Kate Reeder

Coolstuff Team
March 15, 2024

Meet Kate, COO & head of brand of United Sodas. The Williamsburg native spends her days cooking & escaping to Sag Harbor on the weekends. Starting out on the advertising strategy side before working on brand ideas for United Sodas, she’s always been a flavored soda super fan. The Brooklyn-based soda startup’s mission is a healthier alternative to traditional sodas, with flavors just as delicious. Read on to see how Kate got in on the soda biz.

What led you to your work as head of Brand at United Sodas?

Before joining United Sodas, I worked at advertising and digital agencies, both big and small. When I first started off, brands were just beginning to explore social media, bloggers reigned supreme, and tumblr’s were still flourishing. While working with my clients, it became very clear who had a strong brand foundation and how much opportunity that unlocked (while also making the work more fun!). This realization sparked my passion for branding.

And it just so happens that I also love beverages. I was known for carrying around a bag from my bodega with 5-6 drinks for the day because I couldn’t settle on just one! When I had the opportunity to join a company reimagining soda, it was a no brainer. I was excited to join a startup, and selfishly, I really wanted United Sodas to exist. After trying the first prototype, I was hooked by how tasty they were. It might sound dramatic, but after that I couldn’t go back to my old beverage ways. That moment sealed my commitment to the brand. 

Do you have a favorite United Sodas flavor?

While I enjoy all the flavors, I often find myself returning to Blackberry Jam. Not only does it taste delicious, but the flavor name also holds a special significance for me. The profile incorporates notes of Marion blackberries from Oregon, which is where my dad is from. He happens to love Blackberry Jam, so it's a nod to him as well.

What’s the best part about the New York small business community? 

The best part is undoubtedly the people. Not only is everyone smart and passionate, but they are also incredibly eager to share. There's a natural camaraderie because we all understand the challenges of building something from scratch. Meeting so many talented individuals, both in the spotlight and behind the scenes of these remarkable companies, and learning from their experiences has been an amazing journey.

Where do you get inspiration for the United Sodas branding?

So many places! In terms of other brands, I draw inspiration from challenger brands that changed the way we look and think about their categories. Think what Nike did for running shoes, Apple did for computers, and Chobani did for yogurt. Before Chobani, I associated yogurt with artificial flavors, unnaturally bright colors, and a ton of sugar. And for a while, we all just assumed that was just the way the yogurt aisle would be forever. Now that feels like such a distant past, and I’m hoping we can do the same thing for the soda aisle. When people think of ‘soda’, I want them to picture a company they can trust, a product they can trust and, above all, a delicious, refreshing, and flavorful experience. 

I also find inspiration in people and stories. United Sodas has a unique story to tell, and it's crucial to step back from the day-to-day operations to see how all our decisions contribute to this larger narrative. We constantly ask ourselves if these decisions align with the brand vision and if they help tell our story in the best possible way.

Follow Along: