The Vista Story: Like Water, Just Better.
Scott Day, Adam Sorensen and Russell Hopper
It has been a whirlwind couple of years for three Kristin alumni who have developed and launched an innovative new beverage. Scott Day, Adam Sorensen and Russell Hopper created Vista, a naturally flavoured, sugar-free sparkling water, after they saw a gap in the market for a healthy drink that people could enjoy without feeling guilty.
The three friends ventured down different paths before teaming up to found the thriving beverage startup, but each credit a large part of their success to their time at Kristin.
Scott admits to being a troublesome student but says that some of his teachers, Karney Dawson in particular, provided the support and guidance he needed to send him off in the right direction.
“Looking back, I think the best thing about Kristin was that the support was always there, in whatever sense you needed it,” says Scott.
Scott left Kristin at the end of Year 11 to complete a marine engineering qualification and a commercial engineering seagoing licence. For the next four years, he worked as an engineer on superyachts in Europe and the United States.
Meanwhile, Adam and Russell each completed their final years at Kristin. After graduating, Russell completed a Bachelor of Business majoring in Marketing at Massey University while Adam undertook a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation at AUT. Russell spent three years working for a yacht brokerage company in Auckland, progressing from marketing and administration responsibilities to a full-time sales role, while Adam went into sports marketing, eventually basing himself in London.
The pair agree that the tight-knit group of friends they developed at Kristin and the extracurricular activities they participated in helped shape their futures in a very positive way.
“Kristin gives you so many opportunities to challenge yourself, whether it’s through international exchanges, activities at school camp or performing arts. Getting out of your comfort zone really helps to prepare you for life after school,” says Russell.
Scott, Adam and Russell stayed in touch over the years and in 2016 an idea for a new business partnership began to take shape. Frustrated with the lack of beverage options available that didn’t contain sugar or any nasty surprises, the trio decided to embark on a new enterprise together.
“We feel that being healthy should be simple. You shouldn’t need to be a nutritionist or an expert at decoding labels to know what’s good for your body,” says Scott.
From different parts of the globe, Scott, Adam and Russell set to work developing a product that would soon become Vista. By September 2017, they were ready for launch. They quickly secured Vista’s first few stockists in Auckland, including the Pavilion Café at Kristin.
“Jo Finlayson was very excited to begin stocking a drink at the Pav Café that was genuinely healthy,” says Adam. “She really got behind us and encouraged the students to try Vista. We’ll always be very grateful for her support.”
Within weeks of launching in Auckland the team were inundated with requests to supply Vista elsewhere in New Zealand.
“The business has grown even faster than we imagined. We’re very excited to continue making Vista more widely available, particularly in schools, as we think it’s important for Kiwi kids to make the switch away from sugary drinks and junk food,” says Scott.
Just nine months after launching, Vista is now available for purchase at cafes, offices and schools throughout New Zealand and at select Countdown, New World, PAK'nSAVE, FreshChoice and SuperValue stores. Vista is produced using only carbonated water and natural flavour derived from fruit. Unlike other flavoured waters on the market, it has no sugar and less than one calorie per can.
Scott, Adam and Russell all agree that one of the keys to their success has been the diverse experiences they have to draw on.
“Students shouldn’t feel pressured to go to university and then get a 9-5 job,” says Adam. “The most important thing is to pursue classes that interest you, get some kind of qualification under your belt – whether it be a degree or a trade – then go out and explore the world for a few years. The life experience that travel provides is invaluable.”
“If I was to give one piece of advice to current students,” Scott says, “it would be to never give up, regardless of what challenges or put-downs get thrown at you. If you’re passionate and believe in what you’re doing then you are bound to succeed.”