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May 30, 2023

It's been three years since we last featured Poppi co-founders Allison and Stephen Ellsworth on Taste Radio, and to say that their brand has grown in that time would be a massive understatement.

Poppi, is by all accounts, following in the footsteps of generational brands that came before it, including vitaminwater, Bai and BodyArmor.

Launched as Mother Beverage in 2016 and reborn as Poppi in 2020, the gut-healthy drink company markets low-calorie and low-sugar sodas made with fruit, apple cider vinegar and prebiotics. Self-described as a digital-first brand, Poppi has built a thriving business on Amazon and is one of the most followed CPG accounts on TikTok, generating over ​​one billion page views since its debut on the social media platform.

Poppi is also sold in over 20,000 stores, including major retail chains like Target, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Publix and Walmart, with plans to expand into an additional 10,000 locations by the end of the year. According to the company, overall revenue rose by 148% in 2022, including a 250% increase in online sales. The remarkable surge helped Poppi to land a $25 million Series B round in December.

In this episode, the Ellsworths spoke about the reasons behind Poppi’s explosive growth and how the company is maintaining its torrid pace. As part of our conversation, they discussed their transition into new roles, Poppi’s remarkable trial conversion and repeat purchase rates, Amazon’s key role in marketing strategy and why video is king on social media. 

Show notes:

0:46: Interview: Allison and Stephen Ellsworth, Co-Founders, Poppi – Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with the Ellsworths about their move from Dallas to Austin, lessons since the launch of Mother Beverage, how a professionalization of Poppi’s organizational structure was challenging at first but ultimately valuable, and the decision to hire a CEO from outside the company. They also discussed the typical Poppi consumer, Allison’s emphasis on TikTok as a way to communicate with new and existing customers, why describing the products as “soda” has had a massive impact on how the brand is marketed and sold, and how advertising on digital platforms, including Amazon and Instacart, drive retail sales. Later, they explained how they attempt to create an emotional connection with consumers, why they don't emphasize “performance marketing” and best practices for creating entertaining video content for social media..

Brands in this episode: Poppi, vitaminwater, Bai, BodyArmor