I met Kombuchick in the Etsy forums, and decided an interview was due! At Kombuchick, you can buy your own Kombucha supplies, to make your own brews.
Please enjoy the interview!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family
Hmm, I am originally from a very rustic area on the outskirts of a small town in Southern Virginia. I went to college at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, then after the shootings knew I needed a change of scenery, so I moved to Virginia Beach. Life at the beach proved to be the perfect transition for me, and really helped me to learn myself, my passions, and I feel it was here that I learned what I want to do most with my life-- help people enjoy theirs. I have two younger siblings, who live in different cities, but I live with my dog Mica (a rescued mix-breed).
When did you first start making kombucha, and what inspired you to do so?
I first started making kombucha at the beginning of last year, after deciding to transition to a raw foods diet. In a forum thread online, someone suggested I drink kombucha to assist with the detoxing and cleansing process. Boy oh boy did it work! I enjoyed kombucha so much, that I learned how to brew it myself, and it's been all downhill from there!
How did you find Etsy, and what made you decide to sell on Etsy as apposed to other venues?
I first learned of ETSY while reading Bust mag while in the library (ahem, read: everyone's favorite room in the house! hahaha). I thought, ah, how cute! Then a year later, after I had been doing the whole kombucha thing locally for about a year, I decided WOW, maybe I should join ETSY when a coworker suggested I list my products and supplies there. Joining ETSY has been one of the best decisions!
Tell us about your kombucha!
I mostly sell supplies on ETSY, since I think it may be crossing some lines to sell my kombucha on- site. Therefore, I sell it locally. I use agave nectar (a low-glycemic sweetener) since a lot of my customers have diabetes issues and other health concerns, and I also have the equipment to test the levels of alcohol in my brew (well under 0.5% by vol, by the way). In fact, my kombucha has less alcohol in it than the vanilla extract in your cabinet. I sell in a variety of flavors: strawberry galanga is my fav (it has a dry, aged flavor), and I'd say hibiscus is the most popular with men. (Its really interesting, since hibiscus produces a pinkish, bubbly, almost wine-tasting brew!) That trend has been evident on ETSY as well as locally: more men purchase hibiscus kombucha and hibiscus products!
You've only been selling since June, and already have over 170 sales! I think many of us would feel this to be quite an accomplishment. What do you think has helped you the most to reach that number in so short a time?
I think the recent pull from grocers' shelves (my luck/ timing) + great quality products + stellar customer service + on-ETSY advertising (and not to mention knowledge about my products and my brew)= ETSY success, for me. I hope it continues! In fact, my co-workers have made a bet that I'll be full- time in about a year. (We'll see about that...at my day job, I get full benefits and paid time off...not really sure if I'm ready to trade those perks yet.)
So ultimately, as it seems, my shop and success can be attributed to Machiavellian-esque formulae (haha a little of my Political Science background shining through).
Do you have any recommendations for sites to advertise handmade goods on?
First and foremost- ETSY SHOWCASES! I cannot emphasize that enough! It helps you to stand out in your category, and it helps to get clicks and hearts! Who doesn't love hearts! Plus its inexpensive and you can commit as much or as little as you like. I have been in countless treasuries, and I'm sure my showcase slots have some to thank for that luck. Also- Craftopolis is great, and if you are somewhat photogenic, set up a Flickr account... definitely helps to get your images under google searches! :)
What are your future aspirations for your site?
While I would love to be full-time, I am taking it as it comes. I hope to open a kombucha homebrew supply store and juice bar here at the beach; and hope to have a separate studio in said facility for doing my handmade handiwork. I love ETSY, and would love to continue to grow with the site!
What else do you do when you are not making and selling kombucha?
Security background investigator by day, kombucha homebrew-master by night! I do background investigations for applicants to work at Nuclear power facilities across the nation. So in a nutshell- I help people get jobs. I can't say much more about my work; its highly classified stuff (not kidding).
Wow, cool! So do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Wellll, since I live at the beach, my fav vaca spot is...hmmm.... what vacation? I'm constantly working! hahaha. No, I love travelling to other cities and small, local dives. Roadtripping to wherever, whenever has always been my ultimate adventure!
Where else on the web can we find you?
I have a blog that helps answer questions about kombucha and homebrewing http://www.kombuchick.com
Also on YouTube, where I do the same...just by talking haha: http://www.youtube.com/ kombuchick.
I offer 24-7 support via Twitter: twitter/KOMBUCHICK, and I am on flickr as well! Facebook add me! So yes, I guess, I am a web- socialite!
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
A fun fact: I started teaching myself Arabic in college, because I wanted to work for the State Department (like I said, I was a political science major). At the time, Arabic was not offered at VT, so I took Hebrew...while simultaneously teaching myself Arabic. I am still continuing to practice learning Arabic and Hebrew, speak it when I can, and read it whenever I can (mostly on tv broadcasts of overseas issues).
I ultimately hope to learn most of the Semitic languages (Pashto, farsi, urdu...) I think they are beautiful, historical languages with a pan-religious relevancy. I feel that a lot of the world's issues can be resolved over a great brewsky (kombucha, of course) and a few kinds words...no matter what language! :)
Girl, it was fun getting to know you! Thank you for sharing a peek into your life with us!