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HINT, Inc.

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2012, Click to Enter The 2013 Steve Awards for Women in Business

Company: HINT Inc., San Francisco, CA, USA
Entry Submitted By: 5W Public Relations
Company Description: HINT Inc. are makers of the no calorie, unsweetened essence waters HINT and HINT Fizz. Founded in 2005 by mother of four, Kara Goldin, HINT and HINT Fizz have doubled revenues year over year and become the preferred alternative to sugary beverages.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Business Products –11 to 2,500 Employees

Nomination Title: Kara Goldin, CEO

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 500 words):

Kara Goldin, CEO of HINT Inc., is not only a pioneer in the beverage industry, but an innovator that is changing the way consumers drink beverages every day. Kara started HINT because her family, and many others across America, needed a healthy, yet flavorful, alternative to sugary sodas and juices. HINT Water was the first no calorie, unsweetened essence water to the market.

By 2004, Kara was determined to have her family live a healthier lifestyle. When she realized how many calories her family was consuming from juice, soda and other beverages, she laid down the law and banned everything except plain water and milk in her house. That worked for her (at least for a little while), but the rest of the family was not happy.

Kara was determined to find something more interesting than plain water. Scanning the labels of every beverage she could find only yielding more disappointment; every drink she picked up contained either loads of calories or questionable diet sweeteners, which didn’t even taste refreshing.

Finally out of desperation, she started slicing fruit into water to add a little bit of flavor without adding a lot of calories. Surprisingly, this simple solution was a hit with her family. One day, she received a call from a friend whose child had been over at her house several times. “You have to tell me where you got the raspberry water my daughter keeps talking about.” Kara laughed and explained that it wasn’t actually a product you buy. But that conversation was Kara’s a-ha moment; she realized then that someone should make a simple unsweetened fruit-flavored water as a substitute for all the artificially sweeteners.

Despite having no experience in the beverage industry, facing tough economic times and competing with corporate giants like CocaCola and PepsiCo, Kara followed her intuition that this was a product that would sell, and created HINT Water.

In just six years, her perseverance, determination, and innovation brought HINT Water to the shelves of nationwide retailers like Whole Foods, Starbucks, Stop N Shop, The Fresh Market and many other stores nationwide.

With the success of HINT secured, Kara was ready to take on the soda category and in January 2012, Kara launched HINT Fizz, a sparkling version of HINT available in four flavors. Staying true to Kara’s vision, HINT Fizz offered a refreshing alternative to consumers trying to break the soda habit. Consumers loved it. HINT Fizz won Better Homes and Gardens Best New Beverage of 2012.

Kara has been able to turn HINT into a multi-million dollar company by offering a product that consumers trust and enjoy with one simple mission of providing a delicious and healthy beverage. The biggest lesson she’s learned to date is if you make a product that you believe in and stay true to your message, your loyal consumers will become your best advocates and help spread the word. HINT is a brand that’s been built around an important message: Drink Water, Not Sugar®, and Kara firmly believes in her message.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 100 words):

Kara Goldin has served as the Founder and CEO of HINT, Inc., makers of the all natural, no calorie essence waters.

Prior to conceptualizing HINT, Goldin built her career as Vice President of Electronic Commerce and Shopping at AOL, helping to turn its online shopping business into a billion-dollar entity in the 1990s.

Kara built HINT's reputation as one of the leading health-driven beverages through its message of “Drink Water, Not Sugar”. This resonated with consumers including the health-conscious and attracted celebrity investor and 9-time Grammy winner John Legend.

Goldin guided HINT into its household name and was selected as Fortune Magazine’s 2011 “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs.” Goldin continues to expand HINT, most recently by introducing HINT Fizz, a carbonated version, in 2012.