HOW TO START A BEVERAGE COMPANY?? | Family Business that Makes KOMBUCHA (Their Business Journey!)

HOW TO START A BEVERAGE COMPANY?? | Family Business that Makes KOMBUCHA (Their Business Journey!)

– Hi everyone, welcome
again to #Career Goals, where we introduce you
to the different people and opportunities that
can hopefully inspire you and motivate you to choose
the career of your dreams. Today we’re here with Andreas, Sophia, and Felizia hiding over here (laughing) and they are the creators of Kombuco Fizz. And they will talk about their product and how their journey has been the last two years with this new company. And yeah, so hi, thank you
for accepting the interview. – Hi.
– Hi, thank you for having. – Maybe you can tell us
a bit about the product, the company, and yeah, about Kombucha, and about everything that englobes your journey as entrepreneurs. – Okay, well actually,
the whole journey started two and a half years ago. And our intention was
after getting married and after getting kids to find a business we can work together. And we’re looking around
what could be a nice idea. And Sophia finally found
the idea of kombucha. We really liked it because both of us, we drank kombucha as we were kids, but we know that differently
and we get on working. And yeah, after two years, after one year, we were ready to go to sell in
stores, and now here we are, in our new production facility. – Okay Sophia, maybe tell us a bit about what is really kombucha? What can people expect from
kombucha when they’re buying it in the store or from the website as well? – Absolutely, kombucha is
more than just a beverage. It does more than just quench your thirst. It’s fermented tea essentially. It’s tea, sugar, and symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. So, we cook the tea. We put the sugar in it and
we then add this culture, this kombucha culture
and we let it ferment. And then once it’s
ready, it’s been bottled, and we ship it to the stores or we ship it through the online shop. And what kombucha does,
it’s a fermented drink. And as humans we were meant
to eat fermented foods because before we had
fridges and frozen foods, we had to ferment foods in
the summer and in the autumn to make them durable for
winter and early spring when there was nothing else to eat. And kombucha is a really
good gateway food, to get back into fermented foods, and to improve our health
and our wellbeing in general. – So why did you start
this beverage company, actually like, some
people, they’re struggling because they would like
to have some company, and they want to get into
the entrepreneurship world, but they don’t know exactly
what they want to do. So how did you know what you wanted to do and why exactly kombucha? What was the experience
that actually led you to start a business,
this particular business, with this particular product? – There are so many products. There are so many drinks
out there in the market. There’s also so many problems. And we wanted to do two things. One is making a product that makes sense. And kombucha just makes sense because as Sophia said, it’s fermented, it’s really kind of
important for our daily food. And second is that we
wanted to show our kids that there is another
way than just studying and running to any big corporate. I think we always talk about
the old and the new world. And the old work is that you do something and you just get money for
it, but you don’t like it. And so time flies by and
this is not worth it. And the new world is like you do something where you’re passionate, where you think about the environment. Where you do something meaningful saying, you respect the nature,
you respect your employees, you respect your partners, and in the end, you make a product where you think, “How can I make a product that is tasty “and has a very, very low
impact on the nature?” Or even better that you can contribute to make everything better. – That’s right because in these days, it’s not enough to talk
about saving the planet, or to talk about living your dream. A lot of people talk about
it, but in the end of the day, you have to do it, and you
have to just find your goal, and you have to have a vision, and then you have to work towards it. Pivot if you have to, but
just keep going, keep working. And it just makes sense
for us to make kombucha and it’s our passion, it’s our dream. And we want to show our children that they can do what they wanna do. – Of course, and I think one of the things that I can actually extract
a bit from what you’re saying is that you figured out
what were your values, what do you wanna bring into
the world with your company, and that’s maybe one of
the things that people shouldn’t first know, know
what am I willing to do, and what am I really bringing
to the table to this world? And then from there, you get
a more passionate company, a more passionate everyday life and work. So tell me about what gave you the courage to actually go for it
