Pop & Bottle was founded by two coffee-loving friends, Blair Hardy, and Jash Mehta. After moving to the west coast both ladies fell in love with its clean, plant-centric, farm-to-table food culture, but were frustrated by a lack of clean, plant-based options in the coffee space. Hardy and Mehta then set out to develop Pop & Bottle: a line of organic lattes without dairy, refined sugar or any junky extras. Although they did not set out to create a female-focused coffee brand, they soon found their products were speaking to the female demographic. Since women statistically prefer lattes and would also rather pay for caffeinated drinks over men it is no surprise Pop & Bottle has gained a loyal female following.
Investor, Anjula Ancharia, invested in the company after she saw how real and sustainable Pop & Bottle was when they were still a local brand. Today you can find Pop & Bottle at Whole Foods, Target, Amazon, and popandbottle.com. Hardy and Mehta give insight on how Pop & Bottle has evolved into a female-focused coffee brand.
Yola Robert: Coffee has been consumed for thousands of years. Why did the industry take so long to make a product with women in mind?
Blair Hardy and Jash Mehta: Coffee has historically been a male-dominated space from the supply chain to the roasters, to the manufacturers and the brands. However, women are significant consumers of coffee and with more women making their mark in the coffee industry, we’re finally seeing this reflected in the way products are being developed and branded.
Robert: Where did the idea of Pop & Bottle originate from?
Hardy and Mehta: Pop & Bottle was founded out of our desire to have a convenient, plant-based latte that was healthful and delicious. As busy women and new parents, we valued convenience but didn’t want to compromise on taste or health. Everything on the shelf contained added sugars, dairy, additives and there weren’t a lot of organic options. Given the frequency with which we consume coffee, it felt important to us to have an option that was good for you. We created products that were not just plant-based and pure, but also made with amazing superfood ingredients like almonds, dates, organic coffee, cacao, matcha, and pink Himalayan salt.
Robert: What have you learned from your target market on what they look for in consumer coffee goods?
Hardy and Mehta: Millennials are reshaping coffee for the better. The rise of responsible sourcing, optimal brewing methods (like cold brew) and ingredient quality have meant that it is now possible to have really great coffee on-the-go. Our millennial female customer values product integrity more than any other generation before her. By aligning ourselves with her priorities, we are developing products with these principles front-of-mind. As a female-centric brand, we focus not just on the product, but the ritualistic experience of coffee. Our packaging, our flavors and the ethos of our brand, are centered around creating a delightful and craveable daily coffee experience.
Robert: How can founders of any product or service tailor their offering to benefit women?
Hardy and Mehta: It’s critically important to understand from the customer, how they interact with a product or service. Getting feedback and being open and nimble is essential in order to make sure a product is best serving the target consumer. That’s especially true for coffee, where everyone has their own unique spin on how they enjoy it. We’ve learned that women are especially receptive to brands that listen, engage and operate with transparency. In a world of so much choice, knowing your values as a brand is also an important component of engaging the female consumer.
Robert: Female venture capitalists, such as Anjula Acharia, have invested in the company early on. How has that aided in growing the mission and vision of Pop & Bottle?
Hardy and Mehta: Our product and company culture is women-centric, and that extends not just to our team, but to the wider ecosystem of people who have supported us, including investors and advisors. Our female investors are able to relate to our target customer in a real way. This naturally leads to better alignment in how we think about key business decisions together.