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The Catalyst
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Women and the Law

June 2016, vol. 21, no. 5

From Jenner partner to founder of KRā, Drinks for Athletes

20 years ago everyone told me that working at a large firm would be a great place to start my career. “You can go anywhere from there. It will launch you in any direction you want to go.” I believed it, of course, but had no idea what it would really mean for me.

Until now. After 18 years, I left Jenner and founded an organic sports drink company called KRā, Drinks for Athletes, Inc. I knew I wanted to do something entrepreneurial, something sports related, and something where I could give back to society. Ideally, something that would give me a little better work/life balance. And, something that would allow me to play more tennis and coach more soccer.

The idea of KRā stemmed from spending countless hours on the soccer, baseball, and softball fields and seeing an insane amount of Gatorade chugged on the sidelines. I tried to get my kids to drink water. It’s the best hydration. But lots of times kids want something more than water, and there were just no good options. Certainly nothing that was cool, or hip, or cutting edge. I wanted something that was clean, without the neon-bright artificial dyes, chemicals and preservatives found in most sports drinks, but it couldn’t be boring. And, everything organic seemed to be targeted to a Gen-X woman, rather than a young athlete. I wanted to fill the void in the $7 billion sports drink market with a cool, organic sports drink. So, I reconnected with a friend from law school, Dan Trainor, and we developed the concept for KRā. We brought in Annie Hesser, a great tennis partner, and even better marketing mind.

Launching KRā has been fantastic, and has pretty much fit the bill. We built a company from scratch (entrepreneurial), an organic sports drink (sports-related), and created KRā for Play as a way to donate a portion of profits to underserved sports organizations (giving back). I’m playing on two tennis teams and coaching several soccer teams. And I am able to spend lots of time with my four kids (though most of it is while I work on KRā sitting at our kitchen island). Life balance . . . working on it.

I thought the hardest part of the journey would be going from concept to product. Making the idea real, developing the flavor, designing the packaging, determining our brand voice, bottling our drink (with about 1,000 steps in between). After 18 months in the works, we have our product in hand. KRā has officially launched. We are on the shelves at several stores in DC and available on-line on Amazon.com. Woohoo! The hard part is over, right?

Nope. The cool, but also scary, thing about being an entrepreneur is that the learning curve at every turn is close to 90 degrees. Challenging, but also, really fun. Our next big step, now that we have an awesome product, and it is available on Amazon, is to get people to buy the product we worked so hard to develop.

That’s where you come in! We have four flavors of KRā available on Amazon.com as of May 2nd. I’d love my legal peers to give our company a boost by spreading the word on our better-for-you sports drink. We look forward to hydrating you and your families on and off the field.

There is no doubt that the time I spent at Jenner prepared me for the challenges faced on a daily basis as an entrepreneur. Launching a company requires tons of energy and focus, but it sure is fun!

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Sarah Hardgrove-Koleno
Co-Founder and CEO
KRā, Drinks for Athletes, Inc.
www.drinkkra.com
sarah@drinkkra.com