Seven years ago, I interviewed Allison Evanow, CEO of Square One Organic Vodka . While writing an article for Green Talk, I couldn’t help but gush about Evanow’s level of environmental detail in producing and packaging her product. Despite the recession, Evanow expanded the Company’s product line to include three new vodkas: Square One Basil, Square One Cucumber, and Square One Botanical. Listen below to my video or podcast interview of Evanow as she explains what makes the product unique, how she remains competitive, lessons learned and her marketing strategy.
She is passionate about her mission but at the same time provides a behind the scenes look of running a green company. There is no sugar coated drinks being offered in this interview. Evanow served it up straight. Vodka style.
Listed below are some key takeaways:
- Quality of the product is paramount. Square One products are made from organic rye and are fermented rather than distilled numerous times. As Evanow explains, this method insures quality of the product at the beginning rather than distilling numerous times to improve taste. Due to how the vodka is processes, she believes her product is unique in taste and provides the “wow” factor to make a better cocktail.
- Don’t compromise. When building her business, she wasn’t willing to compromise on her environmental ethics or the integrity of the product. (For the laundry list of sustainable achievements, read here.)
- Figure out your initial target market. The Company’s strategy was to bring the culinary kitchen to the bar. There was a small base of bartenders that embraced this type of culinary approach to cocktails. The Company initially focused on selling to these bartenders, which helped to increase brand awareness of the product with the public.
- Think of how your customers can increase their enjoyment of your product. To increase customer appreciation and enjoyment, the Company provides culinary recipes on their website from Evanow and a professional mixologist.
- Timing is everything. She launched the product just at the right time when the concept of green started to take off.
- Stay competitive. They were first to market with all of their products. She advises be truly innovative, be ahead of the curve and be true to your business model.
- Find the silver lining in your business during the recession. Due to the economy she was able to secure a lower packaging cost option.
In addition to the key points above, you will learn the lessons she learned while building the Company, how she balances being a mother, wife and business owner, and how she is dealt with the struggles of distribution.
After listening to the interview before publishing the video, I realize how grateful I am to green CEOs like Evanow who refuse to compromise their standards and still made their business work. Because of them, the world is a much better place.
Join the Conversation:
- What takeaway did you learned from Evanow’s interview?
- Do you have any further questions for Evanow?
- Do you run a green business and if so, what challenges do you face?