We're excited to connect you with Craftmix, one of our favorite bonus items we sell at SwagUp. We saw down with Jake Tannenbaum, the founder of Craftmix to chat about the origins of these magical cocktail mixers, how he made a product that drives company culture, and where he's taking the business next.
Tell us about your background and perhaps your journey to being a founder.
I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I started my first business in 8th grade, where I built a platform that allowed people to trade streetwear items. In college, I majored in Entrepreneurship, and after graduating, I bounced around jobs before landing on Craftmix.
It's been a whirlwind since day one. I initially wanted to fundraise for it but ran into issues with investors promising money, only to back out later, leaving me high and dry. So, in the early stages, I worked on Craftmix by day, and bartended by night.
Eventually, I fundraised in mid-2020, and we officially launched the brand in December of that year.
How'd you come up with the idea for Craftmix? Mixers are part of a huge market, and there's a lot of noise, but you have a clear POV. Tell us about that.
Craftmix is one of those products we've all had experience with when we DON'T have it.
One time, I was on a plane traveling, and the touchscreen menu showed a list of beers, wines, and "cocktails." But, when I pressed the cocktails button, it said, "no entries available," which made me realize that people drink cocktails in different settings but rarely have the right ingredients while flying. Aside from that, my friends always asked me to make drinks but needed the right ingredients around.
And that's when I knew there had to be an better way.
Mixers are also a huge market, but also an old-fashioned (ha!) one too. Visit your local grocer or liquor store, and you'll see many options have artificial ingredients and lots of sugar. I made Craftmix to innovate in a space where there traditionally hasn't been any change. We make cocktail mixers that are clean and convenient for everyone.
Oh, and they taste great too.
Seems like you hit the right timing with Craftmix by launching in 2020. What's it been like and how have you grown?
Absolutely! Our products have gotten popular in the gifting space, and we've provided our products for corporate happy hours with companies like Starbucks, Amazon, Calendly, ADP, Cisco, and many others. We work with gift box companies and gift distributors.
We also live on many other DTC gifting platforms and sell well on those platforms. Ultimately, we're thankful for our fantastic gifting partners (including SwagUp), who have helped us create memorable experiences with their employees.
The beauty of our product is that it's a perfect size and versatile.
So, whether you're hosting a virtual happy hour, flying on a plane, backpacking through the woods, tailgating at a football game, dancing at a music festival, or having a party with your friends, we've got you covered. Craftmix slots perfectly into each of those settings!
Seems like there's also been a shift away from alcohol, and people are getting "sober curious." How has that played into your business plans and how you market Craftmix to those consumers?
Yes! Another great thing about our products is that you can also use them to make tasty mocktails. We have many people who do that when they aren't drinking at a party but still want to feel part of the experience.
At the end of the day, we're not simply a powdered cocktail company but a beverage brand.
What's next for the business?
So much, where to begin?! We just raised a seed round of $1.2M, and now we're hiring to keep up with our growth. We recently brought on a salesperson, a broker, a marketing director, and an intern.
We launched retail six months ago, and that's become a massive vertical for us. We're growing fast, already in 1,300 shops since launching. More to come there.
We have many product innovations in the pipeline. I'm excited about these: non-alcoholic flavors, anti-hangover flavors, liquid mixers, ready-to-drink beverages, and more staple cocktail mixers!
We know we have a great product, so we're going to focus a lot on cultivating that foundation before expanding too much.