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Kombucha Like You’ve Never Seen featuring Holly Lyman

Founder of Wild Tonic

In this episode of the Gooder Podcast, Diana Fryc is joined by Holly Lyman, Founder and Queen Bee of Wild Tonic, to discuss her journey to create a revolutionary, healthy beverage. Holly talks about how she discovered the amazing qualities of honey, her transition from art to beverages, and the challenges she overcame while building up Wild Tonic.

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Key Takeaways

    • Holly Lyman describes her transition from a career in art to fermentation and the connection between the two

    • How Holly developed Wild Tonic and why she chose the Jun culture for brewing

    • The process of learning to ferment and brew

    • Personal and professional challenges Holly overcame while building up Wild Tonic

    • How did Holly’s team of experts come together?

    • Holly shares her proudest moments

    • Advice for women trying to break into the beverage industry

    • The amazing qualities of honey

    • Holly gives a shout out to other trailblazing leaders in the beverage industry

Quotes

Chapters

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Transcript

Intro 0:05

Welcome to the Gooder Podcast where we talk with powerhouse women in CPG about their journeys to success. This episode is sponsored by Retail Voodoo. A brand development firm guiding mission driven consumer brands to attract new and passionate consumer base crush their categories through growth and innovation and magnify their social and environmental impact. If your brand is in need of brand positioning, package design or marketing activation, we are here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com.

Diana Fryc 0:43

Hi, this is Diana Fryc, I’m the host of the Gooder Podcast where I get to talk with powerhouse women in the food, beverage and wellness categories about their journeys to success and the insights on the industry. Thanks for joining us today. This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo Retail Voodoo is a brand development firm. Our clients include Starbucks kind Rei, PepsiCo, Nike and many other market leaders. We provide strategic brand and design services for leading brands in the food wellness and beverage and fitness industries. If your goal is to increase market, share, drive growth or disrupt the marketplace with new and innovative ideas, give us a call. And let’s talk. You can find out more about Retail Voodoo at www.retail-voodoo.com. Or simply email me at info@retail-voodoo.com to learn a little bit more. Well, before introducing today’s guests, I just really want to give a big thank you to Dr. Jeremy Weisz of Rise25 for connecting me with our guests today. Rise25 specializes in helping b2b businesses reach their dream 200 clients by using podcasts. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check them out on rise25.com. Okay, well onto the the best for the good are stuff Hey, today I’m excited to introduce Holly Lyman, the Founder and Queen Bee of Wild Tonic a brand of Good Omen Bottling. Holly is an encaustic artist from Alaska, who mastered the ancient art of Jun kombucha among other ferments. You’ll have to explain that a little bit more soon. Holly. Holly takes great pride in promoting women into management. And as it’s an important part of the foundational work she set for her company. Well, Miss Holly, Hello, how are you?

Holly Lyman 2:42

I’m doing great today. Thank you so much for having me on your podcast today. Of course.

Diana Fryc 2:47

Where are you calling from today? Or we’re calling from where are you today? Well,

Holly Lyman 2:52

I live in Sedona, Arizona, Red Rock country and today I’m calling you from our headquarters where our brewery is located in Cottonwood, which is right outside of Sedona about 20 minutes.

Diana Fryc 3:04

Okay, you know, so funny when I was when we first were talking, I got myself all turned around and I heard you’re from Alaska, and I assumed that you were still in Alaska. But you’re in Arizona, so completely different. It’s Yes, by

Holly Lyman 3:21

design by design. That’s what happened. You grow up in such a cold place you seek just the opposite. Your senses about you and and you’re able to make decisions on your own. Mm hmm. Yeah. Third generation Alaska. So my grandparents homesteaded up there and really a lot of family up there. Yeah. Well,

Diana Fryc 3:41

and before you made it to Arizona, of course, you were here in Seattle for a great deal of time. Where were you? Were you that’s where you were really practicing your art at? Probably at your peak? Is that correct?

