Figg's tests, expands product line

April 18, 2014
by Candace Harrell, Richland Source

Figg’s Liquid Innovations is expanding their product offering. Founder Korinna Goettel held a taste test last month in Bellville to determine the formula that will become Figg’s newest item: a refreshing beverage in a 16 ounce container.

Currently, the company produces Figg’s Apple Pie, a non-alcoholic cocktail mix made from Ohio apple cider. The details of the newest beverage have yet to be announced.

Goettel said the new product will have all natural ingredients and very little added sugar, “We’re having a new label designed to emphasize all the good stuff about this.”

In the blind taste test, three samples were available and numbered. Participants were asked to taste all three and select a favorite.

Edward Klesack preferred sample 3. “It’s a little bit sweeter, which mixes better with the cinnamon, though I could taste the cinnamon in all three.”

Pam Mack said she preferred sample 1 and had never tasted a Figg’s product before. Mack said, “I like it. It was very smooth, very nice. It’s not overpowering.”

Jeremy Hawkins said he preferred number 3, which he described as sweeter.

Terrie Bonfiglio, Executive in Residence at Braintree Business Development Center explained the taste test as a form of product validation, a process in which entrepreneurs explore the public’s reaction to a selected product. In this case, the samples offered are three varieties of Figg’s Liquid Innovation formulas. Goettel develops a formula for the newest product, but must discover if the buying public would choose the same formula.

Product validation is an integral part of Braintree’s business canvas.

“Part of what we do, instead of using a forty or fifty page business plan, entrepreneurs that come to Braintree are asked to do a one page business canvas. On that business canvas they lay out what they suspect is going to be their product,” said Bonfiglio. “Our job is to help them fail fast, to a positive end. We want them to go out and actually meet with customers, talk to customers, have the would-be customers validate the choices they have made for their product.”

Bonfiglio explained that by helping an entrepreneur “fail fast”, Braintree is encouraging them to get their mistakes out of the way.

Using Goettel’s endeavor as an example, Bonfiglio continued, “If she likes the flavor but none of the buying public does, that’s a problem. We’re trying to mitigate that risk by going to the public and saying, ‘Choose one. Do you like any of these?’ It may or may not be the flavor that she actually picked in the first place. That’s how she is able very quickly then validate what we assume the buying public would like.”

“By doing these samplings and so forth, and verifying what she believes her product should be, we feel she’ll be much more successful when she actually brings the product to market,” added Bonfiglio.

Bonfiglio noted that all of Braintree’s entrepreneurs must face a similar task: approach customers, discover customer preferences, and return to study what worked and what failed.

Of Goettel’s aspiration, Bonfiglio said, “Korinna is exploring a lot of new opportunities, especially coming out with this second size. It’s looking very promising. We’re meeting with a lot of new vendors to help her with that next scale-up.”

Figg’s newest product should be on store shelves in four to six weeks. Be sure to watch for updates.

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