Interview with Stephen Colvin, founder and CEO of Bobelo
Stephen Colvin understands the challenges consumers face when they stroll down the beverage aisle in grocery stores.
For more than 15 years, Colvin has developed global products, services and business model strategies in consumer products, engineering and biotechnology, to name a few. He studies consumers’ problems and needs while carefully studying trends and preference shifts. Colvin then creates solutions that improve on existing products or disrupt them entirely.
His most recent entrepreneurial venture is as founder and CEO of Bobelo. His company launched the first self-carbonating, healthy, flavorful and sustainable drink mix with a pressure regulating bottle. The patented drink mix is created with flavors from real fruits and botanicals, vitamins, minerals and functional ingredients backed by science.
Bobelo believes it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the planet and has taken a firm stance against disposable lifestyles. Its bottles and stick packs are 97% less wasteful on the planet than typical bottled waters/sodas.
How did you get started in the industry?
I started in the beverage space about five years ago. After building and running strategy and consumer analytics for a Washington-based beverage company, I had an aha moment. I left to study the beverage industry in-depth to get a real understanding of what consumers wanted and needed. I am now passionate about the consumer goods industry and enjoy figuring out how to create great and sustainable products.
What recent professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
Creating the first carbonated drink mix using only healthy ingredients consumed in a 100% sustainable way, and getting patent-pending status on the entire process. I am also proud that Bobelo is a B-Corporation (certification pending), which means the company uses business as a force for doing good and not just for making profits.
What drew you to Utah?
I am a native Utahn. When our family decided to start Bobelo, Utah was at the top of our list. We packed our bags and left Seattle and made our home in Alpine.
What do you like most about living in Utah?
Utah is a gorgeous state with a very business-friendly environment, an amazing workforce and ample resources for startups.
I love the mountains and missed them when we lived in other places. I also enjoy the diversity of Utah’s landscape, from the beautiful Wasatch Front to the parks in Southern Utah.
What do you like most about doing business in Utah?
Many talented business owners make Utah a great place to do business. The passion and ingenuity of recently graduated students and the deep experience of the more seasoned professionals make for a balanced workforce.
What advice do you have for individuals considering starting a business, or relocating their business, to Utah?
Do your research and make sure you understand all the aspects of owning a business. If you want a smart, hardworking workforce with supportive state and local governments, and unparalleled outdoor scenery, this is the best place in the country to do business.
What is your primary challenge of doing business in Utah?
One challenge is the lack of investors who focus on consumer products. More investment diversity and economic assistance for companies like ours go a long way to growing the consumer product industry in Utah.
What is your business philosophy?
I have two. “Opportunity always lies in the place where people complain.” and “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
If you listen to people around you, patterns or trends emerge with the problems people have with existing products or industries. People deserve quality products, and it is up to us as businesses to figure out the right way to strike a balance between high quality and affordability.
Why is your company structured as a benefit corporation as opposed to an LLC?
When I was deciding how to structure my company, I knew I wanted it to be mission-driven. Doing good for people and the planet was super important to me after what I had seen in the corporate world. When I discovered you could ingrain doing good into your organizational structure and hold yourself and others to a higher level of accountability by doing a B-Corporation, it was obvious which direction to go.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
I am passionate about education and believe that we should never stop learning. Currently, I am taking an online course on medical neuroscience from Duke University and love it.