Holly Lyman 3:55

So I had two phases of my art career in Seattle. One was I was involved in the contemporary studio glass movement and managed a very well known artist named William Morris for 20 over 20 years until he retired in 2007. And he’s part of the whole Pilchuck Glass School Dale Chihuly you know, that whole movement that happened and is centered in Seattle area. But then when he retired, I had to reinvent myself. So I started painting within caustic art, which is beeswax and I really became very passionate about that and had galleries and Sun Valley and Seattle and Palm Desert and really just enjoyed that. That medium for about eight years until I discovered fermenting and then fermenting really caught my attention and passion because it it really is the missing link and our health. That really spoke to me from the sense that you know, every thing used to be, you know, fermented to preserve food. And then advent of refrigeration came around and all of a sudden, all of these microbes that were there to help our health weren’t there anymore, right? Everything preservatives in it, it’s refrigerated. And so I saw this fermenting is really the way to, to close the gap. And I started fermenting anything and everything from my home and Eastern Washington. Okay, and yeah, I discovered the, the junk culture, which is what Wild Tonic is,

Diana Fryc 5:39

oh, my goodness, so well. So let’s talk about that. Let’s start off with a brand tell us about Wild Tonic, why it exists. And you also have to talk about whether or not encaustic painting, and this honey fermentation is in any way shape or form related.

Holly Lyman 5:56

It is related in the sense that both are things both passions are the work of the bees is encaustic artists and it’s also they’re both lost forms of art that have been resurfaced and come back into vogue in our culture. So encaustic art is a very, it’s a contemporary art form. There’s a book called cost Accardo, the 21st century and you can find my work in there. It was published a few years back, right when I started fermenting and then I had to basically pull my work out of all of the galleries and and really focus on the brewery because it is really a full time job. And while

Diana Fryc 6:39

and what so why Wild Tonic Why did you go in this direction?

Holly Lyman 6:45

Well, because the Jun culture which is it’s a kombucha it’s a cousin of kombucha it’s a very rare cousin of kombucha. And Jun rhymes with fun. So I always think it’s, you know, it’s it’s one of those ancient ferments that was known for is like an elixir of life and enlightenment. They think it might have originated in Tibet, but the there’s a lot of folklore around where it originated, but they say that it might have even predated regular kombucha because honey was around before sugar was around, right? So say that the monks used it for energy. And you know, that they pass the culture on and but it never was commercialized until I started Wild Tonic, it was a very, it’s almost taboo to brew it. And so I really like taboo things I really, really like to, you know, delve into, you know, the outside of the box thinking, yeah, as an artist, I think it’s important to always challenge yourself and so, and to reinvent yourself, so I started bringing with this this gentle culture and you know, I found the flavor profile to be unlike any other and, you know, in ferment it was just like a champagne almost overtones that normal kombucha does. So, I’ve had so many people who can’t drink normal kombucha, just fall in love with Wild Tonic because it is very, very champagne like and has a very different taste on the palate than a normal kombucha does. So I came to vacate. I came to vacation here in Sedona in 20 2014. And absolutely in the fall of 2014 absolutely fell in love with it, you know that I was staying at a little cabin, right on Oak Creek with a fireplace at a local resort here. And then I was like, Okay, I just have to move here. This is where this permit has to be born because ferments are unusual. I mean, in that, if you think about ferment from San Francisco, it’s going to taste very different sourdough bread from San Francisco, then I sourdough bread from New York because they’re all influenced by the yeasts in the air. And so Dona has its own energy, its own vibe. It’s extremely high energy, high vibration, there’s a lot of vortexes here. Yeah. And a lot of spiritual New Age movements happening here. Because, you know, of the environment. And so I thought, what a better place to create this tank than Sedona. Yeah, it is a bit off the beaten path. And but it’s so it’s we’ve really brought a lot of experts in from the beverage industry to support the brewery into Oh, wonderful.

Diana Fryc 9:37

Yeah. So very interesting. Yes. So but you’ve now you’ve got Wild Tonic kind of under a under the Good Omen Bottling is that mean that there’s other coming out or is that just kind of the original formulation of the of the business?

