In honour of World Environment Day, we had the chance to talk with co-founder and CEO of gldn hour align of collagen infused sparkling water that Julia Clauser and her co-founder Jessica Dumont Nadeau launched in 2020. From minimal packaging to eco-safe ingredients, respecting the planet and all the resources it provides us without sacrificing your beauty routine is the best way to feel your best while being your best. We learned all about the inspiration, production, planning and marketing of gldn hour with Julia, in our interview below.
For people who don’t know, tell us what you do?
I am the co-Founder and CEO of gldn hour, a line of collagen-infused sparkling waters that my co-founder Jessica Dumont Nadeau and I launched in 2020. A can of gldn hour contains a daily dose of marine collagen, no sugar and is natural flavoured to make drinking your beauty routine convenient and tasty. At gldn hour, I am responsible for the company’s finance, marketing and sales in the independent channel. On the financial side, I manage all of the accounting, capital development, financial planning and investor relations/partnerships. I also head up all marketing initiatives, from digital, PR, to influencer collaborations and events – it is something I absolutely love doing and it brings a lot of colour to my role. Lastly, I manage the sales of all strategic beauty partnerships and national distribution in the natural/specialty channel. It may be hard to believe that gldn hour is still just a 2-person team.
It is! That is super impressive. What made you want to do what you do?
For anyone who knows me, they would agree that entrepreneurship runs in my veins. My family is a unit of entrepreneurs and I grew up celebrating the highest highs and suffering through the lowest lows. Since my very early 20s, I have started 4 companies – a couple of them failed as quickly as they started, but the remaining are still up and running. I realized not so long ago that what I love most about starting a company is the building stage. I love creating something from nothing. I am also not afraid to fail. My experience as a natural broker in the industry provided close insight into market trends and over time, I naturally developed a good eye for innovation. The confidence I have developed in my industry, with my experience coupled with my passion for natural foods and beauty, helped develop gldn hour into what it is today and successfully bring it to market. I also cannot express enough how much my business partnership with Jessica and friendship in life has and continues to have a huge impact on keeping us going.
You’re so young, successful, and ambitious — where did you get your drive from?
I grew up watching my mom go to work in a suit, in a male dominated industry during a time when most moms I knew stayed home. I always really respected her work ethic and the challenging environment she faced daily. However, she worked to live and deep down I knew she didn’t love what she was doing, taking its toll over time. This must have left its mark on me in some way.
Since I can remember, I had big dreams of not only running a successful business but one that I loved. Working in the corporate world at such a young age helped me realize very early into my career what I didn’t want. Having the opportunity to choose a path based on what made me happy was a privilege that I cherished. This is what drove me, the opportunity to ultimately be in the driver seat of my own happiness.
What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the industry you’re in?
The average person knows a lot more about the CPG and food industry than they might realize because they are the end users of the products themselves! Our industry is a very big machine with many different avenues you could enter. Retail, distribution, sales, product, logistics and the list goes on. I would say spend time understanding how the industry works, what avenue is most appealing to you, identify the major players and get a bit of experience before diving in fully invested.
What is your mission in your career?
My mission is to build a brand that brings a bigger presence of ingestible beauty into the culture of self-care. I want to create a brand that supports confidence, confidence in yourself and your own perception of what is beautiful. A culture that also nourishes beauty from a wellness perspective. Beauty from the inside out.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? What advice do you give to your “mentees”?
The best advice I have ever received is to stay focused on the task, or company at hand. It is very easy to sway of course with a new idea, especially for “big idea” thinkers like me and waste time. The only way things get done is by focusing solely on what you are building and having the patience to see it come to fruition.
What, if any adversities did you have to conquer, and what do you attribute your success to?
If I had to list the adversities that I have had to conquer, I would need a few extra pieces of paper but I can definitely share a few that quickly come to mind that we have recently had to conquer.
Being a small fish in a big pond as a purchaser of ingredients. We designed our formulation with big ingredient and packaging suppliers which has its many benefits and can support us when we need to scale. The challenge is when demand is high, we are pushed to the bottom of every list. Due to our size and purchasing volumes, we are short, often fighting for our orders and having to cope with unavoidable delays and excuses. This causes more stress than you can imagine. We are still working on overcoming these types of challenges by building our relationships, staying very close to our projections and providing our POs very early in advance – diligently following up to make sure our orders are not falling through the cracks.
Another challenge that has been making big waves in our plan is making enough products and keeping up with demand. Trying to forecast what demand will be is almost impossible for any new brand that is less than a year old. It can be seen as a very good problem to have to be selling out and going into our 5th production in less than a year, but the unforeseen downsides are loss sales and empty shelves. We are adapting by taking bigger risks, investing more, doubling production runs and working on finding plan Bs in case we outgrow the strategy..
Conquering adversity feels more like solving a problem than achieving success. However, I think this question puts it wonderfully into perspective that we should celebrate the small wins more and be proud of our ability to overcome our adversities.
Tell us a secret about your job.
Jessica and I take turns answering customer emails and sign off as customer service representatives [laughs].
Anything exciting coming up?
We are launching two new delicious and fun flavours this fall! Product development is one aspect of our brand that we love spending time on. We love the process of testing various flavour combinations and strategically designing a combo for our customers!
How can we get connected? Where can we learn more about you / connect with you / your social channels?