Who are you and what is your background?
I’m Rich Old. Born in Palmerston North, New Zealand, my background is in food and entertainment. A few years back I started a free-range chicken restaurant called Bird on a Wire (birdonawire.co.nz), and have always been passionate about flavors and creativity. I worked at tech startup Kombie in the US prior to starting Batchwell.
Your current job:
Co-founder & Brewmaster at Batchwell
In which city:
Auckland, New Zealand
How did you discover kombucha?
A few years back I moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of love. I discovered kombucha in Whole Foods - I like to walk very slowly around supermarkets, read labels, and find new stuff. So, when I came across kombucha I had to give it a try. I fell in love with the drink, and the girl I moved to LA for is now my wife, and business partner.
What prompted you to start your company?
We (myself, my wife, and 2 great friends) saw the New Zealand kombucha market growing in a similar way to California, only years behind. Basically, living in LA meant we could see the future of what the NZ kombucha market would become. We thought we could help the movement, and add our own spin on flavor and design. As predicted the market in NZ is growing stronger by the day.
What makes your product unique?
We are a small glass batch producer, flavoring with cold-pressed juice which we juice on site. Our flagship flavor, Pineapple & Ginger, is a hit, and our products taste great alone, or as a mixer. Our branding and packaging are also distinctive and eye-catching.
What do you want to convey through your brand image?
Simplicity alongside complexity. Sincerity alongside fun.
What are the main challenges in your company?
Producing enough to satisfy growing demand (a nice problem to have!), and the growing pains that come with scaling up the business.
What tools are essential for your work (app, software)?
we run on one drive, slack, and unleashed
A word to define what type of worker you are:
What does your office space look like?
Small wooden trestle desk, laptop, Batchwell posters on the wall, shelving (the original racking for our first batches of kombucha). I start each day with a clear desk.
Do you have a way to organize your days to optimize your work?
Wonderlist for checklists, and Pomodoro technique for important tasks.
What tips would you give to improve productivity?
if not essential to your task, turn off your wifi/phone
What is the best advice you have been given?
don’t burn your bridges and be nice to the tax man.
What are your end-of-day and early-day routine?
make the bed, have breakfast and coffee, listen to a podcast or the news. End-of-day – cup of tea and a tv show or book to take my mind off the day to day stresses. Note: Coffee in the morning, tea at night, kombucha for all the hours in between!
Apart from your computer and your phone, what gadget cannot you do without?
Running watch. I have become so attached to knowing my speed and distance when jogging that if my watch is out of battery I don’t go jogging. Seems a little extreme but is unfortunately true.
upcoming products or projects?
We have a kombucha coming out made with Sauvignon Blanc grape juice that we got at harvest time from an NZ winery. Super limited release and super exciting.