Mike Barbour speaks about GoodStuff, the brand of coconut water he founded, during a presentation at Glasgow Square on Thursday afternoon.
©AMANDA JESS/THE NEWS
Mike Barbour considers himself to be good at one thing: hard work. The GoodStuff founder from New Glasgow spoke to a small crowd at Glasgow Square on Thursday afternoon about his success (and failures) so far and what’s next for the brand.
“Doing the work is the most valuable asset as an entrepreneur,” said the former Weeks Jr. A Crusher player.
Rather than selling the product, coconut water, to people, he said, the company convinces people to buy it by engaging with them, whether through social media or in person.
One of the ways he originally marketed the product is by giving it away to people in Sobeys stores across Atlantic Canada in 2014.
“That experience alone was more important to those people than seeing us on an ad or seeing us in a magazine or seeing us on TV. I felt that, at the time, that one-on-one customer relationship was extremely important.”
He suggests building relationships and being able to share his story as one individual from a small town building a brand from the ground up makes people want to contribute to it “because it’s real people….”
He called out a failure of his, noting a product concept the company sold to retailers before it was developed that he ended up not being happy with when it was finished. He opted not to fill orders that had already been taken, hurting relationships with retailers and manufacturers.
“It taught me that I need to own my losses. As a business owner, if you can’t go out and say this is the best product on the market and you can’t say this is something you believe in, you shouldn’t sell it. If you make something that is less than your best effort, you’re going to fail. Because, for one, you’re not going to believe in it. For two, no one is going to buy it because you don’t believe in it and that’s going to be transparent.”
While Barbour said 2015 was a bad year for the brand, the company has evolved since then.
In June 2016, he reached an agreement to sell a large portion of his company to a Toronto-based investor and launch with Loblaw’s across Canada.
They’ve also developed two sports nutrition products, one for pre-workout and one for everyday use. They are launching Christmas day and he believes they will take the business to a new level.
His newest venture is a sports nutrition company for extreme outdoorsmen and thrill seekers called Xtreme Outdoorsman, which will operate as an e-commerce business and launch in January.