Behind the Brand
AVEC was founded by Alex Doman and Dee Charlemagne, former Columbia Business School classmates who met on their first day of their program. While most of their fellow classmates intended to go into finance or consulting post-graduation, Alex and Dee were both entrepreneurially-minded and frequently discussed business ideas together. Alex had been working as a management consultant in the food and beverage industry when he came to a sudden realization: there were better-for-you alternatives for almost every category imaginable, whether it was plant-based milk or low-calorie ice cream, but there had hardly been any innovation in the mixer category. He began to dream up a mixer that contained real fresh fruit and natural botanicals with low sugar and zero concentrates. Alex pitched the idea to Dee, who had worked in advertising for the previous decade, and the duo decided to pursue the concept together.
Neither Alex nor Dee had created a product before, so they initially experimented with recipes at home but later brought on a formulator to help them develop a commercially-viable product. They won $10,000 from a Columbia pitch competition that went to their first production run, and just one day after their graduation, Alex and Dee found themselves with 40,000 cans of AVEC mixers. They shipped out all of their early orders from their small Brooklyn warehouse, with Alex delivering product to retail stores in a $1,000 Chevy van that they had bought on Craigslist. Boosted by features in the New York Times and Food & Wine, Alex and Dee ended up selling 100,000 cans and selling out 4 times in their first year. Today, AVEC has grown into a market leader in the better-for-you mixer category, offering healthier and tastier versions for the modern drinker.