because sometimes we are dreaming in our house or go for a walk and then we’re super excited
about doing something, and then we just don’t do it. So what was this, what gave
you the courage to go for it? – Well for me it was the fact
that Andreas was just away from Monday to Thursday for
most of the week working, and it was just sad to
have the children grow up, or our son at the time, with his dad not being around so much. Then also unfortunately,
my mother passed away. And it just made me realize life is short and you have to go after your
dreams and you just go for it. You just go for it because
there’s only one life and you never know how long it is. So, you have to plan really carefully. You’ve gotta really
suss out your finances. You’ve gotta have a
solid idea of your goal, what do you want and how
are you gonna get there? And if you have that, then you go for it, because otherwise you’re
just gonna come to the end of your days and you’re gonna
think, “Why didn’t I do it?” And that’s not where we want to end up. – One thing that I think
that’s so important is (clearing throat) I think, I mean, making
kombucha is something that, sorry, touches your heart
that’s also something manually. And I think we always study and
we all work with our brains, which is fantastic, but
in the end, down to earth, it’s wonderful if you
can on the one hand side, be very creative, work with your brain. But on the other hand side,
being to work with the Earth, to touch something, to put
your soul into something. And this, I think for me at least, you can only do if you
have your own product. And so, this was important
to have your own product, to develop it, and
another thing was running your own business, I think
that’s something wonderful. – And maybe tell us a bit
about your background, each one of you because I really
wanna see what you studied or what you did in life before, and how it helped with this company and this business and the product. – Okay, well I lived in
London for nine years after finishing school here in Munich. And I studied international
business with Spanish, actually. (laughing) And after uni I just did the normal thing that everybody does. I went into banking and
I worked in finance. And at some point I just always knew it wasn’t really my dream to do this. And then I moved back to Munich and kept working in finance
and also, I studied nutrition, nutritional therapies while I was working. So it was a weekend
course over three years because my passion is in nutrition and how to optimize people’s
health through healthy foods. And so, that’s what led us
also in the end to kombucha. And I then worked for my
father’s family business. That’s a food wholesale business. So we built up a really good network amongst people running restaurants. And so we know their business models. What margin they have to make. So we went into the process
with a lot of knowledge already. – Well my background it’s
that I’m an engineer, mechanical engineer. And I worked quite a lot in
the innovation consulting. Innovation consulting is
something really inspiring because you’re working
in new business models, new products, new services. And you think about what could
be the world of tomorrow. And one thing that’s so important to think about trends, obviously. And one of the mega trends is that people get aware of function food. This means in the past
people just consume. They don’t think about what
do they do with my body, what do they do the
environment, they just consume. And the function of food
is, the people think, “Well, I’m going to drink something “and what is it making to my body?” And kombucha in this context
is the answer, honestly. There’s nothing else beside water maybe, there’s no other beverage that is as good for our body as kombucha is. And this is not, I’m not saying this because we are selling the
product, this is really, this is what I’m
absolutely convinced about. – And tell us a bit about that process of just doing it right
and actually saying, “Okay, I have a good product,” and about the process of maybe saying, “Oh my god, this is never gonna work.” Like how was it for you guys? – Well it’s a rollercoaster basically because you connect with other
brewers and it’s really cool, and it’s a massive kombucha
vibe going and it’s great. And then you brew, and then
you upscale to bigger vessels. And then you realize the
kombucha doesn’t behave in the same way in the bigger vessel that it does in the smaller vessel. So brewing kombucha in two, three liter batches is really easy. But if you go to 200 liters, 300 liters, it’s a completely different ballgame. And we actually got to the point
that we already had clients and we upscaled thinking this is great, it’s going well, this is really foolproof. And we upscaled to a bigger vessel, which was like 300 liters
and it all went wrong. And we had to bin everything we had. We didn’t have a backup
