Reality television star Albie Manzo says that failing out of law school was one of the most devastating things he has ever experienced.
“I worked really hard as an undergraduate, and aced the LSATS,” said Manzo, who appears on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. “But when I got to law school, I struggled. I think I missed the cut off by a few hundredths of a point.”
Despite this setback, Manzo pushed forward and is now part owner of blk.beverages
, a company that sells a line of all-natural mineral water products with a twist: the water is all black. Manzo spoke about blk, his company’s marketing strategies and his role on the hit reality show to a receptive student audience in September at the Rauch Business Center’s Perella Auditorium. The event was sponsored by the department of marketing.
Manzo says that blk is the first fulvic mineral-enhanced all-natural beverage on the market. The minerals, which give the product its distinct black coloring, are derived from plant matter and processed with purified water. The product also is packed with electrolytes and has a slightly alkaline pH, which, according to the company’s website, is important in balancing people’s often acid-forming diets of meat, sugary snacks and other food products. blk recently launched a line of flavored water products to better compete in the beverage marketplace.
“I’ve been told time and again that 90 percent of beverage ventures fail,” said Manzo. “When I did my first trade show a few years ago, I was told that this wouldn’t last. I’m very confident in our company, and passionate about this and what we do.”
While Manzo acknowledged the benefit of having the platform of the Housewives reality program for marketing his product, he says that producers of the show aren’t necessarily invested in promoting blk or any of the other cast members’ business ventures. Instead, Manzo says that his company relies on an aggressive social media strategy and a clear sense of blk’s target demographic.
“In marketing, you really have to know who you are. Our target demographic is women who are 25 and younger who are active and who can commit to our product long term,” he said.
He has partnered with distributors to place blk in stores across the nation, though most of these locations are in the Northeast. The product sells for about $2.50 per bottle.
“Our brand is about getting better and self-improvement. We’ve partnered with multiple charities and foundations,” said Manzo, who encouraged students to pursue their dreams and ideas, no matter how far-fetched they may seem to others.
“Some of the best ideas in the world start off as ‘stupid’ ideas. But you have to push past that and stick to what you believe.”
Photo by Sarah Barnett
Story by Karl Brisseaux '11
Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013