#84 Voke Tab - Vitalizing Focus & Energy For Work, Play, & Everyday. Founder Kalen Caughey Sharing His Story

Voke Tab

Voke Tab
 

Losing steam fast but, don’t want to risk getting the jitters with coffee and other synthetic energy drinks?
 

Voke Tab is the answer for truly natural energy & focus that fits in your pocket

 

To find out more behind how Voke Tab got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Voke Tab founder, Kalen Caughey

 

More about the episode...
 

Josh sits down with Voke Tab founder Kalen Caughey. Kalen has always been an avid skier but, once he started competing he quickly got fed up with the coffee jitters and was disappointed with the alternatives on the market. It wasn’t long before he sought out to find the answer to his conundrum thus giving birth to Voke Tab. Voke Tab is a healthy chewable energy tab designed to give you focus when you need it most and are on the go. Voke achieves this by strictly using natural ingredients and avoids over-caffeination, sugar rush/crash, artificial ingredients. In this episode we explore how Kalen developed Voke as a business, product, and where it’s headed into the future.

 

Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below

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Show Notes

 

  • What is Voke Tab all about?

    • “Voke Tab is a simple product that I came up with a number of years ago. It’s a healthy chewable that gives you focus...The genesis for Voke came from early on I was competing in skiing and drinking a lot of coffee at that point and, just wanted something that functioned like coffee, wouldn’t make me jittery, and would fit in my pocket…”

  • What is your background in prior to starting Voke?

    • “Skiing was definitely a big part of my life since I was four years old...I took that about as far as I could before I got injured and ended up at this point where I was really kind of focusing on my performance. I was drinking a lot of coffee and I always had to take a piss before a competitive run...at one point I sat there and figured I’d go to the store for something that could fit in your pocket and would function similarly to coffee but, I wasn’t finding anything that worked very well…”

  • Did you start Voke in 2011?

    • “Yeah, that’s basically it. At that point, that’s when Voke got started, previously I was going by the name Energia and it was a really small scale. I think it was teh customer feedback and the feedback from friends to make me realize that this is really something that I want to pursue…”

  • What was the next step after your initial launch?

    • “From 2011 going to a number of years after that we had to basically get a prototype made then hit the ground and start talking to retailers...At that point we didn't have enough capital to do a whole lot other than creating the prototype and getting it onto the market at a very small scale. We took that and was able to find some interested in some investors who were able to get us another couple steps down the road…”

  • What’s the significance of the name Voke?

    • “...I came across words that insight action like invoke, provoke, evoke. Voke was just jumping out as a name that I liked a lot and seemed to be catching on. With voke it can be used as a noun and a verb…”

  • Where do most of your sales come from?

    • “It’s a mix for us. At this point we have a retail base of over 100 stores and we’re really working to help them succeed. In terms of expansion in the near term we’re really growing the online side of our business. We have customers all over the country and online allows us to delivery Voke to them in a convenient manner which is Voke Reload which is just an easy way for people to sign up…”

Voke Tab
  • Are there any mentors that you had who helped you build Voke?

    • “There’s been a good handful of people who have provided mentorship and a lot of them are very much involved in the company, my dad is certainly one of them. We’ve had some folks on our board of directors who’ve really helped me out...My education really has come from mentors and reading books on our startups…”

  • What is your commitment to sustainability?

    • “There are a number of different aspects of it. We’ve really have stuck to making the product with natural organic ingredients and sourcing from suppliers that are passionate about growing things sustainability. We get our guarana and acerola from Brazil...We’re still such a small organization that we haven’t had the resources to get into that at the level we aspire to. Some other things that we do is we’re a member of 1% for the planet...The other side of it is packaging...our packaging is 100% recyclable and tin is a pretty efficient thing to recycle…”

  • What does an average day at Voke Tab look like?

    • “It’s always different, with only three of us at the moment we have to all wear different hats… We have a whole sack of different initiatives that we’re working on...My brother is really focused on operations, he’s an incredible graphic designer...with operations he and I are both working on a lot of the aspects of the manufacturing process...Everything’s important so you have to block and tackle and keep on top of it…”

  • What has been one of the hardest parts about starting Voke?

    • “I think developing the product and the manufacturing process. That took a lot of work and effort. Financint it has also been challenging but we’ve been successful with that overtime to a reasonable degree…”

  • What is one of your greatest fears in regards to Voke?

    • “There are so many things we’re trying to do and there’s so much work to be done with such a small team, it’s just trying to get to a point where growing it to a scale where the cash flow will allow us to build the team out...Each financing round you have a runway to do that and I think we’re really on track with it at this point so that's exciting but, it’s always kind of a concern when you don’t have enough manpower to execute

Voke Tab
  • What would you say are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made in regards to Voke?

    • “I think that where I started from, not having a background in business, I think that we weren't able to anticipate the resource level to grow Voke as quickly as we thought we would…”

  • What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business?

    • “I would say, if you’re really passionate about it and you have an idea to create something, get started right away. Trust in your ability to learn, you’ll never have all the answers in the beginning…”

  • Where do you see Voke headed into the future?

    • I really think we’re at an inflection point right now. We’re scaling the Voke reload program, just providing our customers with a simple reliable way to get Voke. I think in five to ten years are goal is to have Voke available everywhere in the U.S, both Voke reload and local retailers…”

  • Was there any feedback from customers that surprised or stood out to you?

    • “Yeah, over and over again. It’s really kept our team motivated over time, just hearing so many stories from people, whether it’s a pilot or a firefighter, or someone working in an office…”

  • What would you say is the best part about running Voke?

    • “For me, it’s being able to work with a close knit team and to work with my brother...”

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