Alana Andrews, 16, is a born entrepreneur. Since the age of seven she has written two books, produced a song on iTunes, established a website and brand (So Positive, LLC) that promotes confidence and self-esteem in girls and young women, and she has addressed audiences from elementary schools to the largest women’s business conference in Virginia. Not surprising that she also sits on a board to mentor young entrepreneurs.
Now, she has created a natural sports drink. At the age of eight, she was diagnosed as being borderline diabetic. Worried that the disease would impact her life as it had for other family members, she began exercising rigorously and took up tennis. When she turned to sports drinks however, she found they were loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. “I couldn’t find anything that I could drink on those really hot days when I needed to replenish electrolytes,” said Andrews. “Everything I found on store shelves had a lot of sugar and that was detrimental to my goal to beat diabetes.” Her Indiegogo campaign can be found here.
According to a 2020 report on diabetes in the U.S. by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 34.2 million adults in the U.S. have diabetes and 88 million have pre-diabetes. The report also notes that new diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes have “significantly increased in youth.” The report points out the large numbers of Americans experiencing cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease, limb amputation and other morbidities due to diabetes.
“It was surprising to me that there are so many sports drinks on the market with an abundance of sugar and artificial ingredients and color,” said Andrews. “We know that people who are active, exercising and participating in sports have an interest in maintaining good health. Yet, they’ll reach for a drink that is not healthy.”
So, she launched a new company and a sports drink, SWEY (Strong, Wise, Energetic, Youth) that targets young athletes and provides natural replenishment with five to 15 calories per 16.9 ounce bottle. Natural flavors include citrus sizzle (orange and tangerine,) major kiwi (strawberry and kiwi) and tropicalada (pineapple and coconut.) In addition to natural flavorings, SWEY contains A, B and E vitamins; magnesium and zinc; electrolytes; coconut juice and is sweetened with monk fruit, stevia and erythritol (sugar alcohol.)
SWEY has been created as a company with plans to launch additional Gen Z products in the future. “While there’s a lot of competition in the marketplace for sports drinks, there are none that have taken our approach as well as our focus on Gen Z,” Andrews explained. “This product, and subsequent products that will follow, have been created for Gen Z by Gen Z.”
Andrews conducted dozens of focus groups and years of research to get the flavors and ingredients just right. In addition, she spoke with dozens of athletes, athletic directors and coaches in multiple sports disciplines. Focus groups represented a broad spectrum of demographics and ages, as well as Generation Z. Most non-Gen Z participants also expressed interest in purchasing the drinks.
The company is now raising capital via Indiegogo and plans a rollout in mid-March with drinks available online. For more information, visit www.sweytoplay.com or go to the Indiegogo page: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/swey-natural-gen-z-sports-drink-made-by-gen-z#.
As a third-grader, when Alana was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, she joined Girls on the Run, a national non-profit that helps girls build confidence through strong physical and emotional health. It was extremely influential on Alana and she has pledged to donate a portion of her profits to the organization.