It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. In Blake Settle’s case, necessity presented an opportunity to create a product that is revolutionizing an entire industry.
In 2017, Blake was a student at the University of Texas, Austin, studying chemical engineering. One night, he was up late cramming for an exam in the library, and he was exhausted. However, at that hour of the night, no coffee shop was open, so Blake turned to the vending machine.
Unfortunately, as a type 1 diabetic, the sugary drinks in the vending machine would do more harm than good. He resorted to chewing sugar-free gum to stay awake and had an idea: As a chemical engineering major, he could figure out how to get caffeine into chewing gum and help others like him.
In February 2018, Blake’s idea came to life with his new company, REV GUM. This is a CPG brand that manufactures and distributes innovative chewing gum. The gum comes in two versions: regular strength and extra strength.
Regular strength REV GUM contains 60 mg of caffeine, similar to a shot of espresso. The extra strength one contains 100 mg, like a double shot of espresso. This differs from other versions of caffeinated gum on the market that contain an average of 40mg of caffeine. Consumers looking for a serious energy boost would definitely do better with REV GUM over the others.
REV GUM’s target market is also distinct. From the beginning, Blake was thinking of a product that would resonate with the younger generation, like students, looking for alternatives to energy drinks. The company’s core users are people in the 18–28 age group. These people lead an active lifestyle that an extra energy boost would improve.
The team at REV GUM adds to the allure of their product through its packaging. REV GUM comes in a blister pack that allows consumers to have one piece of gum at a time. This gives them the convenience of resealing the bag after use and preventing the remaining pieces from spilling.
REV GUM’s marketing approach also sets the company apart from its competitors. It has a robust approach that meets the consumers where they are. From sampling to full retailer support, REV delivers the elements needed to drive traffic to the stores that sell their products.
The company has also been granted test phases at several chain stores that ultimately turned into full distribution. In 2019, REV GUM launched in Buc-ee’s and quickly became their top-selling product. Other notable milestones include securing space in Loves, Pilot, 7-Eleven, AEFES, and CK Midwest.
Today, you can find REV GUM in over 200 convenience stores, and the number is growing by the day as they market to more regional and national chains. In December, for instance, REV GUM expects to go live in Wawa. The product development team is also working to introduce four more flavors to give consumers more choices to pick from.
Currently, REV GUM is on track to hit their first $1M in sales. In the future, the company will continue to add new accounts, grow distribution, and add new marketing partnerships that will increase REV GUM’s reach in Austin and other parts of the country.