We all ate bubbles as kids, right? Today, we speak with the founder of Bubble Lick, safe and delicious bubbles for kids and adults. Jason Tiger, the Founder of Bubble Universe talks about how to market a truly disruptive product. Prior to starting this business, he had 5 years of experience with the largest bubble manufacturer in the world. Bubble Lick bubbles are made from natural, food-safe, FDA-approved ingredients. In this interview, Jason Tiger talks about marketing tactics, successes, challenges, advice, and many interesting stories along the way. You’re going to love this interview!
In today’s episode of the Harvest Growth Podcast, we’ll cover:
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Interviewer: We all ate bubbles as kids, right? Today I speak with the founder of BubbleLick, he developed a product of bubbles that are delicious and safe for both kids and adults. He talks about how to market a truly disruptive product in an entrenched industry. You're going to love this interview.
Interviewer: Welcome back. I'm really excited today to be interviewing Jason Tiger. He is the founder of Bubble Universe. He's going to talk about specifically their product BubbleLick, as well as his past history of very successful products he's launched and worked with over the years.
He's got a really interesting story and a fascinating product. I'm really excited to talk about how he came up with this, the design, development. I really think it's going to be ground-breaking in this category that he's in. It's relatively new to market, but already seeing some success. We're going to talk about that as well as the plans for his future, as he grows the BubbleLick brand and his company as a whole. Jason, welcome to the show. I'm so excited to have you on.
Jason Tiger: Thank you. Happy to be here. Absolutely.
Interviewer: Let's start off first. If you can talk about BubbleLick just for our audience that hasn't yet been to your website, which by the way, is bubbleuniverse.com for our audience to check it out when you finish driving or get back to your computer or whatever. If you can describe what is BubbleLick and how'd you come up with the idea?
Jason: Yes. BubbleLick is the world's first flavored natural bubbles that you can lick. It's chocolate, watermelon, cotton candy, glazed cinnamon roll bubbles, and the idea came from an inventor who was a pediatrician allergist that had kids coming into his practice with allergic reactions to regular bubbles.
From there, I partnered with him to invent BubbleLick where it's the safest possible solution ever, so safe. We made it with food-grade ingredients and added flavors to it to make it more fun, experiential, but also really disrupt the bubble industry.
Interviewer: It's funny, you mentioned that the safety of it, I've got four kids that are getting a little bit older. My youngest couple will still play with bubbles. We all do at all ages, but they're in that's core target market still, but it's the first thing with young kids, especially as you blow those bubbles, they just want to eat them [crosstalk] as a kid, but it wasn't safe. The previous ones, just because of the soap, it was in a- how'd you come up with a formulation that works, that is fun, but it's still safe?
Jason: Like you said, kids already eating bubbles, have been eating bubbles, getting in their eyes, getting in their mouth, and from my background, I used to work at the world's largest bubble company. From there I run their sourcing office and was able to go into numerous factories, numerous manufacturing plants where they made bubbles, and really saw how these chemicals and certain manufacturing practices were done.
I knew that there was room for improvement, one with the actual bubble solution and ingredients, but also how it was manufactured. We make ours in the US but overall, when I partnered with this inventor, we wanted to make it with food-grade ingredients because those are the safest in case kids where to get it in their eyes or in their mouth. That's anything that's in marshmallows, apple juice, certain gum, toothpaste type ingredients, baby shampoo as well.
We really went after just creating the safest bubble solution ever, and to really add flavor to take it to that whole new level where kids are already putting it in their mouth. We're changing like a children's toy to more like a CPG-type product to consumable. It's like flying candy if you were to say, would be the future. But overall, from my background and just seeing how it's such a mass-produced product, it's mainly water and certain chemicals soap, and so really wanted to focus on controlling the environment.
Making it in the US, making it with the safest ingredients possible, being that parents are always wondering, I'm always wondering what is really in our products that we're interacting with our kids and family. That's how we came up with it, and the idea is really that it's a whole new sensory experience. You're able to almost the first-time taste, smell, touch flavor, and really consumable products in the air.
Interviewer: How similar is the formulation to old-fashioned traditional bubbles? Is there much of any crossover or is it totally different?
Jason: I guess the water is actually more filtered, but I guess water would be the only constant, but beyond that, the ingredients are really all FDA approved ingredients as food additive, compared to traditional ingredients that are chemically structured to just make the bubbles last as long as they can in the air, which typically is using normal, if not more chemical, driven soap.
