Whether you run an organic dairy farm, sell handsewn dresses on Etsy, or create an LLC to market a neighborhood home improvement service, you are an entrepreneur in some shape, size, or variety.
For Nathan Straathof, a life of entrepreneurship was inevitable.
His uncle owns and operates Hilhof Farm Dairy, which has been bottling certified organic milk since 2008. Nathan’s mother sells her custom-designed dresses on Etsy as her main source of income. And it was Nathan who, in college, created Straathof Group LLC. To generate customers, he stuffed handouts in mailboxes around Grand Rapids, and spent his spare time painting fences, cleaning gutters, and laying the groundwork for his career as an entrepreneur.
It was during his time at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids that Nathan discovered an interest in accounting. After Aquinas, he went on to receive his MBA from Davenport, which lead him to a financial analyst role at Meritage Hospitality Group.
A new adventure began when Nathan’s wife received a job opportunity in Germany. After moving, he and his wife made friends with locals in Munich’s beer community.
Nathan then discovered the Teku, a traditional German beer drinking glass that he began selling in the American market through Amazon Prime. After bringing a product to market, learning the in’s and out’s of supply chain management, Nathan was ready to develop his own product.
That product is Unlabeled, the blind beer tasting game. The idea was to create a game that any beer drinker can enjoy—from seasoned homebrewers to those who enjoy a good beer every now and then. Intended for use at home and your local brewpub, Nathan is hoping to establish Unlabeled as a household name in Grand Rapids and beyond.
To play Unlabeled, each player brings one or two beers to the party, while keeping the beer’s identity hidden from other players. Players then take turns as “beer host” and all participants get the opportunity to blind taste. You can also order a flight of beers if you’re playing at a bar, as long as you ask for the names to be hidden. For a quick gameplay tutorial, check out this video.
To bring the game to life, Nathan partnered with Keen Studio, an advertising firm in Grand Rapids that has worked with international brands and startups alike. With Keen’s help, Nathan was able to design the product and packaging, as well as film a promotional video.
It has been a long road since his days passing out flyers for Straathof Group LLC, but Nathan’s dream is near fruition as funds are being raised to begin manufacturing and distribution. To learn more and contribute to Unlabeled, check out the Kickstarter.
The Kickstarter ends Sunday, June 18th. You can follow the Unlabeled Facebook page for updates.