Ryan Laverty and Sal Campisi are two young entrepreneurs out of New York who are taking on some of the biggest and most competitive products in the world… alcoholic beverages! Together they created VIDE, a 6x Distilled, Gluten-Free Vodka, lightly carbonated water with a hint of natural fruit flavor, which has gone viral across the marketplace.
Can you tell us a little about how VIDE started for you both?
Sal and I attended college together, and I think after people graduate, they kind of have this yearning to live healthier lifestyles. Sal and I definitely fell into this boat. We always thought about how conscious we were of the foods we were eating and the drinks we were consuming; but once we drank alcohol, that practice virtually came to an end. We realize many of the alcoholic beverages we were consuming didn’t abide by the lifestyles we were living. Products in the space often times lacked transparency, caloric information and ingredients. Some of the “seltzers” we were drinking, of which we thought there was vodka in them, had no real spirits in them at all. We set out to make a premium product that was transparent (you knew exactly what was inside), was high quality (used a real, premium vodka), and finally, something that marketed towards the ‘health aware’ consumer (VIDE has no sugar, no carbs, is 99 calories per can, and uses only gluten free ingredients). We made a product for people like us!
What type of market are you trying to go after?
What VIDE as a brand has done so well is marketing towards everyone. This isn’t a product for one type of consumer. It’s for everyone. Our customers range from 21 years olds, up to 65 year olds on a golf course. The product is for people who enjoy a lightly flavored product, and appreciate the fully transparent and simple ingredient set our products have.
Is there something about VIDE that you feel really sets you apart from other brands?
Convenience and transparency. We wanted to bring this idea of high quality products in a convenient offering to this market. The fact that you can take a VIDE anywhere, on-the-go and not have to think about ‘preparing’ your favorite cocktail is what’s so appealing about our products. Also, within the actual spirits based industry, there aren’t many requirements to include ingredients or caloric information on the products. We’re setting out to change that.
It stands for ‘Vodka I’d Definitely Enjoy’. We set out to create a name that was short and had a deeper meaning behind it. At the end of the day, VIDE as a brand embodies a semi-functional lifestyle, with products catered to people like us.
What were your biggest challenges in getting VIDE up and running?
We spent a lot, and I mean a lot of time formulating the product. We held numerous focus groups to nail down exactly the type of product we wanted to introduce. We knew we had one chance to get it right, so we spent a lot of time coming up with the perfect mixture. Aside from that, the liquor industry is super regulated. Getting the right permits and legal requirements was a tedious process for us.
What is your favorite part about running your own business? What is your routine on a daily basis?
Our favorite part about this endeavor is building something that we can truly call our own. No one else is going to do this for us, and if we want to be successful, that’s all on us. That’s what wakes me up in the morning. The best part about being an entrepreneur is your schedule changes not even on a daily basis, but an hourly basis. No two days are the same. We’re always on our feet ready to adjust our schedules on a moments notice. Our day to day is challenging. Now that we have a large presence in New York, we need to make sure we are visiting accounts, checking inventory, meeting with bar owners, investors, marketers- the list goes on.
We realize many of the alcoholic beverages we were consuming didn’t abide by the lifestyles we were living.
Where is VIDE currently available and what’s the next step for distribution?
Our current footprint expands to the NY metro market. That includes NYC, Brooklyn, Long Island and Westchester. We’re working hard to be in the right spots within this area. We have some really exciting distribution opportunities popping up over the next few months, so be sure to stay tuned!
What advice would you give other young entrepreneurs looking at starting their own company?
Make sure you really want it. Whatever you plan to do needs to be your number one priority. This business consumes every aspect of our lives. There is no room for slacking off. We’ve had to sacrifice a lot over these past few months, but all in an effort to make this into something really special. Be ready to make your venture your life.
What is your favorite meal to enjoy a VIDE beverage with?
Since the product is so light and refreshing, it pairs well with many meals. Of course, the obligatory barbecue, but I enjoy drinking VIDE with virtually anything!
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