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The Plug

A recovery drink brand offering herbal plant-based shots to combat drinking and hangovers.

  • AAPI-Founded
  • Clean Ingredients
FOUNDER Ray Kim & Justin Kim
HEADQUARTERS Los Angeles, CA
The Plug

Behind the Brand

The Plug was founded by brothers Ray Kim and Justin Kim. Raised in an entrepreneurial household, Ray and Justin grew up inherently curious and constantly brainstormed business ideas together. As they graduated from college, both brothers entered the corporate world, adapting to a new lifestyle and seeking out healthier alternatives to boost their productivity. During this time, Ray and Justin began to notice a growing demand for a hangover solution; they found that younger consumers wanted to be able to enjoy a drink with friends and still be productive at work the next day. However, upon doing more research into the space, the brothers realized that there were very limited options for truly effective hangover recovery products in the U.S. market.

Leveraging their knowledge of Korean herbal drinks that had long been household staples in East Asia, Ray and Justin decided to bring a proven solution from Korea to American consumers. Over the course of three years, they taste-tested over 50 different iterations of the drink and partnered with an FDA-compliant manufacturing facility in South Korea to bring The Plug to life. Millions of dollars were invested into a proprietary cutting-edge distillation process that produces The Plug’s unique formula today. Leading up to their direct-to-consumer launch, Ray and Justin tapped a marketing agency to develop their brand identity and launched a successful Indiegogo campaign that hit its goal within 24 hours. With funding secured from high-profile individuals such as Wish.com’s co-founder and CEO Peter Szulczewkski and NBA basketball player Myles Turner, the Kim brothers are making hangovers a problem of the past.

Meet the Maker

What has been your most unforgettable moment (good or bad) while building your company? - +

Ray: My most unforgettable moment while building our Company was when walking on the floor to the arena for UFC 264 with my brother and co-founder, Justin. It was a sense of accomplishment as we put on our VIP Sponsor tags and it made us both realize how hard we had been working and that global brands and sporting leagues like UFC recognized us as and considered us worthy enough to showcase on their main stage event. This was a proud emotional moment that we will both never forget and is a constant reminder to continue working hard and to make a positive impact on people’s lives one at a time.
Justin: One unforgettable moment, I remember clearly was when I had an outside agency work on our website and accidentally saved their work on top of our current live website. I remember looking at my brother, Ray that day like “what just happened” type of look (funny looking back at it now). That day we lost about 10 day’s worth of development work and instead of blaming each other, we got back to it and developed the website back to where it was in two days. From that day forward we have multiple copies of our current live website, incase anything happens as we realized how sensitive one thing can change our business overnight.

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time? - +

Ray: My favorite thing to do in my free time is watch sports, specifically baseball and decompress. Along with trying new restaurants around the city.
Justin: My favorite thing to do in my free time is watch movies and try new activities. I also enjoy playing with my two shih tzu dogs.

What is an essential part of your daily routine? - +

Ray: An essential part of my daily routine is making my pour over coffee when I get to the office. I first ground my fresh coffee beans and then pour them in the filter within the pour over brewer. Then, I grab my kettle with hot water and start pouring it over in a circular motion, while the coffee aroma fills the office. This gets me calm, focused and ready to start my day since every single day is different as an entrepreneur and always hectic and busy.
Justin: An essential part of my daily routine is meditating in the morning when I wake up. I am constantly on my phone and laptop, so it is really nice to wake up and madidate before starting my day with a fresh and clear mind. Also, another essential part is working out after a long day of work. I enjoy working out as not only does it get me in a well-rested mindset before ending the day, but it also helps me destress daily.

What is your biggest pet peeve? - +

Ray: My biggest pet peeve is not having attention to detail. My first job out of college as an investment banking analyst trained me to be very attentive to detail. From the way certain texts are portrayed and laid out on powerpoint presentations to the grammatical nature of a sentence to the message the photo is sending across. This is something that I bring to our in-house creative team when editing certain assets and those details really do make a difference in how our brand, The Plug, is portrayed. This is why not having attention to detail is my biggest pet peeve.
Justin: My biggest pet peeve is when someone tells me that they will have something finished by a certain date and they do not finish it by that date. As long as I receive a heads up that is fine, but for me I am a very schedule oriented person, so when something is not done at a specific date as requested it throws off my scheduled events and plans whether it is for The Plug Drink and our different projects we work on daily within the company.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you? - +

Most people don’t know that I actually was the assistant baseball pitching coach for NYU while I was working on wall street. After I would get out of work around 8pm, I would get ready and head to NYU and we would go to our NJ facility to train until 2am. I really enjoyed it since I had just graduated playing baseball all four years as the closing pitcher for The University of Chicago so it was great giving back to the NYU baseball pitchers giving advice where I could. I would also travel to Coney Island where our games were played and it was an interesting experience being in the same dougout, but as a coach, which I had never done before.
Justin: One thing that most people do not know about me is that I was a runner up to be on America’s Next Top Model for Cycle 21.

What do you want to be remembered for? - +

Ray: I want to be remembered for helping innovate a new emerging “liver health drink” category with my brother by bringing awareness to one’s liver health through The Plug Drink. Also by sitting at the hybrid of science and marketing, I want to be remembered by bringing The Plug Drink to the masses as a household product, positively impacting people’s lives both young and old.
Justin: I want to be remembered for bringing a proven concept from their parent’s home country and westernizing it. Every country has unique concepts that work very well in each respective country and being able to westernize a proven concept in a different country is something that is very important as each country begins to become more cultured each year.

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