1. Why did you start your business?
I started the business on a tropical island in the Gulf of Thailand in 2013. One evening I went for a sunset swim in the lagoon by my house, and as I was floating on my back gazing at the sky, I asked the Universe to send me something that would give me wings. Later that same evening I got a random call from my best friend who ran the Thai island’s most delicious and popular kombucha brewery – she was moving on and had decided to gift the company to me! So it all started from there. I came back to London in 2016 with 16kg of kombucha mothers all packed in Ziplock bags in my luggage. I rebranded & repackaged the product with the help of a friend in advertising, and here we are.
2. What do you love about running your own independent business?
No doubt the biggest appeal of running your own business is the f word. Freedom! I am fully free to manage my day as I see fit, around the demands of nurturing the business itself. When I get a spare moment during the day I go for a splash at Hampton Pool, read or spend time with my amazing Thai dogs. I could never have done that in my past corporate life. The other thing which really gets my juices flowing running my own business is the creativity – divining all the ways of evolving and improving the product in the most original way possible, truest to my own values and passions. That way my clients get the very best of me, my authenticity and what I am capable of, without it being the simulacre of what somebody else has done.
3. What is your favourite Kombucha and why?
There are quite a few new kombucha brands coming up, some of which I haven’t tried yet. But for now my favourite kombucha in the whole country is Lewtress, based in Wales. Even though they deliver internationally they’re pretty old school, they don’t seem too fussed about their branding and they don’t even have a presence on social media. But their kombucha is the real deal (just like Kitty’s Kombucha of course) and it is absolutely delicious. When I was looking for starter kombucha to get my brews going again when I came back to England in 2016, I chose Lewtress. In my opinion it is hands down the best I’ve tried and I sometimes order some when I am not drinking my own.
4. Which flavour of Kitty’s Kombucha is your favourite? It’s tricky to say which Kitty’s Kombucha flavour is my favourite. Obviously I’m very proud of Thai Island No.5 and Hemp Nectar No.4 which both won Great Taste Awards this year. And although I manage to achieve pretty good consistency, it’s always a joy to discover each new batch when it’s ready. I guess that’s the naughty side of wild fermentation. It’s just that, wild. You can control many parameters, but ultimately kombucha is a living beverage and is happy to live a life of its own. I just have to accept that. For example I’m falling in love again with Jasmine Jun No.2, the recent batches have been maturing really beautifully over the past couple of months – giving a rich smooth ‘beeriness’ which makes it unique… except that’s the funny side of it – it really has no alcohol to speak of!
5. Let’s spread the indie love, name some other independent businesses you support.
As far as indies go I have eternal gratitude for the ladies behind @duckpondmarket – the markets they run are real incubators of creative startups and they have allowed many small companies to climb onto the first rung on the ladder when they were still too small to be noticed by others. I haven’t thanked them enough for giving Kitty’s Kombucha the opportunity to show off its feathers after the rebrand in 2016. There are some real gems at those markets, and I hope many of them flourish.
6. Which is your favourite social media platform and why?
My favourite social media platform is Instagram. It’s the prettiest and most interactive. What’s not to like? It’s easy to get sucked in sometimes, so I guess you get used to taking breaks when you need to. I also like Twitter, it’s quirky, irreverent, it’s rapid and punchy too which is great and allows me to show another, more activist side of Kitty’s Kombucha concerned with rainforest deforestation and preserving the wonders of the natural world.
Thanks to Milan for taking part and do let me know if you have tried his Kombucha. Please continue to support your local independents by using them and please shout about them using the hashtag #incredibleindependents and tell me why you love them!