A lot of these factories, mainly outside of the US, are just trying to reduce the price, being that they haven't created such a brand of bubbles out there. It really becomes a commoditized industry. What I really wanted to do is form the safest brand, but also a different type of innovative product that really went beyond just [unintelligible 00:05:47] water.
As numerous industries out there become focused on price as opposed to branding, being different, and innovating, typically it just becomes a race to the bottom. With that typical manufacturers will just go straight to the retailers and they'll drive down the price and with that, the certain ingredients become cheaper or they use alternatives that are not always safe.
Interviewer: I've got to ask the question too, part of testing, like there's the safety side and that's almost like-- not the easy side, but you can get your factory to confirm the ingredients are safe. You also have to confirm that the taste. How do you do that? Could just describe your testing process for each of these tastes grade?
Jason: First of all, we use food-grade ingredients for our bubbles just for the fact that it's edible and it's going in kids' mouths, but also the natural flavors that we went after. We're using a flavor lab that works with the largest companies on the planet, and we decided that are natural as opposed to artificial, and really highly selecting the ingredients that are going in there being that kids are going to be liking it.
Going forward, we're only going to be using natural ingredients and we are. Again, we wanted to create the safest bubbles and that's our goal and we'll continue to do that. The testing process, we use the largest lab, UL, which is the biggest lab for testing across all products. In fact, they actually said to me that- I tested- first of all, bubbles are really typically three-plus ages, and because our solution was so safe, they actually recommended to go lower.
We tested it two-plus, and they're even saying below that because they test based on certain ages, certain kids start to put it in their mouth. They learn how to use their motor functions and blow bubbles. We were actually one of the only bubbles able to get to two-plus and we could actually test for lower, but we believe two-plus is a good age. That's how we've been going through our testing process, and then in regards to the flavors, we did a survey of what most kids want, but also parents would want to try.
We have glazed cinnamon roll, which is turning out to be more of the older favorite, cotton candy, and juicy watermelon splash being for the kids, and chocolate being for everybody. It really was me trying it out first, I guess, testing it and making sure that it tastes great, and then from there getting friends, family, parents, the inventors, and other doctors to try it.
Interviewer: I assume maybe you have tested by drinking a little bit versus the bubbles. Is there a big difference? Is it much stronger if you took it-? I'm not that you're recommending that anybody drink the solution, although it sounds like it'd be safe if you did, but is there a big difference between the two once you get it in the air?
Jason: Yes. First of all, we don't recommend you drink it [crosstalk], but obviously, it's a tease when you lick the bubble, you're not getting that much solution in your mouth. If you were to, I guess-- I've drink it, the consistency isn't that great, bubble solution it's thicker but it would be more concentrated because of the flavor as well.
Interviewer: Sure. It's fascinating.
Jason: It's really safe, but we really don't-- you wouldn't chug catch up, you wouldn't drink certain other food grading ingredients, it would be super concentrated and it wouldn't be great tasted.
Interviewer: So far, what have been some of your big successes you've had?
Jason: So far, I guess we haven't really heard from anybody that they don't like it, our main ingredients to get it out there, get people to try it, get kids to try, get parents. Some people are getting their pet to try it because pets love bubbles, but it's been taking off in regards to like that it's such a superior product to regular bubbles and it's innovative, but also it's such a unique positioning where it's the first time you can mass, I guess, deliver flavor to multiple people at once.
You think about it, you go into a Costco and you want to try their new hot dog they're presenting. You have to give each individual piece of the hotdog, now, you could technically put hot dog-flavored bubbles or chocolate-flavored bubbles and mass to an entire party of people that try all at once and taste it.
Interviewer: It's fascinating.
Jason: It's a mass delivery system of taste and, I guess the most successful thing is getting people to really try it and they love it. They really love it and it's the craziest thing to see people's reactions to be, "Oh my God, it actually tastes like that", because it's a delivered system of tastes like never before.
Interviewer: There's so much you can do with that. I love that you're thinking far into the future beyond, the easy approach is convincing kids to love it, which is going to be easy. Visually it's really cool, then they taste it, it's great. But then beyond that, other business avenues of flavor testing, I didn't even thought of that. That's a fantastic idea. Relatively new as a business but getting to this point, sometimes it's the hardest part, getting to lunch can be difficult. What challenges have you guys faced so far?
Interviewer: I would say in the beginning, just to really disrupt an industry that, first of all, has been around since the beginning of time, bubbles, soap, and water, it's really gravity that creates a bubble, but because gravity creates an orb, it hasn't been too much innovation in the actual solution as opposed to bubble toys out there, which you can-- bubble machine, bubble gun, bubbles fix, different type of delivery system but the actual solution has not been changed too much.
