Statistics show that 50% of small businesses fail within five years. In October, we looked at general numbers for the kombucha industry. This is the story behind one person’s decision to move on.
It is with a heavy heart full of gratitude that I write this goodbye message to you all. Back in summer of 2013 I brewed my first batches of what would soon become Coastal Craft Kombucha and today 10 years later is my time to share that we have come to the end of a decade dedicated to pouring true passion and love into spreading pure joy through kombucha.
From day one I set out to creatively reinterpret how people felt about and experienced kombucha. The creative process came naturally to me and watching people drink, enjoy and feel good from what I created brought me so much happiness and drove me to work harder and persevere more than I ever could have imagined. I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to serve you all and bring you joy, and I can’t thank you enough for fueling and supporting my passion for these past 10 years.
My time has come to move on to new things and to truly celebrate with all of you everything we have accomplished. The list of people and businesses who have supported me through this from family to complete strangers who became the most loyal customers is endless. I will never forget the memories that were made or the people who I made those memories with. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making my dreams come true!
All good things must come to an end…or rather to a point of evolution.
In this brief Instagram video Rachel shares her feelings about the difficult decision to close her business and move on.
Her heartfelt feelings of gratitude for the journey she has been on made me curious to find out more. I spoke with Rachel for 45 minutes about the changes she has witnessed in her personal life, her values, and the kombucha industry. Listen to the podcast to hear the story in her own words.
Rachel discovered kombucha but knew she could make a craft version that was far more enjoyable than the brands she found available. She sees herself as an artistic and creative person, interested in holistic health, with a background in baking and food. Her interest in kombucha blended Food + Art + Health. Her studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition grounded her belief in the power of the mind-body connection and led her to pursue her passion and do work she loved.
While she loved the beneficial health effects of the store-bought kombucha she tried in these early days, she knew she could improve on the taste. Friends who enjoyed her home brew agreed.
The growth years
Her journey producing commercial kombucha started in 2014. She worked at a health food store that allowed her to test flavors, and when demand outstripped her ability to supply from her home kitchen, she went into partnership and took over a commercial kitchen. Selling at local farmers’ markets and stores led to rapid growth. She scaled up from 5- and 10-gallon containers to 300-litre and then 500-litre vessels, eventually switching to 10-barrel (300 gallon) IBC totes. By 2018, she had scaled to 10 flavors, 10 totes, and two 10-barrel brite tanks. The first partnership had ended, and she joined forces with a new person. By 2019, she was supplying office buildings in Manhattan and a growing number of retail accounts.
It was hard work.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, the high-margin corporate accounts disappeared. The second partnership ended, and she struck out on her own. She undertook an extensive rebrand (covered in the Fall 2022 edition of SYMBIOSIS Magazine) and recommitted to her initial goal of making the “most enjoyable kombucha.”
Even though she had a staff of three to six people, she was solely responsible for all decision-making. Her experience had become one of constant firefighting as one decision after another fell to her. The reality was that life for a solo business owner was very lonely. She felt increasingly burnt out and realized she had lost sight of why she started the business. Despite having over 250 regional accounts, she was barely breaking even.
To bring perspective to her business and personal life, she joined a local mastermind group of women entrepreneurs who offered support and a forum to discuss their challenges. And this led to the next stage in her evolution.
The doors of perception
Encouraged by members of the group, she undertook an experimental day-long guided ceremony where psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms were ingested in a supportive environment with sound healing and meditation. This put her in touch with her inner self. She realized that she had the freedom to choose joy in her life and that her business was not bringing her joy. Neither was it making much of a profit.
She took a long, hard look at the operations she had in place. She realized her daily life was a hard grind. Her new awareness made it clear that she needed to move on. “I’m no longer willing to suffer.”
She spent a couple of months looking for buyers, but the numbers in the books did not look good. Rather than wait, she decided to sell her equipment and close.
Rachel wrote on Instagram that “the ride of creativity has just begun. This was my first born passion project and there are certainly many more to come!”
Based on her experience, she now engages in micro-dosing where, she believes, personal growth is facilitated through the neuroplasticity offered by the psychedelics.
She loves to share her experience and help creative entrepreneurs. She offers her services as an integrative life and business coach. Rachel is on Instagram and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I SEE YOU and my goal is for you to SEE YOU and all that your authentic self is capable of in this life. Whether that is focused on a entrepreneurial endeavor or not, my integrative life and business coaching programs are designed to help individuals achieve personal and professional goals, overcome challenges, and experience growth by uncovering and nurturing their authentic selves.
Listen to the podcast interview to hear Rachel tell her story.