The Naturally Sweet Success of the PUR Company
PUR Company (PUR) is a symbiotic relationship of three things. Simple substitutions, inclusion and the highest quality of both product and service.
PUR Gum and PUR Mints offer consumers natural substitutions who are looking for healthier options to fit their healthier lifestyles or to accommodate their dietary restrictions. With gum and mint that is vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut and peanut-free. And made with xylitol (a natural sweetener) the gum also includes those dealing with diabetes and gives them the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures of chewing gum.
These three things have created the backbone that is seen throughout PUR’s gums, mints and and overall vibe.
But these three foundational things are just the face of what makes PUR successful. The history or PUR showcases the ups and downs and how it lead PUR to what it is today.
If we go way back, the story starts with Jay Klein, the founder of PUR as a young kid selling candy out of his backpack. Then fast forwarding to 2007 when Klein took a year before potentially going to law school to start his own advertising and marketing business.
Taking this chance, Klein created a his own brand. It was a called Bonus and it was a gum made with with super-food ingredients. And while it was working in the beginning, in the end, Klein had to walk away.
“I was in over my head and had to walk away from the table,” says Klein in an interview with the National Post. “[We were] over-inventoried. It was a really steep ride up [but] a quick fizzle.” But the demise of Bonus gum helped pave the way for future success of PUR Gum.
Klein rethought everything and decided to just start out small. As he likes to call it him and his team decided to take PUR Gum and ‘run for mayor’. The process of ‘running for mayor’ goes like this. With his team, Klein went door to door and prioritized connecting, educating and building relationships with customers and retailers.
“We didn’t build our brand on the backs of the one giant retailer, which is usually a very aspirational thing for most small brands. We did it more door-to-door. Each year we grew and we were very persistent, hardworking and humble. And it worked,” says Klein in an interview with Abigail Watt for Candy Industry.
And it really did work. From the brand’s first month in May 2010 to July of that same year, PUR Gum’s earned it’s place on the shelves of 33 local health food stores to 174 stores.
PUR Gum only continued to gain more momentum. In 2011 the gum was introduced to the U.S market and was starting to line the shelves of duty-free shops in airports.
But one of the biggest wins for the brand came in 2014. Klein and his team made an appearance on CBC‘s Dragon’s Den. Like many people, before them, they made their pitch and waited to see if any dragon would want to make a deal. They didn’t get the attention of one dragon. They got the attention of four.
Four dragons offered three deals with Klein and his team. After careful deliberation, Klein accepted a joint deal between Arelene Dickinson and Jim Trevliving for one million dollars. Making Klein the first ever million-dollar deal in the history of Dragon’s Den. (You can watch the million dollar deal here.)
Within a year, PUR went on to expand their products to include PUR Mints. The mints hold all the values and standard of the gum but in mint form. Adding to the success of the gum, the company continued to grow.
Then, in 2016, PUR became Canada’s tenth fastest growing company and Toronto’s fourth. But PUR hasn’t reached its goal just yet and it’s still looking to grow.
“We want to strengthen our global footprint, and we want to keep penetrating the existing retailers. I think a big part of the growth will be to expand the PUR brand, to take the same brand values that we are operating by and continue to innovate with new products that match the demand of our customers,” says Klein.
Even within its brief history, it’s quite easy to see that PUR is a successful business. With its gums and mints sold in over 25 countries worldwide, it’s easy to wonder and want to know how you can do the same.
Jay Klein’s advice?
“Be motivated by creating something for the greater good, instead of being driven by a monetary milestone – that allows you to learn from your mistakes and take risks and also grow from passion.”
PUR gum and mints are available in health and local stores around you. For more information about the company, its founder or its products you can check out their website.
And remember, Kick Aspartame!