because we figured it was all going so well that we didn’t need one. (laughing) And so, we actually had
to tip everything we had and buy a new SCOBY on the
internet and start again. Start building up our stock again. And it took a while to do that. And then we learned from the mistakes. We figured out what went
wrong and we just asked in our network, “Hey,
where did we go wrong? “How can we avoid this
from happening again?” But in the end of the day you have to make your own mistakes. And you make them once,
you learn from them, and then you don’t do them again. And then you just have to figure out a way to rectify the situation
and we always do, in a way. So it’s–
– It’s part of the process. – It’s just a rollercoaster. It’s part of the process. There are moments of great
happiness and inspiration, and there’s moments of very deep despair. – What are those other
questions that you should ask yourself before you go into, I mean, before you open a business, before you create a
product, before everything? – Well the first question
you need to ask yourself is is there a market for it? So is there actually people willing to spend money on what I’m making? And the second question is, how am I gonna bankroll
myself for the next two to three years because essentially, that’s how long it takes for a business to actually start making enough
turnover so you can maybe, if you’re lucky, make a living doing it. So you’ve got to have
your finances in place. And you’ve gotta have a plan, and you’ve got to have the steps. How you want to get to your end goal. – So how did you determine that this was actually a viable product
that you could make a living out of it and this
was a good business to go into? Like, did you do any market research? And if you did, how was it,
how did you prepare for that? – Right in the beginning what we did was we organized tastings
in several locations. So we just took the kombucha
to several locations and we did tastings, we asked
the people how they liked it, and got feedback on the flavor. And what we also did is we created a SurveyMonkey questionnaire
and we sent it out to friends, and family, and Facebook, and
everyone to see what people said about kombucha, about
willingness to pay for it. What we also did was
when had a kombucha stall at trade fairs or other
sort of green living events, we asked people, “How much are
you willing to pay for this?” And also, “Do you like it?” (laughing) And, “If you do like it,
what did you like about it?” And, “If you don’t like it, why not?” – I think this is so
important is that many people, they have an idea, they have
an idea about the product. And they work on it, and they work on it, and they work on it, and
they go on the market and say, “Here, this is ready.” I think it’s so important to go out as early as anyhow possible. Don’t think about the nice
label, about the nice bottle, just go out with, I mean, this
is what everybody tells you, and it seems to be obvious,
but many don’t do it, and we maybe could have
done this a bit earlier. Go out and test it as early as possible. No honestly, there are
people that don’t like it, and it’s fair enough. Consider that the opinions you hear, they are not always right. They’re doing you a pleasure. Good morning. – And also go out as early as
you can because if you fail, you wanna fail fast.
– Yeah. – Yeah.
– That’s true. – And what you put out in the market has to be nice for the customers, it’s not something that you
necessarily have to like, but the bait has to
taste nice to the fish. And you have to like it too, but if we found out that our
consumers like the kombucha a little bit less acidic,
we make it less acidic. And we drink it a lot tarter at home. Would you like to say something, yes, no? But for commercial purposes
we just bottle it earlier, so it’s not quite as tart and acidic. – So probably throughout this process, you were also checking
out some competitors. And it’s good to know
about your competitors so you can be different, and also to see how they have failed and you can have it as
a reference as well. So, my question here would
be what is this thing that makes you different from them? And why do you think
you picked those things or that thing that makes you different? – One thing I’d like to add is that, yes there are competitors
for sure, but most of them, I would consider them to be
partners, not competitors. Because right now in the very
beginning of the kombucha, I think the willingness to share ideas, to share knowledge is huge. So it’s not like the classical
competitor situation. It’s more like, “Oh you’re
doing kombucha as well, “that’s cool, I did this
experience and what about yours?” And so we’re more sharing, first thing. Second thing, what are we doing different? Well, there’s a quite very famous kombucha produced on the market
and they just pasteurize and they put it into plastic bottles. This is something we absolutely don’t do. We do not pasteurize and we use bottles, they are reusable and I think
