QULA | The world's first all-natural pre+probiotic powdered drink mix. Make your water kool-ah!

QULA | The world’s first all-natural pre+probiotic powdered drink mix. Make your water kool-ah!

QULA is a new-generation drink mix. Think Kool-Aid for the modern-day health-conscious consumer. 

QULA drinks are 100% natural and crafted with real fruit, a blend of pre and probiotics, apple cider vinegar, plant fibers, and antioxidants. With 6 flavors to choose from, QULA will energize early risers and night owls alike, while creating an environment for microbiome healing.

QULA drinks focus on hydration, are low in sugar, and support gut health. They also provide an on-the-go energy boost. QULA collaborated with science, health experts, and flavor experts to craft a probiotic drink with self-care at the heart. By selecting the tastiest fruits, QULA has created a natural plant-based functional drink that is gluten-free, and non-GMO with live probiotics.

Some of the carefully selected ingredients in QULA include:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Prebiotics
  • Fermented Tea
  • Real Fruit Powder

QULA drinks focus on the relation of hydration and gut health, as these two play a vital role in our physical and mental well-being. Furthermore, QULA speaks to environmental responsibilities by eliminating the need for single-use bottles. QULA is a fusion of care and support for health and the Earth.

QULA believes in reinventing the ritual of health. Self-care doesn’t have to lack vibrancy and color. Boost your health with a drink experience into one that combines science, a holistic lens, color, and taste to benefit your body and mental well-being from the inside out.

Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business

Serial entrepreneurship was written in the stars for New Zealand-based mother and successful business owner, Rebecca Cass.

Coming from a long line of entrepreneurs, she originally broke this trend in her family legacy by becoming a nurse, thus feeding her passion for health and wellbeing. She began her journey with business 15 years ago, innovating one of the world’s first direct-to-consumer food delivery platforms in her homeland, New Zealand. The company was called Baby Angel and began by focusing on delivering food packages and meal hampers to new parents. As the business grew, Baby Angel became Angel Delivery which has successfully grown to become a trusted heritage brand. Innovation and disruption to the food and beverage industry drove Cass on her business journey. Angel Delivery also propelled Cass to the United States, where she sought more innovation and further opportunities, combining her eye for disruption, health, and well-being, combined with a passion for environmental issues such as the proliferation of single-use bottles. She wanted to create a blend between the two.

Rebecca Cass and the three other founders gathered around a kitchen table in Los Angeles, brainstorming ideas for a bottle-free beverage line. The team found a powerful solution in pure, natural drink concentrates. The initial product ‘Kombucha Tabs’ led to them becoming finalists in the World Food and Beverage Awards in 2021. As a serial entrepreneur, Cass and her team continued to disrupt the beverage space, developing an even better product in 2022. A complete full spectrum gut health drink that included both pre and probiotics and uses real fruit for flavor vs natural fruit flavors.

Rebecca had a particular interest in food and the medicinal benefits of different food groups, stemming back to her nursing days. Coming from nursing, Cass was well-versed in traditional medicine, where science and data are at the forefront of pharmaceuticals. She wanted to create a product that provided a healthier alternative, a holistic lens. Many of us understand and accept that lots of processed foods feed our communities. The gut microbiome, a large percentage of which is pre-determined by our DNA, is not equipped to digest processed food with low nutritional value and high sugar contents. The gut microbiome plays a vital role in our physical well-being as well as our mental well-being, therefore, it is important we nourish it. 

QULA is a product designed to support and enhance gut health. QULA creates an everyday approach to gut health with a drink concentrate people can easily introduce into their busy daily

schedules. As it doesn’t come in a bottle, QULA removes the need for a single-use bottle.

QULA pays homage to the health of people and the planet with an easy, portable, and on-the-go, drink activator. It opens a new category of drink mix beverages that takes a comprehensive and natural approach to health rather than the salty hydrations mixes or the sugary artificially flavored Kool-aide style mixes consumed by millions of people over the decades.

The challenges the business/market is facing

Like all businesses over the recent years, QULA has faced several challenges. The impacts of Covid-19 have been significant. We launched on the eve of the first lockdown in California with a brand that was destined for music festivals, outdoor gatherings, and events where large groups of people would meet. Our placement strategy in retail was meant to be in airports, corporate campuses, and college campuses. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, all these spaces were put on pause. Once we realized the impact Covid-19 would have on our deployment strategy, we pivoted to a direct-to-consumer model. We managed to onboard QULA with Amazon, built our QULA website, onboarded with Thrive Market and Poosh, and focused on promoting the business online.

As a team, we’ve all had to adapt to working remotely, and travel restrictions from 2020 – 2022 had a profound impact on the business as well. With New Zealand’s closed borders, Cass could not leave the country to reconvene with the team. 

Supply chain issues (another consequence of Covid), lead times impacting products, and costs of materials have increased. All of which have been a challenge to navigate.

Another challenge has been a volatile digital advertising marketplace. Customer acquisition costs have increased by 300% + and the landscape is unpredictable. With Facebook’s new technology, and phone provider companies changing, it has made it more challenging to introduce the brand to new customers. 

The opportunities the business/market is facing

In a post-Covid recovery world, and the face of an economic crisis, two things remain critical for human survival and our ability to thrive. Maintaining our everyday wellness, and proactively taking steps to slow down the environmental crisis that is hurtling toward us. These two issues will remain at the forefront of younger generations (such as millennials and generation Z) daily lives for the rest of their lives. Many large business corporations have a carbon emission

responsibility they need to meet. Businesses such as QULA must take proactive steps to ensure we leave as little environmental impact/footprint as possible. 

QULA is mission-driven to speak and adhere to its environmental responsibilities. Following Covid, people are more aware and attuned to their health and well-being. This has created a great opportunity for QULA to introduce new healthy practices into daily lives. QULA is a new way to support health through a holistic lens; a different approach to traditional medicine, which is rarely colorful and fun.

 There have been opportunities for a new category of product to emerge in the wellness drink space. QULA’s first SKU brings the natural benefits of many superfoods, with real fruit for a delicious flavor, combining it with apple cider vinegar, and pre and probiotics to create a low-sugar, on-the-go drink mix with no need for a single-use bottle. It brings in the best of functional concentrates focused on gut health and nourishing the microbiome. As gut health is crucial to the functioning of our immune system and mental well-being. A post-covid world where people care for their health has opened an opportunity for QULA to thrive and scale sustainably.

Advice to others about business

Business and entrepreneurship can completely change your life. But it’s not always an easy path. Learned lessons have turned into the advice we can give to others about the business. When you first begin your business, be realistic about how long it will take you to grow. Be kind to yourself and celebrate each win, as the saying goes, “7 years to an overnight success.”

When it comes to brand marketing, focus on figuring out and understanding the point where your product is invaluable to an individual’s day. Does it help them solve a problem? What is the moment that your product becomes priceless? Work hard to discover this, as it is your sweet spot and the marketing point you will emphasize.

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Kristina Shafarenko is a relationship and health and wellness psychologist and a part-time freelance lifestyle writer covering health and fitness, sex, sexual wellness, and relationships. When she's not writing, you can find her planning her next getaway, taste-testing every coffee spot in sight, and lounging at home with her cat, Buddy.

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