Holly Lyman 9:56

Um, it’s just the original formulation of the business but what We do have an alcohol variety as well that I developed two years after the non alcohol varieties. So we have a 5.6% ABV kombucha we were the first in the country to come out with a hard junk kombucha. Oh, yeah, we were, you know, it’s it’s actually very cutting edge we were named Most Innovative beverage of the year in 2017 for alcohol, by, by the beverage industry magazine. So that’s kind of fun.

Diana Fryc 10:29

Super fun. That’s wonderful. Huh? Well, can you talk a little bit about the early days now, you said you have this new idea. Right. And you started working on it? I I, everybody has their own kind of first years stories. Talk, talk a little bit about what that transition was like for, for you as an artist? In one sense, because, you know, becoming a brewer is that your is that the technical term becoming a brewer is it’s in itself, its own sense, a form of art. But it’s different. So talk a little bit about those early years in that transition.

Holly Lyman 11:13

Sure. So I started reading anything I could get my hands on on fermentation. And one of the authors that really stood out was Sandor Katz. And he wrote a book called The Art of Fermentation. It was a James Beard Award, okay, beautiful book about traveling across the world and documenting for permits from various cultures around the world. And I was, you know, I thought, well, he’s never going to respond to me by email. And, you know, but I did, because I happen to be traveling in Tennessee and just wanted to meet him. So he invited me to come out to his fermentation. Studio out in the middle of backwoods Tennessee, I swear, he’s like, I’m gonna have to meet you at a local coffee shop out there, because you’ll never find it otherwise. And boy, was he ever Right? Like all these little windy roads through, you know, the back country, no electricity was out there. It was very awkward. But I did bring my first formulation of Wild Tonic to share with them. And I was all excited to share it with them. And yeah, and so I opened it up. And I was like, Well, what do you think Sandor. And he looked at me, and he said, something that will just change my whole reality, which was, Holly, there are no rules in fermentation. And so that gave me the permission as an artist to really push the boundaries. And that’s what I did with the alcohol format is, you know, there was no recipe for how to make an alcohol version of kombucha at that time. We were the second actually to be released in the country. So they’re very cutting edge and yeah, to go, like two years of struggles with the federal TCB that the arm of the government that regulates alcohol, and approved formulations and all of that, because they have no idea what what even we were so are you beer or wine, are you sure? So? Yeah, it was an adventure. The beginning days were very, you know, uncertain because there’s no books on how to start a kombucha brewery, we had to design all of our own equipment. It was very, it was an adventure, a lot of trials and tribulations a lot of mistakes. You know, there were times in the very beginning when we hand bottled everything, you know, we have 300 bottles a day. And now we have a canning line that does that in probably a few minutes. So, you know, it’s a very different reality now. Yeah, very reality. Yeah,

Diana Fryc 13:43

I can’t imagine it was there. I I feel like you’ve already answered this, but there might be another. Was there a singular turning point or a moment where you were like, Yep, I’m headed in the right direction me Holly, or the brand is headed in the right direction. Do you have a moment or two of those to share with us?

Holly Lyman 14:06

Oh, my goodness, I would say um, yeah. When I mean, I guess when you’re out hiking on a trail and you’re wearing a Wild Tonic t shirt and people get all excited because they see it they know that you’re on the right track because it’s becoming like a common thing. Something that people recognize or you know, I see your blue bottles everywhere. You know, I hear that a lot here especially here in Arizona because we’re so prevalent here in Arizona. But it’s you know, when you I guess my goodness, I would have to say it was probably early on in our career or in the in the brewery when we got into you NFIP, which are two of the largest natural foods distributors in the country and then we were able to really go nationwide. I think that was a real turning point. Because when we first opened we soft distributed and you can only deliver so much out of your little van. Right, right. Yeah. So yeah, it was really getting national distribution by two of the biggest players that

Diana Fryc 15:19

well, so you guys started in 220 15? Is that right? Yeah, in May of 2015. So it’s only been six years. So when, which in the life of an entrepreneurial brand is really still on the young side. So when when was this? K he and UN ePHI? miracle, the miracle It’s a Christmas miracle.