this is important, refillable. – So when you were doing
your research, right? Probably you were also testing
if the thing was healthy, if you could sell it to the
market, I mean, many ifs. Did you get some help from
professionals to do this? I think when we talked off-camera, you also mentioned something
about going to the lab and getting help from other
peoples to actually test the kombucha before you put
it in the market, right? – Yes, many times and we also
got help from our network because from the very beginning, from the first second we had the idea, we started to establish
a network in the UK, in Germany, in America of
other brewers who were willing to share knowledge and to
help us when we were stuck. So that’s what we did from day one and that’s something that we
can only tell everyone to do, is build a network of people
that can actually help you. – Yeah and luckily we went
to university specialized on food technology,
particular on brewing process. And they really helped us. So we are now having
pathologies with them? – Okay, sorry we had
to cut for a little bit because Felizia needed to
play with something else. (laughing) But okay, you were saying about your pricing accelerator program, right? (speaking foreign language) – That’s right, yeah, that’s the first one that really helped us. We were really lucky to
be the first participants in the Start-Up Incubator at the Institute for (speaking foreign language) at the (speaking foreign language) So that was really great. We were able to brew in their facilities because it’s really difficult with the Health and Safety
Regulations in Germany to actually produce a viable product that you’re allowed to sell to people. So that was really, really helpful. Also we had a few bachelor thesis students that were writing their
bachelor thesis on kombucha. We still do it to this day, we’ve got two more running at the moment. And another start-Up accelerator
program we took part in was the program from called DICA, D-I-C-A. And it’s an accelerator program from the University in Munich, from the Strascheg Center
for Entrepreneurship. And we also were able to connect
with lots of other startups producing drinks, producing
other types of foods. And it was really inspiring and it was a great network to tap into. – So okay, to finish now
can you maybe give advice to all the young entrepreneurs out there that would like to start a company? But mostly, like a beverage company, what would be your advice for them? – You have to be very clear
about whether the market wants your product because
the beverage industry is notoriously fickle,
it has a very bad rating, so banks and investors
are a little bit reluctant to bankroll you because
they’ve been burnt before. And also, just make sure
you’ve got enough money for yourself and your life
to live two to three years. That’s something that I would say. And you’d like to add something? – Well actually, in the beverage industry, that’ sounds weird, don’t do anything. It’s the worst industry you can choose. – Find something else. – Except you do kombucha, honestly. Kombucha is, they have a chance. All the other things they are
painful, painful, painful. – Yeah, and also if you
want to be successful, you just have to get up one more time. You fall, you get up,
you fall, you get up. You just keep going and going and going. But maybe also pivot. If one path doesn’t work
you find another path, but keep that goal in mind. – Be flexible anyways. – Yeah, yeah. – And network, network, network. Talk to the people out there. Talk to the industry. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, and share as early as possible. – Yeah, if there’s anyone
thinking about starting a kombucha brand, please reach out to us. We were shown a lot of support. And we were receiving a lot of love in the beginning from
other kombucha brewers. So we want to pay that forward. – Yes.
– Great. – We’ll always take time
for fledgling brewers. (laughing) – Great, that’s amazing actually. So where can they find you? Your website, social media,
where can people find you? – Absolutely, our website
is and the social media handles are, on Instagram we’re @kombucofizz,
and Facebook the same, we’re @kombucofizz. – Anyways, probably I’m gonna add in this. I’m gonna put it somewhere here. (laughing) And down below as well so you can actually just click it and go in it. And well, thank you very much for this. Thank you Felizia for being so amazing. (laughing) And yeah, please subscribe to our channel and hit the notification bell if you wanna have more videos like this and of course, comment below also what
you would like to see next, and if you have any questions for them, you can also comment below. Thank you so much and let’s just cheers! – Cheers!
– Cheers! – Thank you.
– Cheers, cheers. – Thank you.
– Cheers. – Bye.
– Bye. (upbeat music)

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