Kirk Bardin is a 31-year-old entrepreneur who started a beverage company, Spartos, and created a niche as the first all-natural protein water. His entrepreneurial efforts began at age 16, selling lemonade from a cart at Magic Mountain in Valencia.
"I did that for 2 summers and worked on commission. The owners of the business took me under their wings and told me about margins and how buying decisions made a difference in profits," Kirk told me in a recent interview.
Kirk was a kicker on the Hart High School football team, attended Cal as a kicker, and graduated two years early in 2001.
He launched Spartos All-Natural Protein Water in 2008 and funded research and development efforts for 2 ½ years, using the money he saved from his teenage years and working at various positions into his mid-20s.
EARLY COMPANY ACHIEVEMENTS
Various mentors gave Kirk useful advice in his early years. He has leveraged the knowledge into a beverage company that earned shelf space at Whole Foods regionally and is now expanding with national distribution in the coming year. He said Whole Foods has standards higher than the Food and Drug Administration.
KIRK BARDIN'S ADVICE
"Surround yourself with as many loved ones and people who care about you as much as possible. It's always in your darkest moments that you find who you truly are as a company and brand," said Kirk, referring to the uncertainty of research and development.
"I leaned heavily on people who supported me and I have an amazing wife who understands my passion and commitment to change the beverage industry.
"My sister works in the company and [NFL] quarterback Matt Moore is a friend and supporter who believes in the product and often asks how he can help."
"Success is an on-going process and we consistently evaluate if we're meeting our own expectations. Profits aren't the only measure. A mix of metrics like shelf space are involved.
Focus on Brand
"The ultimate value for our product comes down to people we've touched and our brand name. Knowing our brand name is vital."
Share in Kirk's business adventure by reading this article on developing Spartos.