They say there’s always some form of hidden symbolism in dreams but that belief is especially true for NightCap Founder, Shirah Benarde. After a close friend of Shirah’s had gone through the frightening and unimaginable experience of being roofied at a bar, the thought of it happening to her or anyone else was too close for comfort.
What first started out as a dream, quickly became a reality for Shirah when she founded NightCap in 2019. NightCaps' signature product is a stylish srunchine that also doubles as a drink cover.
Now 20, Shirah started NightCap when she was only 16. Within 5 years the company has elevated to new heights, providing a solution for people all over to feel safe and at ease while drinking. NightCap helps to diminish the stress and worrying of possibly being taken advantage of during a night out.
“This product is something where it eliminates a lot of fear in a fun way. And I am so happy to do that and be able to help save people from scary events or traumatic experiences. Because there are so many people that tell us “I have been roofied and I can't leave the house without this product.”
So far, one of the biggest accomplishments for the innovative company was appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2020. After her brother, who also works as her business partner, applied for the show, the duo were off to Vegas. At the time of filming Shirah was only 17, so you can only imagine the nervousness of having to pitch in front of the Sharks.
“It was just like a crazy experience, like the day that we went and filmed, it was the first time leaving our hotel room because of Covid. So, you're walking out, you're like “I'm gonna be watching this video for the rest of my life. So it better be good.” And if you told me to do it again, I don't think I could but there's like two doors that open and the first door you're standing there for five minutes and you're like, “Oh my God. It's really scary”
When it comes to marketing, NightCap has successfully marketed their products across all platforms but instead of paid media, organic content has been the most successful for the brand. In terms of engagement the company has seen the biggest success on Tik Tok and Instagram. “We started out by posting on our nightcap instagram and as I was working on the business, I was trying to figure out creative ways to showcase the product without just continuing to put it on the cup because that gets old.”
When it comes to influencer marketing, Shirah took matters into her hands and became her own influencer for her brand. “So when I tried reaching out to influencers, I realized they were charging fifty thousand dollars for a TikTok. So I created my own account and I started posting about NightCap to increase brand awareness and put a face to the product because I really think that helps. So I'll be at a restaurant and I'll have it on my drink and people are like “oh that’s the girl who created it.” It really connects me to customers and I feel like I'm connected to the people who follow me.``
Along with running her own business, Shirah also does TikTok consulting for other brands. When it comes to organic Tik Tok growth Shirah says the best advice is to be authentic, transparent, and yourself.
“Along those lines, storytelling is important because everyone wants to hear a good story. It's motivational and everything, so that's definitely number one. Associating a face to a brand, even if your brand is yourself but like, really showcasing a personality. So nightcap, like the product itself doesn't have a personality, but like I do, and so that makes the product feel more personable. And transparent.”
“So basically just like, being yourself and not thinking that anything is too little for social media because everyone cares about everything.”
For those thinking about starting their own business, Shirah offered sound advice that revolved around living for yourself and realizing that you’re deserving of every dream and accomplishment you want to achieve.
“You're never going to be fully ready for anything in your life. So if you're really passionate about something, you deserve it for yourself, to create that for and to stop caring about what people think because you're gonna look back and you're gonna say I lived for them and not myself.”
When asked what Shirah’s 5 year plan for NightCap was, she not only has big plans for the future of the brand but big plans for herself as well.
“I want to see the brand expand in ways where these will be in everyone's hands and drink spiking will be impossible.I mean, obviously that's a very big vision but that's what I want to see. I want it to be as normal as a condom. The new stickers that we have, I really, really want to see those like in every music festival on people's drinks, and bars, clubs, liquor companies. And for me I definitely want to have a nightcap for like next five years. But, I'm starting a podcast and I want to do speaking engagements and things, so I guess Nightcap and Shirah look a little bit different, but they're still aligned at the same time.”
NightCap is such an innovative, useful and essential product that needs to be in the hands of every person who has ever had a fear of going out and drinking. As we enter Spring Break and festival season, while anticipating the longer days of Summer ahead, it’s imperative that people realize they can have fun while still being safe.
Our team is so grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with Shirah, to learn more about her and her life changing product. Our team is excited to have partnered with Shirah for our Spring Wanderlux launch, head over to our Instagram to learn more about how you can win NightCap, Tini Lux and more. Shop NightCap online here.