[unintelligible 00:11:43] there were scented bubbles, but not in a way that we're doing. The biggest challenge was to really introduce something innovative to an industry that hasn't changed a lot, and get people to change their consumer behavior and really impact that, and get people to be like, "Well, you can leak bubbles now", that barrier is a little bit challenging, but once you get past that and we've seen that, once you've tried it, it causes two things in what we're seeing in our consumer's mind.
One, it makes them think, "Oh my God", how do you get them to taste this flavor. How does that work. Then the other thing is, "Wait a minute, I can eat bubbles right now. Why couldn't I have not eaten or licked bubbles before?" That's causing conversation about, "Oh, it wasn't safe", but really kids were doing it before. Most of these bubble solutions are coming out of the US and their manufacturing process is not always the same. It's not a food-grade facility, it's not using the most filtered water. If you think, my background is in China, and bubbles is mainly water.
I guess what we focused on was the safety aspect of bubbles first, that was our top focus, and then we made it more fun and more innovative being that we wanted to disrupt it. That's what we're going to continue to do, and even we're going after different markets. We have a thicker bubble solution for the hospitality area that we're just selling to accompany the flavor blaster, that puts a roam of smoke and bubbles on top of cocktails. That's been going super well, is super entertaining. We're looking at going after pet market, as pets love bubbles. Think about [inaudible 00:13:35] flavor bubbles or beef catnip, but also really pushing the boundaries on the different flavors for bubbles and the different ages that we're going to go after.
Interviewer: Yes. One of the reasons I was excited for this interview and really wanted to get your story out there, a lot of the interviews that I do are with businesses that have been around for a little while and we talk about the successes, how they got where they are, et cetera. I love that we're talking so early in the stage of life of your business, because it's one of those you can just tell is going to be disruptive, and it's that story that you're sharing already that we've seen this before where big disruptions in business come when a new product is introduced and it makes you go, "What the heck was I doing with that old product?" I can't imagine now giving my kids these other bubbles, because I know they're going to eat them.
Of course, it's part of the fun, when they're little kids are running around. No younger yet, the more prone you are to do that. Getting rid of that old way of doing it, bringing in safety and then on top of it, making it an even better sensory experience because it's purposeful, it's not just fun to eat it for kids and adults now. It also tastes great, adding that sensory experience it's genius. It's one of those words we can see this starting to explode already, and it's fun to share the story at the very beginning.
You've talked a little bit about your experience. I think another reason that I can see your success already and certainly going to grow more in the future is the experience you're brought into the business. What did you learn from your time spent at the largest global bubble manufacturer in the world before that you have put into this business? A lot of the changes you've made, you've talked about. The safety aspect, et cetera, but what did you learn there that is helping you already as you form this business?
Jason: I think what I really learned-- a couple of things. I would say about the business and myself. I lived in Hong Kong for about five years. First of all, going to a different country, didn't know anybody and was able to just jump right in, get alone had 60 to 70 people reporting to me at a young age where I didn't manage a single person before. I guess learning the business, but learning about yourself and the confidence.
I would say that, if you have the competence in yourself to accomplish and never quit and just keep moving forward, to pretty be able to learn anything and be able to accomplish anything whether it be in bubbles, whether it be, if you decide to go do rockets like [unintelligible 00:16:06] didn't really understand before he just learned it, he came from software. I think he, main thing I learned out there just for myself is learning, pivoting, making mistakes faster, but ultimately having the confidence in yourself. I would say that I learned a lot about some of the biggest companies on the planet and how they manufacture and how they deal with the Walmart's and Targets, and the big retailers to biggest companies.
I guess how you can disrupt and what are the gaps, and what is missing from industries that have been around for so long, because I feel there's a lot of industries that are very saturated because of the trends you think. I'm seeing [unintelligible 00:16:52] that come up every day, and everyone's jumping in. I like to be a crunch area where not a lot of people are thinking it. A lot of people in the industry hasn't changed, and to find those niches, people say bubbles are niche, but really it's a large industry and it hasn't been changed and everybody loves bubbles, as well as it hits at an age where it's sensory like you mentioned.
It also where it will always be around. It doesn't compete against an iPad, or a technology where parents are trying to get a kid out of the iPad coma is that they get into all, "I want to watch YouTube", but really bubbles will always be around and really not compete against that compared to some of these older toys. My thing is, what I learned is who is the consumer and really obsess about who is going to buy your product and the gaps that are in that opportunity, and to get market research and see if people are actually going to buy it.