Holly Lyman 15:44

In about year two,

Diana Fryc 15:46

really? Okay. So you guys were really on to something here. And you you caught the eye of some, some real retailers and real distributors in just two years time.

Holly Lyman 16:00

Yeah, we were a natural grocers was our first chain. Yeah. To take on our brand. That was a large chain. And then sprouts took us on and Whole Foods Market. And now Safeway Safeway is one of our biggest feelings.

Diana Fryc 16:15

Really? Mm hmm. And do you feel like, and I don’t know, I don’t know if this makes sense. Do you feel that it was more about the product? Or do you feel like it was more about the brand and the mission of the brand? Or or it could be equal? But what do you think was really connecting with these distributors?

Holly Lyman 16:35

I think it’s the product is the flavor profile. If I had to say one thing that really stands out about our brand, it’s, you know, people really become addicted to it. I’ve actually been to Safeway before. And I saw this gentleman loading up his cart literally with 20 bottles of Wild Tonic. And I thought he was a merchandiser at the time, and I was about ready to go up and say, Hey, is there a recall or something? Like what’s going on? Did you take off the shelf? Right? Because then he wanders produce and starts putting carrots in his cart. And I’m like, oh, okay, that’s it. Wow. Now that’s pretty cool.

Diana Fryc 17:09

So that’s kind of that’s the traction moment that right? Like that’s when you as an entrepreneur, or a brand owner, let’s be honest, if you’re a brand owner for any company, and you are walking into a market, and you’re seeing your brand being loaded up like that is the moment where, you know, traction has happened. It’s happening. Yeah,

Holly Lyman 17:33

yeah, yeah. And I’ve seen that happen a few times, actually. So it’s not like it’s not an isolated event. But again, this is our home. This is our hometown. So I’m going to hear more than I would say, if I was traveling in New York, if I’m in New York, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, there’s Wild Tonic, you know, but if, if I’m in Arizona, it’s, you know, it’s just going to be more likely, there’s a lot more traction. Yeah.

Diana Fryc 17:58

When you think back to your, to your time, and I’m wondering, if you have, you know, there’s kind of a big challenge that you had to overcome, professionally to, to start, I don’t know if it’s at any point, to kind of just see the impact that you wanted to make in the community or in the marketplace. Is there something that you wish you could have foreseen and that you’d like to just shed some light on? Um,

Holly Lyman 18:28

I would say, Yeah, I could have never foreseen COVID coming. Well, that was a major challenge for the company, because we had a lot of cake sales at our restaurant. Oh, really? Oh, all of our cake sales, which is a very significant part of our business disappeared overnight. And yeah, it was it huge challenge. And then that same year, COVID year, which was this last year, I also my husband of 17 years, wanted a divorce. So that was a major challenge because oh my goodness, yeah. So you combine COVID with that, and I had to completely reinvent not just myself personally but the business. You know, we relied on you know, that partnership financially, keep going. So I had, you know, when he went his separate way, I had to pretty much know that I had to keep the doors of my business open because beverage is very rarely profitable. Until you know, even when it’s sold night like 97% of all beverage companies still aren’t profitable. Yeah, you know, then keeping the doors open. I had to form a board of advisors and which was super helpful because you know, if I brought in some industry veterans who really people with a lot of experience in business, help me navigate those waters and I just did a local outreach and raised enough capital to keep keep the doors open. But there was a time in the last year when I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to, you know, to keep things going. But I, I feel a huge responsibility to, you know, the the 35 families and yeah, that are dependent on the business. So if I did everything within my power to make sure that we keep going, and we did I mean, we’re in great shape now. Only seven months later, so

Diana Fryc 20:26

yeah, but boy, their longest seven months, you’ve probably had it Oh, yeah.

