Kanga Coolers - How a Group Project Led to a 100k Handshake with Mark Cuban

Throughout my college career, I took a variety of courses. In four short years, I took Intro to Acting to Global Social Problems to Personal Finance, even Beginner Yoga. I enjoyed most of the classes I took, but none of them truly changed my life. They may have altered my thoughts, and taught me something, but nothing as extreme as the story I am about to tell regarding five students from Clemson University.

But first, a very quick back story…

About a month ago, I was listening to an episode of Shopify Masters, and it was about this company Kanga Coolers. Never heard of them but fell in love with their story, big time. I was inspired immediately. The stars lined up about a week later and I got to talk to Teddy Giard, Head of Media & Branding at Kanga Coolers, and a lover of Busch Latte.

I was so stoked to learn more about such an awesome company!

What started by a group project in an entrepreneur class eventually turned into a 100,000-dollar handshake with Mark Cuban. You could say that this class was life changing. It’s pretty remarkable, and even more inspiring, what these former tigers have done. 

It all started back in 2017 when their professor, in their entrepreneur class, asked the class to solve a problem in their lives. What problem do college kids face when they go to one of the best football schools? You guessed it, warm beer. Yuck. Disgusting. Gross.

Every Saturday, when it was time to tailgate, they noticed that once they got their freezing cold beer and by the time they walked (sometimes over a mile) to wherever they were tailgating, the beer was no longer cold. They tried Yeti coolers. Too big to haul around filled with ice. Styrofoam coolers? Too flimsy. A backpack? Forget about it. Then it hit them. Bam. Outta the blue. They had an idea. Why make a koozie for one can, when you usually buy your beer in qualities of 6, 12, 18, 24 even 30. Why not make a koozie that can fit a case of beer? Genius, right? So easy and simple. Silly us, the problem was right in front of our faces the whole time.

 But it wasn’t always that easy for these groups of students. Although they received an outrageous amount of support from family and friends, they quickly learned that, “starting a company always comes with more doubter than believers”. Even some of their classmates weren’t completely sold on this idea. I believe I read that they even got a B on their project.

But thankfully, in all aspects of life, if you believe in what you got, and really believe in it, then that is all that matters. That’s exactly what the Kanga team did. They believed and saw the potential their company had. Teddy claims having the “one team, one dream”, mentality is what drove the team back then and still drives them to this day.

Each team member had their own responsibility to learn their side of the cooler business. Some of which includes, business development, marketing, operations, media, branding and sales. Working as a team allowed them to really focus on moving forward and consistently improving. They realized that reflecting on their past is important, but their eyes aren’t too focused on the rearview but rather the goals ahead.

Personally, one thing with companies that I am always interested in is the failures and mistakes they made. So, it was only right that I asked Teddy about Kanga’s. It turns out that listening to the customer is a must. From listening, you can learn about what they want, and reduce your risks of repeating mistakes and not delivering your full potential. Also having a yearly timeline that reflects your quarterly and annual goals is a must according to Teddy.

You can learn a lot from failures but also get inspired and motivated from the highs. Back in 2019, their high was not only getting on Shark Tank, but sealing a deal with Mark Cuban for 100k and 20% of the company. But as you read earlier, they aren’t looking back at their 15 minutes of fame, as they later partner with RealTree, and professional NASCAR truck driver, Kyle Benjamin and got to be the sponsor of his truck! So sick!

 

 I was so stoked with how Teddy responded when I asked him about being on Shark Tank, a NASCAR truck and even being noticed by the biggest beer company in the world, Anheuser-Busch. ‘…with any startup there’s never time to look back. It’s funny, whenever we achieve something large as a company and it’s brought to the publics’ attention that event or action is typically months behind what the team is actually working on. It’s important to reflect and appreciate the individuals and positive steps involved in creating this company but your mindset needs to stay consistent with what’s next not what’s happening”.

So, what is Teddy and the rest of the team working on now? It’s simple, they want to create a positive lifestyle that inspires to be responsible but not taking life too seriously. I believe that’s something we can all get behind.

My favorite I like to ask is how does your company/brand/business, whatever it may be, bring the stoke? And yet again, Teddy absolutely knocked it out of the parked when I asked him this question. So, Teddy, how does Kanga Coolers bring the stoke? “Realizing that life is what you make it and nobodies time on this planet is permanent, is key. Why would you wake up and do something every day that you’re not passionate about? You won’t ever find reassuring results and ultimately you won’t ever be happy. Happiness is the key to success. If you’re happy, money is an afterthought and added bonus for living a life you deem worthwhile”. Couldn’t agree anymore with ya Teddy. I think we could all take a little something from this chat. Think about how awesome the world would be if everybody was waking up and doing what they are passionate about? I like to think it would pretty freakin’ rad!

I highly, highly, highly encourage you all to take a look Kanga’s website and shop around a bit. With being in the midst of summer, keep your drinks in mind. Please drink responsibly, and speaking of responsibility, wear your mask. Thank you.

https://kangacoolers.com/collections/shop-all

If you hurry, Kanga is now offering buy two coolers, you’ll get a free hat or t-shirt. That’s a steal.

That’s all for this blog, thank you for reading & remember, be kind.

 

  • Miles

(Don’t forget to shop Bring the Stoke)

 

https://bringthestokebrand.com/products/classic-chest-logo-long-sleeve-tee-1

https://bringthestokebrand.com/products/classic-fleece-hoodie

https://bringthestokebrand.com/products/classic-duel-logo-tee-white

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published