Meet The Female Entrepreneur Disrupting the Sports Drink Industry

What do you think of when you hear the term “brand innovation”? Maybe you conjure a mental image of Steve Jobs unveiling the first iPhone that kickstarted smartphone technology, or Elon Musk’s commitment to have Tesla spearhead an accessible and affordable electric vehicle for public consumer markets. Perhaps you think of Coca-Cola’s recent push away from selling solely soft drinks to occupy space in the tea, flavored sparkling water, and energy drink markets.

Oftentimes when it comes to brand innovation, we tend to settle on the idea or image of a company that has solidified itself as a disruptor in its industry. After all, the aspects of a company that qualify it as a disrupter tend to highlight the company itself as an underdog, brushing shoulders against competitors entrenched in an established industry.

For any company that goes to market with a product that possesses the potential to disrupt an industry, it is vital for the company to rapidly establish itself as an innovator in its market space. This is exactly what Susan Buckwalter, co-founder of Recoup Wellness, is doing within the sports drink industry.

Disrupting an Established Industry

Susan and her co-founder, Siwat Siengsanaoh, launched Recoup Wellness in 2019 with a mission to help people feel better. The two accomplish this through their product line of ginger-based wellness drinks, the recipes for which are based on beverages that Siwat’s mother would concoct for him as a child to fight inflammation and pain from numerous surgical procedures. Each bottle contains two tsp of ginger – a dosage that has been clinically proven to promote muscle recovery, digestion, and immunity.

As an avid and lifelong athlete, Susan immediately knew that Siwat’s ginger-based formulas were a healthier alternative to sugar-loaded sports drinks, and that the inclusion of two tsp of ginger in each bottle would help boost muscle recovery and reduce inflammation after exercise. Coupled with her background in brand innovation, Susan also knew that the sports drink industry was in dire need of innovation and disruption.

“We wanted to create something that can be enjoyed after exercises like barre, Pilates and yoga, that felt like a continuation of the physical self-care that comes with workouts,” says Susan. “The ginger in Recoup not only has proven health benefits, but it also adds another dimension to the drink, a little spicy warmth that feels restorative and brings greater body awareness.  Our focus wasn’t to invent another sugar bomb to chug after football practice. It was to develop a clean, refreshing, 100% natural ginger-powered beverage product for health, hydration, fitness, and wellness.”

Together, Susan and Siwat have been able to accomplish that goal. Though trends in exercise and diet seem to change every week, with everyone from influencers to doctors stressing the importance of physical activity, health, and wellness, the trend of artificial and sugar-heavy sports drinks has hardly changed in decades. Despite the fact that the global sport and exercise beverage market was valued at roughly $22 billion USD in 2018, the market itself remains overwhelmingly saturated with unnatural, sugary drinks. By developing a unique line of ginger-based beverages that includes the scientifically proven two tsp dose to aid muscle recovery and immunity, that simultaneously eschews preservatives, GMOs, processed sugar, and stevia, Susan and Siwat have proven that innovation and disruption in the sports drink industry are both much-needed and long overdue.

Innovating Wellness Through Mindfulness

Although 2020 is now past us, many of us are still reeling from the mental and physical effects that last year’s global pandemic has had on us, but more importantly on our health and wellness. It’s no secret or surprise that spending months on end in isolation and quarantine, as well as the impact the pandemic has had on society as a whole, has been detrimental to the health and wellness of billions of people since last March.

With the advent of a new year and COVID-19 vaccines in public distribution in much of the world, however, many more people are approaching 2021 as the year to begin taking their mental and physical health more seriously. One way to begin taking your physical wellness seriously, as Susan explains, is to start by being consistently mindful of the food and drinks they consume and the substances we ingest into our bodies.

“Our mission at Recoup is to help people feel better and live well, and though physical wellness is vital to both of those, it is only part of the equation,” says Susan. “When you exercise your body, whether via sports or practices like barre, you have to be consciously aware of what your body is communicating. The connection between physical wellbeing and mindfulness is, for many people, often overlooked, which is one reason why it may be difficult for people to achieve their wellness goals.

Susan continues by explaining how yoga and other mindful exercises like surfing help boost and stabilize the mind-body connection to improve both mindfulness and physical wellness. This connection is likewise exemplified through Recoup’s threefold values of mindfulness and wellness as they relate to a healthy state of being: be balanced, be real, and be connected. This philosophical trifecta applies not only to Susan and Siwat as the brains and brawn behind Recoup’s disruption to the sports drink market, but also to each bottle in Recoup’s line of beverage products and the guarantee to care for the customers who consume their drinks.

“We created Recoup based on the values by which we live and aspire to live,” says Susan.

“Being balanced physically and mentally means you give yourself permission to not follow strict sets of guidelines, or unachievable diet trends, but rather to focus on finding the combinations of practices that lead to your best health and happiness. Being real is relevant not only to how we interact with each other and express our true selves, but also to how we think about our ingredients.  We use real, all-natural ingredients, nothing artificial.  Lastly, “being connected” honors the importance of our relationships to ourselves, each other and the Earth. We are all in this together.”

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