Holly Lyman 20:32

Yeah, it was a really, really tough time personally and professionally. Navigate navigated the waters. And thank goodness, today, I couldn’t be more optimistic about not just my own personal life, but the business

Diana Fryc 20:46

life. Yeah. Well, I, I wonder if you’re, if you, if you’re willing to talk about it, the husband and wife relationship in business, it can be really powerful. And even when it is powerful? Usually, it’s tricky. And what, you know, I find it incredibly brave, that you decided to go into this business with your husband, like, that’s a big deal. And I wonder, I don’t know. Yeah,

Holly Lyman 21:21

I’m sorry. I just want to interrupt and just let you know, he wasn’t that involved with the day to day, except for one year, which was the year before we got a divorce. And that’s probably why he was very hands off, or most all of the business. Okay. Well, yeah.

Diana Fryc 21:39

Until that time, yeah. Well, I, I, I applaud anybody who goes into business with family period. You know, I think whether it’s an you know, a married family member, or blood family member, I think those relationships are so precious and sometimes fragile. And when you have the stress of running a business and wanting to make it profitable, those first few years are never easy. So I applaud you for working through that. I know you guys are at a place that probably works best for both of you now. And I’m glad to hear that you’ve got the pull this team together this external team together, how did you go about networking those teams? Did you go and find them? Did you ask her how? What was that? Like?

Holly Lyman 22:29

Um, there’s a lot of fun stories behind the people that are here, but they’ll use my CEO, he runs our day to day he was with Coca Cola actually running the biggest plant in the Pacific Northwest, which was one of their biggest facilities, okay, like 1600 people under him and Bellevue, who worked there for years, and then came back to Arizona. And he got just a cold call from a headhunter. And that worked for Wild Tonic. And he’s like, he never takes those calls. But he did. So he left Coca Cola to come be with us. And he’s been my CEO now for about a year, but he was prior to that. He was in different roles in the company. And just really, he was CEO before that, and just really proved out his leadership abilities and skills are without him. I don’t know what I would do. Yeah, and then we’ve got Jim Sanders from wild turkey distillery, he came to me four years ago, he was one of three people that really ran the distillery for wild turkey and helped build it and his brilliant science mind. So I’m the crazy artist. He’s the sciences work really well together. We’ve just got a fabulous team and Jesse, who works in Phoenix and works on sales. And another super important person who is extremely loyal and hardworking, is Bill Hazelwood. And he used to be Boston Beer running. They’re angry Archer Division. He was with them for a decade. Yeah, when when really wonderful thing that all of these folks have in common is that they’ve all been with the company for a very long time. And they all are loyal. Yeah. And the thing that really is the thread that ties us all together is, you know, we, we all have been through hell and back, you know, and building this company, and all really stand behind each other, support each other, love each other. It’s really a family.

Diana Fryc 24:35

Hmm. I love hearing that. And so important to have those advisors, if nothing more than to just kind of get you to, at least for me, step for me, I need to settle down. Here’s Ray, let’s do a little reality check. It’s gonna be okay. Let’s do this next thing. Yeah. Or those are great ideas, that kind of just that external processing and then the expertise that they bring Certainly rounds everything out. That’s awesome. Yeah. When you’re thinking back to, you know, the last several years here, what what do you feel? Would is your proudest moment? Right now, I know that will change tomorrow and it was different last week. But when you’re thinking about it, what are you proud of right now?

Holly Lyman 25:19

Well, you’re gonna get a couple of things. Two things really stand out one of them I thought of before the podcast, and then one of them. But when I just came into Haven’s office, so one of them is that the LA Dodgers took our drink on and they drink it in their, in their clubhouse, really, they drink it on a regular basis, they have been for years. And their performance coach wrote us this beautiful letter of recommendation saying what an important role while tonic has had in their, in their development as a team. And just because it’s a healthy energizing drink. And so that was huge. They even flew out one of our people from the brewery to one of their games, and when they played the Yankees in New York, because they needed to have Wild Tonic at the game. So it was real fun. So we brought up cases of it. And then they invited us to their spring training here in Phoenix, which is very cool. But then I came into the office, and I’m like, Oh, my gosh, we got all of these. I’m gonna hold him. Waiver medals, like, oh, since we’ve ever entered, and I guess they’re in the HR office right now, because they need to be. They need to be framed. But yeah, we entered our, our brew into a lot of the national beverage competition. And we always seem to come out with a medal.

