Hint Water Keeps Business Flowing During Crisis, Ponders Future

Posted by Barney Beal, Content Director

One of the first thing Kara Goldin, the founder and CEO of Hint Water, learned when the coronavirus hit was just how difficult it is keeping water products on the shelves of retail stores.

“I started to see a lot of out of stocks and people were starting to really stock up on essentials not just the toilet paper and the soaps, but also water,” said Goldin.

Hint, a maker of unsweetened, fruit-flavored waters has for the past 15 years built a rapidly-growing business, and throughout that time Goldin herself has gone into stores to check stock. As the coronavirus hit, she found herself going into the back room, pulling cases and stocking shelves herself. It wasn’t a one-time thing, either. “Auto-replenishing” that was supposed to be working at stores around the Bay area was not. And not just for Hint, Goldin found as she talked to fellow food and beverage manufacturers. So the company reached out to retailers, offering to fulfill orders directly instead of through distributors using the ecommerce side of the business.

“What I’ve seen is that the smaller scrappy companies like us that are able to actually do what we’re doing and really monitor it even to some extent manually are the ones that are winning,” Goldin told NetSuite’s Kendall Fisher in a recent Zoom interview.

Hint was able to adapt, moving employees from its business supplying offices with water and its campus teams to help with monitoring stock levels and providing donations to first responders. It was also able to engage with distributors in areas like fashion, which was suddenly slowing down to help ship its water.

Already Goldin is considering how to come out of the current situation and continue to thrive.

“I think actually making sure that people have the tools to be able to do their business no matter where they are is so critically important,” she said. “I always talk about how NetSuite has really allowed us to do that. To be able to just sign in and sort of know what’s going on from an inventory perspective—that just allows us to just be better at our business.”

Watch the video below for more details on how Hint is encouraging customers to order directly at www.drinkhint.com, what the fallout from coronavirus will mean for distribution and Hint’s expansion and working with large retailers.


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