Chris Gronkowski: Building a Better Shaker Cup at Ice Shaker | Episode #136

For our final installment of Podcasts held at the 2024 Vitamin Shoppe Brand Summit, we hosted Chris Gronkowski of Ice Shaker for a fun 20 minute discussion to get the story on how he started the growing business, which was first introduced to the world on the hit TV show, Shark Tank.

From the NFL to Shark Tank to the NFL: Chris Gronkowski’s Ice Shaker Story

Chris Gronkowski of Ice Shaker on PricePlow Podcast Episode #136

Chris Gronkowski jumps on PricePlow Podcast Episode #136 to tell the Ice Shaker story and detail their many innovations

In this episode, Chris details how he leveraged some success from his wife’s Etsy business — which was making more money than his NFL salary — into the most innovative shaker cup company in the entire space.

We learn about his experience on Shark Tank, and then get into some of the nuts and bolts of the various versions of Ice Shaker, and how he got it to where it is. We also get to learn about the numerous collaborations they have, which includes DragonBall Z and the NFL.

Watch on YouTube below, listen on Spotify, or find PricePlow on iTunes or any RSS-enabled podcast app. And of course, don’t forget to sign up for our Ice Shaker news alerts.

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Show Notes with Chris Gronkowski

  • 0:00 – Introduction

    Ice Shaker

    The world’s best shaker cup!

    Mike and Ben welcome Chris Gronkowski from Ice Shaker to Episode #136 of the PricePlow Podcast. Chris shares his journey of starting a business from a side hustle making personalized gifts while out of the NFL, which evolved into creating an insulated shaker bottle business. His entrepreneurial venture took off after he got a chance to pitch on “Shark Tank,” where he received an offer from all five sharks, leading to rapid business growth.

    This experience involved expanding from a single product to over 200 SKUs, moving operations from his house to a warehouse, and reinvesting all earnings back into the company. Chris emphasizes the unscripted nature of “Shark Tank,” detailing the extensive and personal vetting process by the sharks, underscoring the show’s impact on his business’s trajectory and the authenticity of his pitch on the show.

  • 8:00 – Collaborations

    Ben highlights the collaborative nature of Chris’s business, which has partnered with major industry names and even engaged in a collaboration with Dragonball Z. Chris elaborates on the flexibility of his business model, which allows for quick customization of products, such as adding logos to existing stock within three to five business days, or creating completely custom products with unique textures and designs, though these take significantly longer (90-120 days) to produce.

    He also discusses the complexities of evolving product designs based on customer feedback, from the initial simple insulated cup with a shaker top to more sophisticated versions with improved features like straps, handles, agitators, and even a finger guard introduced in 2020 to address hygiene concerns. The continuous product evolution, driven by customer feedback and practical challenges, showcases the intricate process behind perfecting a seemingly simple product like a shaker bottle.

  • 12:00 – Design Considerations

    PricePlow Custom Ice Shaker

    Customize your own Ice Shaker today!

    Mike and Chris discuss the practical design improvements of a shaker bottle, emphasizing the company’s commitment to customer-driven innovation. Initially, the bottle featured a silicone strap that was prone to snapping, leading to the introduction of a more durable handle. Mike appreciates the silicone base, which reduces noise during early morning workouts, highlighting the small yet significant innovations that enhance user experience.

    Chris confirms that customer feedback directly influences changes, such as the contour of the bottle’s lip and adjustments to the agitator to prevent protein powder from sticking. They also delve into the collaborative process with manufacturers to ensure design feasibility and functionality, revealing that the design and engineering aspects involve both in-house and external partners. Additionally, Chris mentions a unique product variant: a shaker bottle with a detachable speaker, a collaboration with Bump Box, showcasing their inventive approach to product development.

  • 16:00 – The Future of Ice Shaker

    Chris discusses the future direction of his shaker bottle company, emphasizing their successful expansion into licensed collaborations, such as with the NFL. These collaborations have allowed them to introduce team-specific and themed full-color printed bottles. Chris sees a significant opportunity in the sports sector, noting the lack of a dominant player in sports hydration products at youth games, where bottles often get damaged.

    To address this, his company is developing prototypes with hooks to attach the bottles securely to sports infrastructure like baseball fences, enhancing durability and convenience. He shares his personal connection to sports, coaching his children and participating in their activities, which fuels his passion and informs the company’s focus on sports-related innovations. This blend of personal interest and business innovation underpins the company’s strategy to delve deeper into sports hydration solutions.

  • 19:15 – Variety and Use Cases

    Chris Gronkowski of Ice Shaker on PricePlow Podcast Episode #136

    Chris highlights the user-friendly features of his company’s shaker bottles, particularly the silent agitator that distinguishes them from noisier blender bottles with metal balls. He points out that this feature caters to users who seek discretion in environments like gyms or offices. Chris also elaborates on the versatility of the bottles, noting that they function as strainers, have measurement marks for other uses like pouring shots, and uniquely, they float in water, making them popular during lake season.

    Furthermore, Chris mentions the water resistance of their speaker-equipped bottles, cautioning that while they can handle some water exposure, they aren’t fully waterproof. He wraps up discussing future plans, including expanding product sizes and accessories, and continuing fruitful partnerships with major sports leagues to leverage their wide-ranging licenses.

Where to Find Chris Gronkowski and Ice Shaker

Thanks to Chris for joining us and leveling up the shaker cup industry!

Subscribe to the PricePlow Podcast on your favorite platform and sign up for our Ice Shaker news alerts on PricePlow. Leave some great reviews on iTunes and Spotify!

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About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public. Mike is currently experimenting with a low Vitamin A diet.

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