Diana Fryc 26:41

So Oh, my gosh, that is so fun. I love that.

Holly Lyman 26:47

I didn’t think of that. They were just on havens, desk.

Diana Fryc 26:51

Haven. Thank you haven for having that on your desk.

Holly Lyman 26:54

Amazing. She’s an amazing HR person. You got always got to have that too.

Diana Fryc 26:58

Yes, for sure. Well, tell me a little bit about where this you list yourself as queen bee or somebody has on your website. His talk a little bit about that. It seems like there’s a little bit of pride with that title.

Holly Lyman 27:14

No, there isn’t actually I’m very, I think humility is important. It takes like all my courage to do podcasts that I in fact, one of the reasons I took the title of PMP is because it just makes people smile. And it’s like they think, you know, it’s just outside of the box. I don’t feel like founder or CEO, whatever I just, this to me are just too dry. And you. I mean, we’re a very outside of the box company, how we think what we do our partnerships, you know, with the local people, the chapters that teach people about beekeeping, that all of that is, is more about who we are, and I just wanted to be bee centric.

Diana Fryc 28:01

Oh, man, I love that nice job. I want to just kind of take a little bit of a zag here for a moment, interviewed a few people kind of in this beverage space, different kinds of beverages, of course. And over the last couple of years, many women in the beverage category, and we’re still you know, I want to talk about this not like in a negative way per se, we’re still not seeing a whole lot of women leadership in the beverage category. And I’m wondering, since that’s such an important part of your, your personal professional development is wanting to work with other women in this space. What kind of changes have you seen since 2015? And and maybe where do you think more support could possibly be going?

Holly Lyman 28:54

So one thing I’ve seen, which I was really happy about is Constellation Brands came out with a $10 million grant for women, you know, women who are in beverages specifically to support women in beverages that I applied for went for, but just the fact that it’s out there, it’s for women specifically developing alcohol. Okay. And so that’s something to look at on their website. Okay. Yeah, it’s, it’s really, it’s really hard industry to break into unless you have a lot of capital. So I would say that, seeing banks that had, you know, programs for women entrepreneurs that would fund them because you really can’t get a bank bank loan unless you’re profitable. And that almost never happens in beverage. I mean, it’s just not the point. The point is to really grow your company as fast as you can to be a major player, and then a larger conglomerate typically acquires the company, which is what happened with Kavita when Pepsi acquired It you know, things like that happen. But, you know, I think it’s really it’s a challenging industry to break into without a tremendous amount of capital behind you.

Diana Fryc 30:13

And do you feel like private equity is doing a kind of a strong enough job when it comes to the beverage, I’m seeing more and more effort on the on the food and the snacking side of supporting women don’t necessarily think I have visibility well enough to say, if I’m seeing that so much on the beverage side, did you see that there’s more effort there right now or?

Holly Lyman 30:38

No, not really, no, most of most of our supporters who had really gotten behind the brand, are just wealthy angel investors, you know, not private equity. So, and I definitely on the radar, private equity, but it’s just too early in our life cycle to be considering partnerships, you know, maybe in another year, but the terms when you tend to negotiate with those private equity firms can be very oppressive. Unless you have some, you know, unless you have a lot of strength behind you

Diana Fryc 31:13

got it. Interesting. Okay. So your company? Yeah, and I would assume that, you know, you know, when we’re looking at more March, even more marginalized groups, you know, outside of women, we start to look at our sisters of color are those with disabilities, it’s just even more challenging for them to break into this space, if we’re talking about the term oppressive is pretty heavy. So that really, it says something a lot about what you’re seeing as you’re navigating these types of investment relationships, right.

Holly Lyman 31:51

Yeah, it’s not it’s not easy. But I would say that one thing that has really helped me is this the IDL, loan, Eid l loans, that was something that came about because of COVID. And it’s just a SBA loan to businesses. And I think they just increased it up to $2 million. So really, get a good chunk of money from the government with very favorable payback terms because of probate. So there’s some silver linings to COVID. And you always have to really look for the silver linings in any, you know, difficult situation.

