Jerome Tse (J) is the founder and CEO of Berri Organics, a southern california company creating all natural, organic electrolyte products. In today’s ‘How Did You Do It?’ We sat down with Jerome to learn how he was able to secure a Global Contract with Whole Foods. 

Interviewee: Jerome Tse (JT)

Interviewer: Stefani Rios (TCA)

TCA: What is Berri Organics?

JT: Berri Organics is a mission driven company that makes award winning organic electrolyte products. All our products are certified organic, plant based non GMO and we can be found in leading retailers from Whole Foods to CVS target and many more.

JT:  We have two main products. We have a Berri Fit organic fitness beverage, which has plant-based electrolytes that are equivalent to sports drinks. We also have our new and fast growing product line called Berri Lyte organic electrolyte solutions, which have two times  the electrolyte content as a traditional sports drink. So for people who are dehydrated This is the perfect type of product for you. Whether it’s after a workout on travel day, or even for your kids.

TCA: How did you initiate your relationship with whole foods?

JT: We did not know anyone in this industry so we went to Natural Products Expo West, which is arguably the biggest convention in the world for the natural foods industry. At that Convention I stumbled upon the local Whole Foods buyer for Southern California. I showed her my pitch deck and a picture of my mock products. She really saw a big opportunity because there was no one else doing what Berri Organics was doing in the organic sports drink set. She wanted to begin testing our products in three stores. So we began manufacturing and got enough products to begin testing.

TCA: How did your relationship with whole foods lead to a global contract?

JT: They really love when brands come in and give demos. I was there very often demoing, telling our story and really finding out what our customers wanted. Building that relationship first allowed us to prove ourselves as trustworthy and credible.  Once we were able to really prove ourselves in those three stores. We then got 10 stores and then they added another 10. And soon we got a whole region. And then after that we got three regions of Whole Foods a year later, and then now we just got the global approval. So I think it’s just really starting off and those initial three stores are really important for us to learn about what consumers want the most in our brand and who our consumers are and then really fine tuning our brand and building that brand off of that customer base.

TCA: Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs?

JT: There are 2 things; 

  1. You can never do enough testing. I think that no matter what stage your startup is in, testing is so important. Even throughout every life cycle of the company.
  2. The second piece of advice is always listening to your customer. I think that you will be surprised how your customer evolves and really being able to learn what products your customer would buy and building your brand around that customer can often determine the success of the brand.

TCA: How can TCA help you?

JT: I would say right now that we’ve gained this significant retail distribution, our primary focus is now shifting to how do we get brand awareness and how do we get the word out about our brand and our products and our benefits to families. So if there’s a network of people who can help us, people or companies who can help grow our brand awareness with families, athletes, or fitness enthusiasts in the influencer network, that’s something we’re very interested in. And beyond that, and I would say just connecting with other entrepreneurs, whether it’s in our space or not, sharing wins and learning has always been something I truly value.

The views, information, or opinions expressed during the interview series is solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Tech Coast Angels and its employees, consultants and interns. Tech Coast Angels is not responsible and does not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the podcast series available for listening on this site. The primary purpose of this interview series is to inform. This Interview series does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services.