What’s the inspiration behind Töst?
TÖST was created so that everyone can celebrate their moments inclusively. That’s not just a marketing line—that’s our ethos.
The idea was simple: there weren’t any sophisticated beverage options for those that didn’t want to drink alcohol. Typically, a soda or sparkling water with lime were the options for non-drinkers. We wanted to create something that was equally as special as a glass of champagne or a cocktail—something that made a guest feel welcomed and appreciated. Having a glass of something special is meaningful.
The name itself takes its inspiration from “Toast”, the universal sign of hospitality. That’s where it all began, bringing everyone together to feel a part of the moment.
This is not your first time founding a company—what do you think is the most important skill founders need to succeed?
Perseverance. The flexibility, willingness, and ability to adapt quickly. It can be a long and challenging road, and it’s critical to stick with your core beliefs while being able to pivot when necessary.
How did you meet your co-founder? How do you work together?
Mark and I went to college together. We've kept in touch over the years and even worked on a few marketing-related projects together. Timing aligned to get him on board. We collaborate daily, despite being on opposite sides of the US.
How do you handle risk and competition?
Assessing risk is a part of running any enterprise. We try to see what’s coming down the road so we’re prepared.
We love competition. Especially in the non-alcoholic space, more competition means there is market demand. We believe that in a new segment like the non-alcoholic space, we all rise together.
It’s our responsibility as business managers to build the best business and products, so we can rise to the top and be a leader, not a lagger.
What’s been the #1 (or two) top challenge(s) you’ve faced while launching your company?
The biggest challenge for every new business is being heard. Getting a story and product out there in a very noisy and dynamic market is a challenge. We’ve been fortunate enough to have amazing customers that champion our products, allowing for a great deal of organic growth and word-of-mouth marketing. We’re now seeing the fruits of those efforts with a multiplier effect on awareness and revenues!
Have you learned anything new or surprising about yourself through this process?
We all are constantly growing and learning. When launching a new business, that process can be on hyperdrive. I’m excited to continue to learn and adapt to the ever-changing market while meeting a lot of great people and partners along the way.
Why did you decide to raise from the crowd via Republic?
TÖST has always been about the “everyone”. We thought: what better way to raise the funds needed to drive our next stage of growth than to reach out to the community that got us here. Republic is a great platform. We’re excited to provide the opportunity for our existing customers to own a part of TÖST, while opening that same offer to new potential customers and investors we meet via the platform. We’ve always believed in equity ownership in businesses, and crowdfunding is a wonderful extension of that principle.
What’s your team culture like?
Our team is aligned with our “everyone” mission. We believe our customers, partners, vendors, and team should all be treated with the same high level of respect and quality of engagement. We believe in empowering each to be their best selves, and we believe that resonates in their performance. We are truly fortunate to have a great team and partner/vendor network of not only great providers, but really good people as well. That matters.
What is your superpower?
I’m not quite sure it’s the superpower I would have wished for when I was a child, but multitasking is probably the superpower that has mattered most during this journey!
What’s your kryptonite?
Hours in a day. There is never enough time to do all the things I want to do, both professionally and personally.
Do you have any unusual routines or habits?
To be honest I’m a big believer that variety is the spice of life. Outside of little morning rituals and trying to carve out time for physical activities, I like mixing it up!
Do you have any other hobbies/things you like to do in your spare time?
When it’s not TÖST time I enjoy hiking, coaching/spectating my children’s sports, working outdoors, puzzles, and cooking various cuisines.
Are there any apps or gadgets that you can’t live without?
Honestly, I love crossword puzzles and sudoku. Occasionally a phone without battery is a nice reprieve.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice 5 years ago, what would it be?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
What you think you are saying and how people hear it are not always the same. If you can get your message across and communicate effectively, you’ll be successful in your endeavors.
Do you have any mentors? If so, what have they taught you?
There are so many people I’ve learned from and continue to be inspired by. They've taught me patience, perseverance, hard work, focus, and the importance of communication. My father taught us to be honest and fair and treat all people with dignity and respect. That, I am most fortunate to have learned.