A Day in the Life of Hint Founder and CEO Kara Goldin
Kara Goldin founded Hint 12 years ago, as a response to a Diet Coke addiction. After seeing the positive impact on her health when she gave up diet soda and just drank water, Goldin decided to create her own healthy and satisfying replacement that was more enjoyable than plain water but used only natural fruit essences and no sweeteners. When Goldin made the product herself and placed it in a San Franciso Whole Foods store for distribution, Hint was born. Fast-forward to today, and Hint has experienced explosive growth: It’s carried in stores across the country (and is the water of choice in many Silicon Valley headquarters), and the company has introduced both naturally caffeinated (Hint Kick) and sparkling (Hint Fizz) versions. Earlier this year, Hint expanded beyond water, launching an oxybenzone- and paraben-free sunscreen, and Goldin is thinking about even more product expansions. We took a glimpse at a day in the life of the ever-busy Goldin to see how she manages to balance everything so effortlessly.
5:30am: I wake up every morning at 5:30am on the dot. The first thing I always do is check my email and calendar. This helps me sort out my priorities for the day and respond to anything urgent that came through the night before so I don’t walk into a fire drill. Then I drink a big latte and head out for a hike through the Marin headlands with my two dogs and often my husband. Exercise is super important to me, and starting the day with a hike is a great way to not only ensure I fit it in but also clear my head and feel balanced before jumping into my day. When I get back, I make myself a healthy smoothie and usually squeeze in a quick 15-minute call to check in with staff. Once I’m showered and ready, I take my kids to school and head to the office with my husband, who is also our COO.
8:00am: Every day is so different, but I’m usually in the office by 8am or at a breakfast or coffee meeting. Today I met one of our advisors for breakfast. With the recent launch of Hint sunscreen and expansion into the beauty space, the brand is growing and evolving so quickly. I feel very fortunate to have an amazing group of advisors to discuss growth strategy with and leverage for general counsel about the business.
9:00am: Back in the office to go through email and meet with the team on some timely items. I’m in and out of meetings so much throughout the day, so I really cherish these moments when I can focus and check some things off my to-do list. By now I’m probably also on my third Hint water of the day (at least).
10:00am: Back-to-back calls. Sometimes I feel like I’m on the phone all day, but the variety of people I interact with on a daily basis is part of what I love about what I do. Today I had a call with one of our retail partners, followed by a possible brand partnership conversation.
11:00am: In addition to growing the Hint business, one of my passion projects is The Kara Network, which is a digital platform I launched in 2016 to serve as a resource to entrepreneurs. I dedicate about five hours a week to mentoring entrepreneurs and serving as a sounding board to help them problem-solve, and this is another way I try to help foster innovation and entrepreneurship. I interview executives from a variety of industries — some from startups that are just taking off and some from huge companies that have established themselves as household names — with the goal of bringing to light challenges, successes, and lessons learned that these veterans can share. Today I had an interview with the CEO of Citizens of Humanity, which was extremely enlightening. I always walk away from these interviews feeling so inspired!
12:30pm: Time for lunch! As I mentioned, I spend five hours a week mentoring entrepreneurs, so often I conduct these casual meetings over lunch. Our offices are on Union St. in San Francisco, so there are a ton of great spots to eat right outside our door. Today I grabbed a taco at Tacko (one of my go-to spots) with a tech entrepreneur who’s doing really cool things with AI. I love these meetings because, while initially they’re set up so I can be a resource to them, I often learn so much and get great ideas from these conversations.
2:00pm: Interview with a candidate for a marketing position on our team. Hint is growing like crazy, so I’ve been conducting a ton of interviews. I’m very involved in the hiring process because it’s important that we bring people on with not only the right skill set but also an authentic passion for the brand. Hiring people who truly believe in the mission of the company is key to retaining good talent.
3:30pm: Afternoon coffee break and networking. A former colleague of mine connected me to someone who is doing very innovative things in the restaurant space and is interested in selling Hint, so we grabbed a cup of coffee (and a Hint fizz to stay refreshed) to discuss a possible partnership. I always tell people how important it is to get out there and meet people, because it’s often meetings like this that lead to huge business opportunities for the brand.
4:30pm: Back at my desk to catch up on email. Despite my busy schedule, I am diligent about going through all of my emails and replying to people. I never want to feel like there are any loose ends or missed opportunities.
5:30pm: My husband and I load up the car with the dogs (who come to the office with us every day) and head back to our home in Marin to have a family dinner with the kids. I love evenings when I don’t have anything scheduled and can go home to unwind and spend quality time with my family.
10:00pm: Bedtime! While I don’t always succeed, I try to get to bed by 10pm each night so I can get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.
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(Photos via Cooper Bates)