Can tattoos, pin up girls, Metal music, mental health, sense of community and nostalgia all come together?
Parlor is a root beer started with the specific purpose of incorporating all the core elements that symbolize growing up in North Eastern Pennsylvania as a metal head tattooed ‘freak’ worshiping pin up girls and vintage cars.
That’s what founders Josh Balz and Mat Giordano told MUNDANE about their up and coming brand which is all about bringing back core memories and redesigning the soda industry with a product that directly involves its customers with meaningful investing targeted towards mental health awareness and initiatives.
You guys come from such unusual backgrounds. What made you want to start a root beer brand?
Josh: Everything started during the pandemic when one of our other co-founders John Phillips reached out with the idea of opening a vintage bottle shop which we thought was a great idea if we weren’t in the midst of a global pandemic. So we brainstormed and came up with the idea of our own root beer brand. We were buzzing to get it started but we didn’t know the first thing about it so we sat down and did some research, ordered every root beer brand available to study them and went to a local brewer and told them about our idea. Eight months later we popped open our first bottle.
Why specifically root beer, though? You guys come from metal music scenes, skateboarding, loud lifestyle etc. why not a whiskey for instance?
Mat: Fair point however we realized the industry was missing a lot of root beer nostalgics who relate to root beer as a memory holder of their youth.
Josh: Exactly. To us root beer equals growing up in North Eastern Pennsylvania sitting on your porch with your dad. He has a beer in his hand and you’re sipping an ice cold root beer. It unlocks core memories.
The idea of holding onto core memories like that brings up the concept of community. Parlor launched a very unique crowdfunding campaign called crowd safe funding. Tell us why you went for that rather than the usual VC pathway
Mat: It’s such a brand new World to be a part of, honestly. There’s something in between launching a kickstarter and starting a multi million dollar firm and that’s called crowd safe funding. It’s extremely legitimate and it allows our customers and whoever, really, to not only contribute to the development of the product but most importantly to be a part of the company, a part of this community.
Josh: Precisely! You know we could have gone the VC route but we kept having friends wanting to be a part of Parlor and share the same sense of community and mission that made us want to start this adventure together so it made perfect sense.
Tell us more about the aesthetics side of things. We can clearly detect a rock, metal vibe mixed with a western imagery collection. Are we wrong?
Josh: Not at all. Picture a pin up girl sitting on a 1932 Ford and you got Parlor. Metal music, rockabilly, tattoos… these are core elements of the culture we grew up in. What we come to realize while coming up with our own branding is that no one in the soda world gives a f*ck about our culture so we wanna be the voice of the unheard. Our branding is literally an extension of us. That’s why we can sell it so well.
Can you recall a pivotal moment from the very first stages of funding, development and branding that made you realize you were onto something good?
Josh: A very specific one. I was in Chicago at the airport waiting to board a plane when Matty called and went ‘I’m in a room filled with people that can give us an endowment fund for Parlor and want to be a part of this. I need you to trust me. I need a yes from you.’ I said yes and I said it because we both care. We care about what we built. We care about our ‘dirtbag’ followers that dress like us, look like us and listen to the same music. We care about the kids, the mental health issues and the homeless shelters. We simply care.