We had the good fortune of connecting with Liz Seelye and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Liz, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Since becoming parents, we’ve been concerned about the decline in American kids’ creativity. Experts call it the “creativity crisis” as test-centric education and risk-averse corporate culture stifle imagination. We’ve seen both firsthand, especially in our careers at big companies. Without original thinking, we’re worried the next generation of kids won’t discover their passions or rise to the challenge of solving the world’s biggest problems.
We’re fans of the late, great Sir Ken Robinson who delivered the most-watched TED Talks of all time about how important creativity is. As we strive to make sure our kids stay imaginative, we’ve realized part of the problem is old thinking in what they drink and eat. More than half of American kids aren’t adequately hydrated and yet, the kids’ drink aisle and kids’ meal offerings look the same as they did 30 years ago – full of sugary juice boxes!
None of the top-selling kids’ drinks meet experts health recommendations. And yet, the American Journal of Public Health reports that one in two kids is underhydrated and all have lost immunity-building in covid-induced isolation. Studies show that when you’re hydrated and healthy, it improves concentration and imagination. So we set out to create one of the category’s first functional beverages. Star Water helps kids think – and drink – outside the box.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Erin and I have taken what we’ve learned building some of the biggest, most iconic companies and what we’ve discovered creating new-to-world startups to combine the best of both worlds with our own brand designed for the next generation.
A few lessons learned include: GO FAST, TELL EVERYONE and KEEP IT CREATIVE. We’re working parents, and we tried to quickly and efficiently create a minimum viable product to share with kids and parents for feedback and rapid iteration.
Every conversation about Starryside has led us to a new insight, a new relationship, or a new idea. We’re selling the world’s first Star Water online now and thanks to a lot of new friendships, we have some exciting collabs and promotions planned for our official launch. During World Creativity Week (April 15-21), a few lucky kids will enter a Star Water stand to start their own business, and their own inflatable water slide, just in time for the summer. It’ll be business in the front (yard), party in the back.
Most importantly, we keep it creative and keep our kids involved to make this startup adventure more fun. Our little ones have a hand in everything from designing the packaging and finalizing our tasty flavors to building their own Star Water stand (lemonade stands are so 1999!) and selecting songs for box-packing dance parties. We also always take the time to celebrate little successes, teamwork and the friendship that our families share.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Boulder is one of the healthiest, happiest cities with more than 300 days of sunshine so we’d spend plenty of time outside. We would hike, bike, trail run, sled and explore all the shops on Pearl Street downtown.
Boulder has also been called the the “Foodiest town in America” so we would spend time tasting. Favorites include Corrida for Spanish-style gin and tonics with mountain view; Pizzeria Locale for the most amazing maiz pizza and lambrusco; and Santo for some of the best margs and New Mexico-style shrimp or sweet potato tacos.
Boulder is also “America’s Startup Capital” so we love visiting places that remind us of brands beginning here, including the Celestial Seasonings tour and the gorgeous CU-Boulder campus with an Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Boulder is the heart of the natural and organic movement where food and beverage startups abound. We’d like to dedicate our shoutout to the fellow entrepreneurs who have been generous with their time and expert advice to propel us forward.
Our good friend, fellow parent and former Ben & Jerry’s flavor guru, Derek Spors, helped us craft our first flavors. With his help and kids’ feedback, we’re excited to offer Beachy Peachy Strawberry, Magical Mango Pineapple and Rockin’ Root Beer.
Fellow founders, including Justin Gold of Justin’s, Dean Eberhardt of Hoplark, and Matt Oscamou and John Simmons of Weller, have also been amazing to offer their input. Also key has been info from Startup CPG and Naturally Boulder.
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