March 2, 2021

Hugh Thomas (Ugly) - The Opportunity He Saw With Sparkling Water, Why He Started OmniChannel, and Approach to Overseas Expansion

Hugh Thomas (Ugly) - The Opportunity He Saw With Sparkling Water, Why He Started OmniChannel, and Approach to Overseas Expansion

Our guest today is Hugh Thomas, founder of Ugly. Ugly is the refreshingly honest sparkling water in a can. No sugar, no calories, no sodium, no sweetners. We discuss his background and how working at Vita Coco impacted him to found Ugly, why he went retail on day one, and his expansion strategy and why being in two markets is like running two different companies.


You can follow Hugh at @uglyhugh on Twitter.


A couple books that inspired Hugh are:

The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday

Give and Take by Adam Grant


Some of the questions I asked Hugh:

  1. What was your initial attraction to the food and beverage industry?
  2. Talk to me about the early days and some of your learnings scaling Vita Coco?
  3. What was the inspiration that led you to founding Ugly?
  4. How did you approach ingredients and then your supply chain?
  5. How did you think about brand in the early days?
  6. Why did you decide to launch omnichannel off the bat?
  7. What were some of the hurdles in the early days?
  8. What was your strategy for growth in the U.K?
  9. Why did you decide to expand so quickly into the U.S.?
  10. We talk on this show about when it comes to ecommerce, getting past the noise. There's so many brands out there since it's easier then ever to start a brand. How do you think about differentiation?
  11. Why did you decide to fundraise and what was your fundraising strategy?
  12. How did you manage to pivot or change your strategy during COVID?
  13. What's one thing you would change about the fundraising process?
  14. What's the best piece of advice that you've ever received?
  15. What's one piece of advice that you have to founders?