Once upon a time, there was a Broadway actress, director and producer who now heads the Musical Theatre BFA program at Texas State University (Kaitlin Hopkins). For over 35 years she was a professional actress working on and off Broadway, internationally, regionally, in film and television and radio. When she sang, she suffered from bad dry mouth when she got nervous. For years she looked for products on the market that offered her what she was looking for to no avail. She knew she wanted something that created a saliva response (tart green apple), used Manuka honey (which has high antibacterial properties), was glycerin based (which is a hydrator), used aloe vera, didn’t have menthol (which is drying to the vocal cords) or sugar which coats them (and often leads to throat clearing which can cause swelling) and was all- natural. For years she had used small pieces of tart green apple right before she would go on stage to give her something to work with. Apple is extremely healing for the vocal cords, acts as a natural mucus thinner and also is a natural anti-inflammatory. Although this was a better solution than a menthol-based lozenge, she longed for the “perfect lozenge”.
Now, a few things happened that motivated her to ultimately just create it herself. Her stepfather had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for almost 20 years and one of the side affects of his medication (and many other medications) is dry mouth. Her dream became two fold; she wanted to offer people who use their voices for a living a healthy product that actually worked and to offer an all-natural dry throat lozenge to people with compromised immune systems. She knew that although she developed it originally for performers, that it could help anyone suffering from dry mouth. It didn’t matter if that dry mouth was from living and working in high altitudes, taking medications that cause dry mouth as a side effect or children suffering from sore throats who should limit their sugar intake and could benefit from an all-natural throat lozenge that actually tastes good. Behold FONTUS!
The history of the little green disc is a story of two married couples colliding: 1) Nat Adkins and Cynthia Barratt and 2) Kaitlin Hopkins and Jim Price. Nat and Cynthia have a very successful company, OCuSOFT, which specializes in dry eye products. The two couples met because they had Texas State University in common. Nat is an alumnus of the Business School and Kaitlin Hopkins and her husband Jim Price joined the faculty in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Kaitlin and Jim came to Texas State in 2009, Kaitlin to create and launch a BFA in Musical Theatre (now ranked one of the Top 10 Musical Theatre Programs in the nation), and Jim Price who created and launched the award winning MFA in Dramatic Writing Program.
That’s when the following conversation happened:
Kaitlin: “So Nat and Cynthia, tell us about your business.”
Nat: “We make dry eye products.”
Kaitlin: “Oh, that’s so interesting, I’ve been working on a line of dry throat products for years. I just haven’t found a way to develop it.”
Nat and Cynthia: “Let’s develop it.”
Jim: “Is there any more bourbon?”
Obviously, it was a little more complicated than that, but from that first conversation, we now have the Fontus Dry Throat Lozenge—the little green disc. Together they teamed up and created the best dry throat product on the market! Her dream came true; she had her dry throat lozenge, her knight in shining armor and two corgis named Lilydale and Barkley.
The Fontus Team