Julie Harrelson, CEO of the Harrelson Group, Fund Manager of Cascade Angels, has a beloved penchant for taking selfies with entrepreneurs, investors and people of Oregon who support building a strong Oregon through entrepreneurialism. This blog continues a series of selfies + blogs about the amazing people she’s met in the last couple of years. #julieselfie
Scott Allan is a successful entrepreneur and the General Manager at Hydro Flask. Scott is a Cascade Angels investor and we often cross paths often at community events including the Oregon Outdoor Alliance meetings, the OSU Cascades Opening Ceremony, Bend Venture Conference and other venues that build a great Bend and Central Oregon. I recently caught up with Scott to learn more about Hydro Flask’s worldwide presence and how the company has managed its growth.
Hydro Flask is a local success story with global reach. How many countries is Hydro Flask in and how many Hydro Flasks are in the world today?
We actively distribute in 12 countries: the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Norway, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Singapore and Taiwan. We are just shipping to Japan later this month and have rough plans for another four to six countries by end of 2017. Based upon my estimates, we’ve shipped 13 million to 14 million Hydro Flasks since 2009. That accounts for a lot of cold water as well as hot coffee out there.
Hydro Flask had revenues of $34.4M in Q316, up 7.8% from the previous quarter. What key things do you do to effectively manage the growth?
It has not been easy. We have a great team that makes it happen. We spend time questioning our processes and searching for better tools and techniques all the time. We also have a parent company that is helping us with resources in the areas of distribution, sourcing, finance, tax, systems and legal. When all else fails, we have beer on tap at our kegerator.
What three guiding principles do you use as a GM/CEO?
One is continuous growth and development. Just like how startups grow and change, what it takes to successfully lead a company is different at each stage. It’s up to the leader to evolve, develop and scale if they want to effectively lead a growth company on an ongoing basis.
Two is to be people and culture centric. We are building a brand from the inside out. So maintaining what makes us a special place to work despite our rapid growth is important. It starts by inspiring and supporting our people. It’s now less about those at the top and more about those everywhere else.
Three is to take risks. Of course this is nothing new to the startup community. As we get bigger and the mindset of having more to lose creeps in, we need to maintain our appetite and ability to take risks. Nothing great comes from complacency!
Everyone who owns a Hydro Flask has a story. What is one of your favorites?
I read from recent focus groups the story about a customer who had their Hydro Flask confiscated by TSA while clearing airport security. TSA was not going to let her keep it unless she went back, dumped it out and came back through the line. If she did this, she would miss her very important flight. She began to cry over the thought of losing her Hydro Flask so after seeing this, the TSA agent just handed it back to her. That is awesome!
You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].