Founder Q&A

Goody Founder Series: Ruby’s Noah Wunsch

Melanie Miracolo
Goody Founder Series: Ruby’s Noah Wunsch

What’s the origin story behind Ruby?

It started as something very simple: I was looking for a natural way to curb my sugar cravings. My entire life I’ve had a horrible sweet tooth, and I found I was starting to experience sugar crashes and even worse, sugar anxiety.

As I researched organic ways to stave off my desire for sweets, hibiscus kept coming up on websites and threads as a fantastic remedy. I started making hibiscus water at home and quickly became obsessed with the tart fruity flavor profile.

Being the weird obsessive that I am, I went down two rabbit holes.

1) Researching the history of hibiscus: a global plant indigenous to five regions of the world. What began as eight specific strains, blossomed into over 200. I began testing these strains to see if they had different flavor yields, and found that hibiscus sabdariffa had a wonderful cherry-like flavor profile.

2) Learning more about sugar consumption in America. I wasn’t surprised America is addicted to sugar, but I was very surprised to find that sugary beverages were the key driver of over consumption of added sugars in our daily diet.

The realization that there were very few functional water alternatives that were organic and had zero sugar, made me realize there might be a place for Ruby.

How has your background helped you launch Ruby?

I’m a culturehead - I’m obsessed with every aspect of culture.

I wanted to see if there was a way to play with access points driven by culture that could create an aspirational brand mentality for a beverage brand.

It’s definitely a little bit of the, “when they go left, we go right,” mentality, but it’s also reverse engineering how I want to be spoken to as a consumer.

What factors have led to Ruby’s success so far?

I think the fact that we are a zero sugar product with a full flavor is key. It also helps that we’re working to build a new category around hibiscus.

But I think people are having an emotional connection to the brand through our content strategy, which includes a weekly cultural dispatch with zero marketing, a monthly custom mix with up-and-coming and emerging musicians, and a series called “for .FUN” where we collaborate with amazing young designers.

What specific health benefits does Ruby offer? 

The zero sugar part is key for us (or the low sugar if you’re drinking our lightly sweetened, which has just 4g of sugar and is a great starting point if you’re weaning off of sugar). But hibiscus has been known to have a number of functional benefits thanks to its antioxidants and electrolytes. 

How do you incorporate Ruby into your routine?

I drink Ruby all day, so I’m the wrong person to ask, but customers have told us that they love using Ruby as a cocktail mixer and inevitably as a hangover cure.

My favorite way to drink Ruby is paired with my morning coffee or with really spicy food. It brings out the fruitiness of the drink.

What makes Ruby a great gift?

We're a healthy fun brand. Tart flavor profiles are hugely underserved in beverage, so it's wonderful to give the gift of a new experience and a cute product.