Diana Fryc 32:32

Yeah, for sure. Well, kind of going back to that, that kind of that mentorship component that you just take so much pride in. As you’re talking with other women who are either in the industry or interested in the industry, what sort of advice do you find yourself giving? Or do you wish that you could spread a little bit more liberally instead of in one on one conversations?

Holly Lyman 32:59

Mm hmm. So I would say this is gonna sound very Sedona, so know that going in. But one thing that really changed everything in my life, which I started practicing about six months ago, was when I was in my toughest, darkest time, is just doing a daily gratitude meditation. And you know, that is so powerful, you know, and another group of women who are in beverage, who did a lot of the branding for white claw and some very iconic brands, Grey Goose, they share this gratitude meditation with me. And because it’s something that has worked for them, it’s a 21 day gratitude meditation, if you just type that into YouTube, 21 day gratitude, okay? And watch it. absolutely life changing, because everything just started falling into place when I started, exuding that energy of gratitude and being thankful for what I already had, as opposed to focusing on the challenges. Focus on, you know, just the simplest things in life. And then the way the universe works is it wants to, it wants to then mirror back that and bring good things, you’re way more things to be grateful for.

Diana Fryc 34:17

Yeah, well, and in effect, you’re rewiring your brain to start looking for those things, right, like, so if you eat sugar, and you keep eating sugar, your body looks for sugar, but if you eat fruit, then your body starts looking for that so I can understand the gratitude journal. It’s so interesting. I am in the process of getting my MBA. And in the first row, thank you. And the first six months is leadership development exclusively. No charts and graphs, no math yet. No, you know, none of none of that none of the stuff that will be probably the bigger challenge for me. But a gratitude journal is actually one of our homework assignments. Oh,

Holly Lyman 35:00

no kidding. Yeah, that’s fabulous. Well, it’s it is, it was for me life changing. And I highly recommend it. Because if I stopped doing it, you know, I find I’m not as optimistic going into my day. And just starting your day with that energy in that tone. You know, is the universe response?

Diana Fryc 35:21

Yes. A creed. And it could be Arizona, but who cares? Let’s spread it around the world. Every everybody needs a little bit of that right now. Right? Yeah, yeah. Oh, Holly, I, I’m really enjoying our time together. And we’re just kind of getting towards the end of the of the questions. But I always have these last three that I asked everybody. The first one is, I like it. I like to call it a happy hour tidbit something I can share with my friends when I’m out having a drink? Do you have some sort of, like factoid or some interesting, something interesting about Jun kombucha, or honey or even art?

Holly Lyman 36:05

I would say, um, I would say that one thing that’s always fascinated me about honey is that it never goes back. Like they have honey back from, you know, 5000 years ago, that really aren’t the Egyptian times that’s still viable as a food source. And, you know, it’s just a remarkable, it’s the only food that won’t go bad. So I think that’s something especially during times when people are looking at putting away a store of food, make sure you have your honey in there, because it’s all it’s also considered a whole foods. So it’s absorbed by the body. Yeah, in a way that’s very, very different, you know, is absorbed as a whole food. And here’s another interesting little fact two is not about honey, necessarily, but about, you know, the body and the importance of fortifying your microbiome. There is more foreign DNA in your body than there is your own DNA, because of your microbiome, really, percent of our immune system is in our gut, because there’s about eight pounds of bacteria in our in our gut, and you have to have good bacteria. Yes, in order to thrive and to be healthy. And so when you drink something like Wild Tonic, you’re fortifying the good bacteria in your system. And so yeah, just to think, wow, there’s more foreign DNA in my body than there is my own. That’s a pretty profound thought. Yeah,

Diana Fryc 37:33

that’s, I find the body to be so completely magical. I mean, I we’ve got I know we’ve got science and science will continue to be like solving or answering questions and solving things. But I think there will always be, well, then what, what makes that happen? Why does that happen? This concept of how we use food, how we use beverages? How do we hack our system? How do we use natural, you know, ancient ways of hacking our system to perform better for the future? So fascinating.