I was fortunate enough where there's preliminary research of even edible bubbles and people eating bubbles at the company to test it, to see if the market was there, so many people would be interested and that's why I pursued this. I would say that learning as much as you can about the market potential, but also testing and getting the confidence in yourself to just pursue it and go for it.
Interviewer: That's great advice. I love how you led with learning about yourself. Is it really that were part of the path to success? That's one singularity I would find between the hundreds of inventors and entrepreneurs we've worked with or I've interviewed over the years for our business or our podcast, is that bringing the learnings into your business. There's no single path to it. I get asked all the time, just because the nature of our business, we work with product launches day in and day out. They will just advice on, "Hey, what experience do I need to become an entrepreneur inventor or whatever?"
There's no single answer, I think experience is key, but there's no one way to get. It might be living in Hong Kong for five years, working in manufacturing and having 70 people report to you. My background, I started, I was as a public accountant, as far from this world as you can imagine, but you still it's the experience you bring into everything you do. It's learning about yourself as a great way to word that, I think of learning what your capabilities are and expanding them. Then you don't learn in a lot of the ways, some of your weaknesses as well, and we all have them. You fill those gaps with what you do well and what you need help on. That's a great way to word that.
Let me steal that for my further advice I give. Let's start with learning about yourself, because I've also mentioned that in roundabout ways before, but it's a great way to succinctly explain that as well.
Jason: No, absolutely. Yes. I guess the first part, like I mentioned, was learning about yourself and what really motivates you and what are you going to do, but I would say that never quit it was also, like keep pushing for it because there were plenty of days when I was in Hong Kong by myself, I'd come home and I'm like, "What am I doing? Seriously, what am I doing?" It's the fact and the knowledge into yourself that you're on the right path and just yet. There's a lot of definitely stumbling blocks.
I would say the biggest one, when I started out three months in and people began to quit. I was like, "Why are people--?" First of all, I've never understood that someone will quit. Some people out there are not always going to agree with you, some people are going to want to do their own thing. I would say that you learn on what the company needs, as opposed to the individual, and as well as things are not always going to go your way. You just keep pivoting, you just keep going on. You keep [inaudible 00:20:40]. Ultimately, it was super successful.
Interviewer: That's great. What's next for your business?
Jason: Next thing for my business, I really want to get into flavors, different sizes, different packs into bubbles. That is where most of the business-- When I say [inaudible 00:20:59] right now we're selling a 2.5-ounce variety four pack, four different flavors, but imagine you have like 100 ounces of chocolate bubbles, and you're able to put that into your extensive bubble machine bubble toys. Then I would say a couple of other bubble machines and expanding into the pet and adult hospitality areas. Then we have a couple other really cool innovations that are going to disrupt it even further when it comes to delivery systems and different markets.
Interviewer: That's great. That's exciting. I'm excited to follow along with your story. Is there anything, Jason, that I didn't ask that you think could be helpful for our audience?
Jason: I think you asked a lot of great questions. I think it was good. I think that I would just leave my legacy never give up. Maybe this is just my opinion, but I always hear that most startups, 9 out of 10 they say, fail. I often question how or in what situations, because I feel like you can never fail if you don't quit. In my mind would be never quit, even though you may feel like it's the worst, you just keep going, keep pivoting, pivot fast, learn fast. I think if I had to restart, I would have launched the product sooner, as opposed to maybe waited to perfect a few things, get more feedback from the consumer, and just learn faster, and make decisions faster.
Interviewer: That's good advice. I think your testing is key. Part of that is upfront, you talked about market research, let's make sure first is there an opportunity here before you spend your own time effort and sweat equity behind this. Once you get to there, though, it's so important to have market research, but realizing that testing is part of research and doing small launches, learning along the way is something you learn as you launch products, that you can make that a little faster, get to market faster, learn directly from consumers that way as well. That's great. I've really enjoyed this interview, I know our audience is going to love as well hearing exactly the advice you gave and hearing your story.
I do encourage everybody to check out bubbleuniverse.com, go check out Jason's website and see this line of products, is really cool. It's a great site that you put together, by the way, Jason, I think it just looks fantastic and that matches the coolness of the product. I'll say to our audience, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Harvest Growth podcast. Our goal is to seek, to teach the latest strategies and trends, and talking to seasoned entrepreneurs and new businesses like Bubble Universe. I think he's got some great techniques he's learned from past businesses that are being clearly shown here. It was a great content for all of us.
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