Who are you and what is your background?
We are a husband-and-wife team who started Fine Feathers out of love for tea and fermented things. Jodine has spent considerable time as an animal volunteer and has worked in the foodservice industry and Jay’s past involves working in higher education, and writing, recording, performing and producing music.
Your current job:
Currently, we are both full-time at Fine Feathers. Jodine (CEO) covers the day-to-day managing of the business, bookkeeping, social media, our website, the kombucha home-brewers Facebook group (over a 1000 members worldwide), organizes the kombucha brewing workshops and kombucha home brewers bottle-shares (alternating once a month), and creates most of the weekly, rotating-tap kombucha flavors at the shop. Jay (CFO-Chief Fermentation Officer) handles the production, fermentation, oversees wholesale accounts and distribution, and sources most of our ingredients.
In which city:
Long Beach, California
0How did you discover kombucha?
We discovered kombucha while living in Portland, Oregon. It took some getting used to, but we were pretty hooked right away!
What prompted you to start your company?
We got into fermenting kombucha in the late 2000s and joked about starting a company but didn’t seriously consider it until we moved to Jodine’s hometown of Long Beach in 2011. We noticed that it was missing in our community and it felt like the perfect time to take the plunge and go for it!
What makes your product unique?
Our company places a tremendous emphasis on QUALITY. We spend a lot of time sourcing teas and ingredients that enable us to craft unique and interesting flavors while maintaining a sense of simplicity and elegance.
As far as ‘unique’ goes, what makes us unique is ‘us’. We make the kombucha that we want to make and envision in our kombucha dreams, and we present it to our audience. We are who we are, we wear our hearts on our sleeves and we let all the love and passion we have for what we do shine through our kombucha.
We have a retail shop through our facility, which allows us to spend time one-on-one with our regulars and customers and be in touch with our community. We also strive to create a community of passionate homebrewers and to empower people to have kombucha in their lives by teaching workshops and have bi-monthly kombucha tastings and bottle shares.
What do you want to convey through your brand image?
We’d like to think that our brand conveys a healthy lifestyle rooted in integrity, humility, and quality. For the most part, we leave the actual kombucha to do the talking for us. That is where our message truly resides.
As a brand, we are socially and politically active, which is important to us, especially with today’s sociopolitical climate in the United States. We do not see ourselves solely as a business designed to generate money, but rather as a business entity engaged in everyday life.
What are the main challenges in your company?
With our business model, we’ve opted to only grow sustainably and be a company that provides the highest possible quality. We are happy to consistently output quality products through our proprietary small-batch, glass-vessel fermentation process. This also enables us to maintain our integrity, independence and, going back to one of the previous questions, our “uniqueness”.
The above-mentioned, coupled with our choice to remain independent of investors, make it challenging as far as capital, however, it is very important to mention that we have been succeeding, despite the difficulties, through hard work, perseverance and more hard work (and some element of luck, which is always a factor). And that has paid off, as we are about to celebrate our 5th anniversary in October of this year.
What tools are essential for your work(app, software)?
The essential tools for our operation are the Quickbooks app and any cloud-based storage.
A word to define what type of worker you are:
What does your office space look like?
Jodine: My office space is pretty clean and organized. I love labeling things!
Jay: My area is full of teas, ingredients, kegs and kegging equipment, fermentation jars, and many beautiful and lively SCOBYs. It’s a dream “office space” and I feel at peace and very much in my element when I’m there.
Do you have a way to organize your days to optimize your work?
Jodine: I’m super analog and write EVERYTHING down in my day planner. We also split up duties and delegate tasks.
Jay: Our production area has several dry/erase boards designated for various aspects of production: distribution orders, local orders, production schedule, kegging schedule, etc., etc. We are all visual people so it is REALLY helpful to have it all laid out in a way that can be referenced quickly.
What tips would you give to improve productivity?
Jodine: Stay off of social media! Keep your head down and get the work done.
Jay: Have a flexible schedule that suits your life. Go into work with the intention to get work done, prioritize tasks and stop working when you don’t want to work anymore, go be a human being and enjoy life, study, and practice in the areas you want to improve it. This will improve your productivity further. A rigid schedule does not cater to the inconsistent flow of life. Therefore, I think that this approach minimizes stress and allows you to deliver a steady high performance.
14. What is the best advice you have been given?
Jodine: Trust yourself and work hard!
Jay: “You get more flies with honey”. Jodine gave me that one. :)
What are your end-of-day and early-day routine?
Jay: Early day, usually involves making tea, responding to emails, strategizing for the day, meditating, and sometimes, a workout. The end-of-day routine usually consists of making dinner, reading, and about 20-30 minutes of reflexion/meditation.
Jodine: Early-day routine starts with tea and exercise and ends with cats and crochet on my lap.
Apart from your computer and your phone, what gadget cannot you do without?
Jodine: Our labeling machine :)
Upcoming products or projects?
We are looking forward to opening up a kombucha-on-tap/tea room in the very near future!