74. Building a Community Around a Beverage Brand
Milan Jordan is the creator of the beverage company Cultured Kombucha. She has a background in American studies and architecture so building community has been a lifelong passion of hers, but in brewing kombucha, she came to see the community through a different lens.
Milan created Cultured Kombucha because she loves brewing and drinking kombucha, but also because she wanted to tackle some of the racial barriers to wellness. Cultured Kombucha was created to be a tribe: a tribe of healthy bacteria conspiring for your good, a tribe of positive and supportive people looking to better themselves and those around them, a tribe of people looking to affect positive change in black and minority communities.
In this episode, we discuss how she learned how to make kombucha, the steps she took to develop her brand, the importance of surveys and PR, and her experience with crowdfunding.
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- Milan has a background in architecture; She has done site work, land use planning, and some residential design; Currently, by day she works with children and women architects doing leadership development
- In 2016, after falling in love with kombucha, she decided to learn how to make it herself by taking a local class at Knowledge Commons DC
- After brewing it for a couple of years, friends and her original classmates told her that it was better than some of the more prominent brands, so she decided to find out how to sell it locally
- In her research, she discovered most Africa-American were unfamiliar with kombucha, so she set out to educate more people about its benefits
- To grow the business she looked out for opportunities; She reached out to some local companies to see if they were interested in hosting pop-ups and she initially brewed out of a restaurant owned by a guy that offered her some space
- Early 2018, she registered the LLC, researched business steps like food and beverage licenses and commercial kitchens, and began working on her brand
- When developing her brand, she talks about the term used in architecture called a “
parti” which is your guiding principle that integrated into everything; With her brand, she figured out the why, the personality, and how to weave everything throughout the brand
- She decided to go with the swing top bottles for her packaging because they are reusable
- We discuss the importance of surveys and PR
- Milan talks to us about her experience crowdfunding on iFundWomen
- We discuss determining when to scale and how you have to change your process as you begin to scale up
- Kombucha is a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria.
- Lesson learned: find a community, have a thick skin, and figure out what you want to outsource (i.e., bookkeeper and accountant)
- Knowledge Commons DC [classes and events]
- Cultured Kombucha crowdfunding on iFundWomen
- CAMPspace [coworking space]
- The Story Tellez
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