THE BOOZE BUSINESS
A little over a year ago I wrote about the launch of this interesting new product and Kevin Mowers, the person behind it. I caught up with Kevin recently and asked him how it was going and what his experiences were as a startup brand.
What I did not mention in the original story is that the Bom Bom team consists of Kevin and his wife Eva Maria. Both bring different skills to the brand and, it turns out, that she played a crucial role in the brand’s development, as you will see. So, this interview was with both of them...
BB: How is it going? What were the highlights of 2016?
Kevin: Great – keeping busy! We launched mid-year in CT and then branched out into MA, DC and NY (Westchester County and Long Island). Our distributors did a great job getting BOM BOM into retailers while we were focused on getting BOM BOM into consumer’s hands. We did this through a lot of in-store and in-bar sampling promotions as well as showing the product at larger tasting and charity events. One of the most important things for us was to make sure we keep having fun and celebrating every victory and every milestone, however small.
BB: What are the biggest obstacles or challenges you face? What have you done about them?
Eva Maria: The biggest challenge for us, like for any new brand, has been awareness. Since we are not national, the typical PR and marketing playbooks were not relevant for us, as we needed a more market-by-market, grassroots approach. We have pushed ourselves to really think outside the box, leave our corporate models behind, and leverage local PR, especially bartender contests, magazine profiles and social media. There is still much, much more to do. As we grow into more markets, we’ll be able to expand our PR outreach accordingly and that’s a top priority for 2017.
BB: Many new product entrepreneurs have told me that the single most important element in developing their brands has been in-store tastings, as you’ve just mentioned. I’m not surprised that this would be particularly true for Bom Bom.
Kevin: Indeed. We love doing in-store tastings as it allows us to engage with consumers. For us it has been just as much about getting feedback (and new drink recipes!) from consumers as sharing the BOM BOM story. BOM BOM Coco Mochanut recently received 94 points by the International Review of Spirits, which means it is the highest in its category. As such, we love seeing the excited look on people’s faces after they’ve tried it, especially when they themselves start selling it to complete strangers in the stores for us!
BB: I’ve known you for a few years and watched the development and launch. But I never wrote about how Bom Bom came about in the first place. What’s the brand’s back-story?
Eva Maria: Like a lot of today’s modern romances we were introduced by a common friend — Tracy — Who to this day takes credit for our awesome relationship and by association, BOM BOM.
Kevin had spent the better part of his career designing great tasting products for the industry’s top players and so of course tried to impress me with his extensive knowledge of luxury spirits. But it wasn’t really doing it for me as I was never really into alcohol…. this was both a disappointment and a challenge to Kevin… and good thing for me (and our BOM BOM fans) that Kevin happens to love a good challenge.
After a few dates, Kevin changed his game and mixed up something special just for me, made with my favorite flavors — coffee, coconut and of course CHOCOLATE! And BOM BOM was born!
I loved it so much that I started asking him to make it for friends and with time it was a standing order from friends and friends of friends…. We were making it all of the time and decided to go for it and formed the company “BOM BOM Brands” to share our fun with the world!
BOM BOM is all about the right mix of flavors, having fun and being authentic. Our business partnership really is the same idea…. we have very different skill sets and so together we’re able to accomplish what neither of us would be able to do on our own.
And, to make the deal even sweeter, Kevin’s wooing is still going strong after three wonderful years of marriage….
BB: What does the future hold for the brand – line extensions, geographic expansion, etc. What do you think will be coming down the road?
Kevin: BOM BOM is all about having fun and being authentic. As all small companies, we are excited to bring this fun to additional markets but also cautious not to dilute our efforts and grow too fast. From a new product perspective, we have a few new innovations in the mix. As with Coco Mochanut, all of our new products will be great tasting and in fun, fashion-forward packaging.