You and your co-founder Matt came up with the idea back in college. However, it doesn’t seem like you both have a background in this industry. How did you guys start?
In college we saw first hand the problem of young people needing something to help keep that work/social life balance, and had the idea for Ficks to help make this easier. It wasn’t until we were young professionals balancing networking events with busy new careers that it really clicked that a product like Ficks needed to become a reality. While we didn’t have much of a background in the industry, we made sure to reach out to industry vets to help get us up to speed rapidly. Everybody we reached out to shared our passion for creating this brand new category in the beverage industry, and the development of Ficks began with the awesome team of partners we still have today.
You mentioned that you guys sought out professional partners in the Bay Area. Did you cold call these prospects or were they relationships you already had?
Total cold calls! We knew that with such a revolutionary concept, we needed – A) A strong marketing team to help convey what the product is and A rockstar formulation team to make sure the product was effective and tasted great. I called Scott Gardner, the CEO of Liquid Agency, from my house off campus my senior year. One week later we were meeting with what is now the largest advertising agency in Silicon Valley. Fast forward three years, and today Liquid has helped develop an amazing brand while Scott has served as an irreplaceable mentor to our young team. We cold called our formulation company the same way because they’d done some pretty innovative work with other food and beverage companies, and we knew they’d be up for the challenge of disrupting the beverage industry with us. Two of the best calls we’ve made in our lives!
Why is the product called “Ficks”?
We thought Ficks was a cool play on the word fix, which is really what this product is. It’s a fix to making drinking healthier, while also helping fix one of the problems young professionals like us know all too well after a long night out.
Could I literally drink until I black out and still not get as bad of a hangover if I use Ficks?
Ficks doesn’t change the fact that you still need to drink responsibly. Ficks doesn’t solve the many problems that can be caused from alcohol while you’re drinking, but it’ll help you the next morning. If you’re going to grab a drink with some friends, Ficks will make sure you’re good to go the next day.
Have you guys done any crazy experiments to test out the effectiveness of your product?
Oh yeah. Once our friends found out we were developing Ficks, they wouldn’t stop bugging us to let them do a little “research” on the weekends. Anytime we get a big group together, there are always bottles of Ficks flying around. We’ve had some pretty wild nights where the effectiveness was tested to the brink, and we’re proud to say everybody comes out unscathed and very relieved.
Why are you guys in San Francisco? Wouldn’t places like Los Angeles and Las Vegas be better to promote your product due to the influential party scenes there?
Don’t get us wrong, LA and Vegas are definitely near the top of our list of where we want to see Ficks. Those cities know how to have some serious fun, and will be seeing Ficks around their bars, restaurants, stores and hotels soon.
Aside from being centrally located to all of our production partners in the Bay Area, we just love the energy in San Francisco right now. There are so many people here with cool and innovative ideas that are going to change the world, and we thrive on being surrounded by that. We’re working 24/7 to get Ficks into every city, but San Francisco will always be home for us. The hills keep us in good shape too.
What has the feedback been like for those that have tested your product?
The feedback on Ficks has been overwhelmingly positive from everybody that’s tested the product, which is extremely humbling for us. We’ve worked so hard with Venus Research and Development over the past few years to make these cocktail fortifiers as effective as possible while not messing with the taste of peoples’ cocktails. We’re really excited to finally get our first production run going so we can get Ficks to as many people as possible, and hopefully keep hearing more great stories about how Ficks is helping everyone that’s helped us.
Where do you hope to take Ficks in the next couple years?
We have very ambitious plans for Ficks, and cocktail fortifiers in general. We’ve created an entirely new category in our industry, and the sky’s the limit right now. We’re currently working to get Ficks into every store, and anywhere in the world where cocktails are served. However, we’re always thinking about what comes next, and have some equally innovative products already under development. We’re just going to keep growing and creating so Ficks will continue being a company that our customers are proud of.
Lastly give us some words of wisdom or advice for all aspiring young entrepreneurs out there.
If you’ve got an idea, and the commitment to make that idea a reality, there’s nothing to stop you from doing just that. The passion for this industry-changing idea is what’s kept us charging forward with Ficks at times when it would have been way easier to just pack up, go home and say we tried. Be realistic about your venture, but don’t let that stop your drive and imagination because those are what will make it a success.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to people for advice. People want to help you succeed if they can.