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Erin Edds, Co-Founder & President, Garden Party Botanical Hard Soda

The Startup Ladies would like to introduce you to the founder of the BEST drink you will taste in 2018...Garden Party Botanical Hard Soda.

Erin Edds has a entrepreneurial gift: an uncanny ability to recognize problems and solve gaps in the food & beverage industry and predict emerging trends before they break. In November 2015, she and her husband Stephen noticed that no one was applying the same craft approach to the “flavored malt beverage” (FMB) category that had been applied to beer, wine & spirits. Somebody was going to revolutionize the FMB category, so why shouldn’t it be them?

Erin and Stephen started working full time on launching Garden Party in December of 2015 and officially launched the brand the following November through Monarch Beverage in Central and Southern Indiana. The brand quickly received media recognition, with articles appearing in the Indiana Business Journal, Beverage Industry, and Inside Indiana Business, and their two flavors are now being distributed throughout Indiana.

More about Erin:

1. Tell us about your company!

Me and my husband, Stephen, launched Garden Party Botanical Hard Soda in November 2016. Garden Party is a line of ready to drink, sparkling adult beverages that are 100% all-natural, and come in at a generous 8% alcohol by volume. Our flagship flavors are Violet and Ruby. Violet is a crisp and refreshing lemon soda infused with lavender and blackberry, and Ruby is a spicy and tart ginger soda infused with pomegranate and hibiscus.

2. What question do you keep asking yourself as your company grows?

We are currently working on expansion outside of the state of Indiana, and the biggest thing I need to figure out is how to best support those new markets as we grow. Simply having a distribution system lined up is not enough. We need to sales, marketing and support in place to effectively make an impact in new territories.

3. Who or what has helped you along the way?

Oh my gosh, where do I start? We have so many incredible people and groups that we work with or have worked with that have made such a difference in our brand and how we conduct ourselves in business that it’s almost impossible to list.

I will keep it simple and say that Stephen and I have the most supportive families you can imagine. They are staunch advocates for the brand and help us keep our heads on straight in the face of adversity.

4. How have you become a better leader/entrepreneur? How did you get to this point?

The absolute single biggest thing I have learned to have more of in my entrepreneurial journey is PATIENCE! In everything, patience. Getting there was a very painful and long journey that made me learn to slow down, do things the first time the right way with the right people and the right team.

5. What is the hardest part about working in a husband-wife team? Best?

Most people would run the other direction than go into business with their partner in life. For us? It just works. And it works well! If I had to say something that is hard it would be that we are pretty much always “on the clock”. When your work spouse is your home spouse, there is little separation or work/life balance. Luckily we absolutely love what we do, so the fact that we spend our down time talking shop too works just fine.

The best part? I get to share this incredible journey with my best friend, biggest cheerleader and sometimes harshest critic. I’d have it no other way!

6. What does being a “woman founder” mean to you?

I only know about being a founder in the adult beverage space, and can only assume it comes with the same challenges as in other industries. We are called “mompreneurs”, “womanpreneurs”, and our gender is often what people lead with when talking about our business chops. Being a female founder is empowering, not “cute” or “sweet”, so how awesome to have the Startup Ladies to help break the stigma of female business owners!

7. How can our community help you grow?

I am certain this group is going to be instrumental in changing the stereotypes that exist in the venture capital and investment communities about not only reconsidering their opinions on women-owned businesses, but also the TYPES of businesses they look to invest in outside of tech, medical, and business-to-business services.

8. Where can we find/purchase Garden Botanical Hard Sodas?

We are currently available state-wide, and can be found at fine retailers such as Fresh Thyme, Kroger, Target, Whole Foods and Market District. Anyone with a beer/wine license can serve or sell Garden Party, and would just need to order through their Monarch Rep (Aalco, Rhoades, or Calument in Northern Indiana).

9. How have the Startup Ladies impacted you?

I found the Startup Ladies when I was between ventures, and was feeling out the idea of getting back into the game. The Startup Ladies gave me the support and connections early on to help me get my groove back! I am so happy to have found this community!

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