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Building a Brand

Natural Splash Beverages proves it's not ludicrous to think an entrepreneur can make a dent in the beverage industry.

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This story appears in the August 2001 issue of HomeOfficeMag.com.

Increasing brand recognition is always a challenge for homebased entrepreneurs, especially if you're competing with larger, more established brands. Such is the case with Minneapolis-based Natural Splash Beverages. Over the next several months, we'll track the fledgling bottled water company's progress in three installments. This is the first; check back in November for part 2.

To call Natural Splash founder Rodney Davis persistent is like calling Bea Arthur unfeminine. Definitely true, but grossly understated. "Possessed" is probably the right word for Davis. He trademarked the Natural Splash name nine years ago, but he didn't incorporate the company until 1999. During that time, he peddled Natural Splash as a lemonade, limeade, strawberry lemonade and raspberry limeade. All the ideas spoiled. Literally. "It was supposed to be refrigerated continuously, and it only had a 90-day shelf life," says Davis. "It would get to stores and sit on the floor of their cooler because it wasn't getting put on the shelf. After 90 days, it spoiled, and I lost my tail, big-time. I basically shut down the brand for a couple years."

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