learn by asking a lot of questions,” Goldin told a virtual audience. Goldin spoke as part of Yale SOM’s Colloquium on Entrepreneurship. Barry J. Nalebuff, Milton Steinbach Professor of Management, moderated the discussion.
The founder and CEO of Hint, Goldin is also author of the new book Undaunted. Overcoming Doubts and Doubters, in which she shares her entrepreneurial journey, chronicling her own fears and doubts, how she overcame them, and the challenges she encountered building her business.
With no experience in the beverage industry, Golden leveraged her love of unsweetened flavored water to pioneer a new category of beverage, one that emphasized healthy hydration over empty calories and artificial sweeteners.
“We’re on a health mindset from day one, and we still are,” Goldin said. But to succeed, Goldin had to learn to believe in herself, her own resourcefulness, and her willingness to learn, she said.
As her business scaled, Goldin sought guidance from executives at major beverage companies, who suggested adding sweetener to her beverages in order to give them broader market appeal—advice she resisted.
“Large companies aren’t great at innovating,” she said. “They’re good at continuing what they do.”
Goldin’s encouraged entrepreneurs who want to introduce a new category into an established market—just as she did with Hint. But, she warned, when you introduce a new twist on a product, “consumers will need a lot of education as to why they need it.”
There is great satisfaction in improving the marketplace, especially when it comes to offering consumers healthier alternatives, Goldin said, telling prospective entrepreneurs, “You may be the one who’s been gifted with this problem to go and solve.”
About the Event
Join us for the Colloquium on Entrepreneurship with Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint and author of Undaunted. Overcoming Doubts and Doubters. With zero experience in the beverage industry and using her own health transformation as a motivator for change, Goldin turned her love for unsweetened flavored water into one of the most successful businesses of our time and pioneered a whole new category of beverage. In Undaunted, she shares real stories about her own fears and doubts, the challenges she encountered, and what she did to overcome them to eventually build a great business and a life she loves. Her secret? Be undaunted. Deal with your fears. Move forward despite uncertainty. Turn criticism into motivation, and go for it.
Moderator: Barry J. Nalebuff, Milton Steinbach Professor of Management at Yale SOM
The Colloquium on Entrepreneurship connects founders, innovators, and entrepreneurs with students and faculty for candid discussions on innovation, iteration, and team building, and provides frank advice for Yale students considering launching their own ventures. The series takes a close look at the unique issues facing entrepreneurs and allows students to cultivate strong relationships for future partnerships.