min read
May 2, 2023

Get Well With: Tommy Kelly

Dive into Sound co-founder, Tommy's life with two kids, his morning routine, and his favorite Sound flavor.

Table of contents
About The Lanby

A primary care membership for patients who want more. Primary Care. Nutrition. Wellness. All under one roof.

join the club
Share this article

Tommy Kelly, co-founder of Sound, created a beverage to help his customers consume less sugar to live healthier and brighter life's. His mission is to make a drink with no sweeteners and only organic ingredients. As one of The Lanby's favorite sips we wanted to introduce you to one of the brains behind the brand. So, let's meet Tommy.

Meet The Founder

What are your daily wellness non-negotiables?

With two young boys, the nights and mornings can be unpredictable but I always move my body, even if that means just 15 minutes of stretching.  I also always start the day with a glass or two of water before coffee, and get outside for a quick walk.  Also, while this is not intuitively a “wellness” activity – I always prioritize being at the table for dinner with my wife and two kids – it doesn’t mean the work is done for the day, but it’s a consistent moment that I believe helps with my mental health and happiness. 

Creating your own business can be a 24/7 job. What are some ways that you make time for yourself? Do you have a favorite ritual or workout routine?

Having even a few minutes in the morning to myself to set the goals and tone for the day before the meetings start is always critical in terms of getting me on the right trajectory.  In terms of working out, I love running and have been getting back into tennis and basketball more recently.  I also love a good hot vinyasa class – there’s something about not having any access to a phone or computer for 60-90 minutes that gets me into a different space mentally.  Overall, simply prioritizing a workout or other personal time like a “work” meeting on the calendar is key for me.  

Any advice for founders seeking to maintain a healthy lifestyle while going full steam ahead on building their companies? How do you find that balance?

As a founder, it’s impossible not to get swept into “go” mode and start drowning in the to-do lists, meetings and pursuit of seemingly endless growth opportunities. There is literally always something more to do, but it’s so important to maintain the mindset that there will be life after whatever it is you’re working on and to treat the business like it’s a part of your life, rather than the other way around.  That means prioritizing your health and connection to the important people around you.  And “prioritizing your health” doesn’t have to mean an hour workout + cold plunge + meditation.  As a founder with a family and two young kids, that level of time investment is unrealistic right now, but what I’ve learned is that simply doing something for even 5-10 minutes can noticeably improve my stress, mood and energy. That means separating myself from a screen and reading a book in the middle of the day, going for a run outside or writing in a notebook.  I think as founders we also significantly handicap the value of personal connectivity where nothing tangible is to be gained – by that I mean we tend to prioritize networking opportunities over a coffee with an old friend.  I believe it’s important to also find balance in how we spend our social time and that there is inherent value in a conversation or dinner that doesn’t come with a new investor lead.  

Do you have a morning and evening routine? What do they look like? 

I do have a morning and an evening that I aim for, but what actually happens generally depends on how well the kids slept.  With the unpredictability, I’ve learned to focus on just 1-2 things each morning or night versus an expansive routine.  In the morning, that’s usually 10 minutes for gratitude, running through the calendar and setting the priorities for the day – I also try not to look at my phone for at least the first hour or two after I’m up.  At night, it usually is simply reading for at least 10 minutes before bed, and similar to the morning, avoiding being on my phone or even having it in the room with me.  

How do you incorporate Sound into your everyday life? 

I usually drink 2-3 cans a day.  I’m a morning coffee person but I don’t go beyond one cup so I tend to grab a Blood Orange or Tangerine can for that late morning/lunch time boost.  I also love to grab a caffeine free can in the afternoon when I’m starting to hit a productivity wall as it helps brighten me up without adding in any caffeine.  At night, I tend to grab a Rose or Grapefruit if I’m craving something sweet or a glass of wine, but don’t want to mess with my sleep.  

Sound & the Beverage Industry

How did you become interested in the beverage industry, and what is the way you wanted to change it by introducing Sound to consumers?

I was actually initially drawn to the product concept before the industry itself.  I started carbonating tea as a refreshing and unsweetened source of caffeine when I was surrounded by soda drinkers in the office.  As I started to learn more about the industry – the sneaky ingredients and the predatory marketing – more of a fire started to burn around the industry itself.  I started to develop a strong passion for bringing better quality products, more transparency and nutrition education to the industry.  There were the big soda brands we all know, but even all of the newer drinks coming out were sweetened with something – honey, agave, stevia, monkfruit, erythritol and so on.  There wasn’t a brand or product in the category that was attempting to make “unsweetened” an aspirational product characteristic – all the unsweetened products were simply positioning themselves around price point, and it was a race to the bottom on price and quality.  With Sound, our goal is to marry a fun, eye-catching brand with products that taste amazing and have clean labels. 

What’s something that surprised you about sugar and beverages that you’d like other people to know? 

Everyone knows that sugar, and particularly liquid sugar, can lead to weight gain, but few people tend to know just how much sugar impacts us physically, mentally and emotionally.  Excess sugar consumption can lead to chronic inflammation, anxiety, depression, poor sleep and more, but those don’t make the headlines because you often can’t “see” those things or put a number on them.  

What’s one of the greatest achievements you've seen thus far with Sound? 

I think our greatest achievement with Sound has been transforming the business and turning it around with our rebrand amidst the COVID-19 lockdowns.  When offices shut down, we lost about 70% of our sales within a week and had to pour just about every dollar we had left into rebranding and repositioning the business for success.  The outcome allowed us to secure more retail doors, better sales velocity and new investment that has put us on a path for continued growth.  

The health & wellness industry is constantly evolving. What do you see next for Sound?

We’ve always seen Sound as a platform brand in health & wellness beyond canned sparkling beverages. That said, our focus is on reducing sweetener consumption and improving hydration and we’ll be staying in that vertical for the foreseeable future.  We expect to be launching an exciting new product line soon that’ll put us in a completely different category and use-case from our canned sparkling drinks.    

If you could only choose one Sound flavor, which would it be?

I’d probably have to go for Grapefruit with Lavender and Ginger.  It’s non-caffeinated so I can drink it around the clock, and no matter how many I drink, the flavor profile still always feels bright and unexpected.  

Ready to get well, better?

If you're curious to learn more about The Lanby, book a free consult call and we'll chat about how The Lanby can be your personalized long term health and wellness partner.