Holly Lyman 38:10

So true. So true. Yeah.

Diana Fryc 38:13

My next question is, uh, are there any other women leaders or possibly even rising stars out there in our industry or not, that you would like to elevate or simply admire for the work they’re doing right now?

Holly Lyman 38:26

Yeah, I actually, it’s a kind of fun story and relates to Wild Tonic, about, maybe a year ago, I got a cold call out of the blue from the manager for the singer, Jewel, and Jewel, much like me, you know, she sang, who will save your soul a lot of really iconic songs and, and beautiful voice, incredible voice that she grew up in Alaska, like I did, and saw an incredibly meteoric career as a singer. And now she has a foundation in Las Vegas, which is why her the her president ever company was calling me because he wanted to bring Wild Tonic and just to share with the children there, who they mentor children who come from very difficult backgrounds, who then are given the right schooling and environment to really rise to their best self. And so she’s a huge fan of Wild Tonic to actually was able to deliver a product to her and Telluride vary. During COVID, which was really, she’s an amazing person just she uses her creativity in a way to bring good things to the planet and to the world. And I truly admire that about her.

Diana Fryc 39:46

A great experience and connection to make those those are the those are the moments that that really kind of make you go Okay, I’m, I’m pointed in the right direction, you know, how I would

Holly Lyman 40:07

I would love to have a foundation like her Sunday that helps other people that helps. helps the environment, though, for research on the bees, you know that, you know, and I think that when I meet and then another one of my friends you know also has a foundation that he started kettle chips and yeah, Kona Brewing and they have a foundation that gives back to the environment. And he’s actually on one of Jeremy’s podcasts as well. Oh, okay. Yeah. So his name is Cameron Healy and watching what he’s done for the environment both in Hawaii and in Oregon, where he lives. It’s been super inspiring to people like that.

Diana Fryc 40:48

Yes, yes. Well, what brands or trends do you have your eye on? And while it doesn’t have to be in beverage, it could be in any category?

Holly Lyman 40:59

That’s a good question. One thing I’m working on right now is an adaptogenic tea that really helps the body have energy without caffeine, and okay, sustainable a sustainable bus. So that’s something that I’ve got, I have in the in on the back burner right now until we can really have a more fun day to bring out any product line, because it’s pretty expensive to do that. But I have the beverage already developed, which I’m excited about.

Diana Fryc 41:29

Yeah. Yeah, that that is right. I know that. Those adapt adaptogens are still not completely mainstream. I feel like we’re right on that tipping point of, of normalizing it with kind of the Gen pop. Right. I think we’re still on the front end of that, but excited about what that can do. For our health in general.

Holly Lyman 41:53

Absolutely. Yeah. I when I drink it, I have so much energy. I’m like, Oh my gosh, I just got to share this. You know, I’ve got to share this with people.

Diana Fryc 42:01

I love it. Then when it’s ready, when it’s ready. Well, we have been talking with Holly Lyman, Queen Bee, and Founder of Wild Tonic Holly, where can people learn more about you?

Holly Lyman 42:17

Um, at our website, wildtonic.com, there’s a Find Us section on there. If you type in your zip code, it’ll give you the stores near you where you can actually find the drink. And we’re at Whole Foods and Safeway, a lot of the more mainstream grocery channels, but that’s the best way to find us in your area. Okay. Diana?

Diana Fryc 42:41

Yeah. Well, thank you so much for your time today. And for all that you do. I’m excited to see you. I’m excited to see what’s next for you. And I want to talk to you about some honey. I want to do after we log off this honey in that’s coming out of Mexico that you might want to have some heads up on. And yes, very, very interesting. But I want to thank everybody else for their time today. Have a great rest of your day and I really look forward to catching up with you on the next episode. Thanks so much.

Outro 43:23

We hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you haven’t already, be sure to click subscribe and share with your network. Until next time, be well and do gooder.

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For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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