Who are you and what is your background?
We are Katrin and Manuel, both German, for over 16 years we've been living happily with our kids in the South of Spain.
We are lovers of good vegetarian food, spending time outdoors, traveling and living a healthy lifestyle. Before we started making Kombucha we've worked as a social caseworker and teacher (Katrin) and in software development (Manuel).
Your current job:
Katrin is in charge of our health shop and supervising all company procedures from a creative perspective. Manuel manages the factory and coordinates all tasks related to it.
With work with 8 lovely persons, we have built two operative circles for the business areas (health store and Kombucha brewing). These groups are represented and led by us.
In which city:
We live in a small village next to the Atlantic ocean. Our business is located in Conil and Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz. Both are known as typical white Andalusian villages.
Where does your interest in Kombucha come from?
We grew up knowing about Kombucha. After we moved to Spain we found ourselves bored by the lack of alternatives for conventional beverages. There were industrial beers, Coke or Lemonade. Not a lot of options. Kombucha is a perfect alternative. You can easily make it at home and you can give it countless possibilities and tastes.
What prompted you to start your company?
In the beginning, we offered our home-brew Kombucha to friends and then started selling it on festivals and concerts around the coast. It was very special to show something different hardly anyone knew. There were great curiosity and acceptance. On a series of events we did, we met other Kombucha enthusiasts that gave us the idea to start our business.
What makes your product unique?
Our large experience and the philosophy behind it. We have been the first company in Spain brewing and selling Kombucha for a really long time. We offer stable, living and 100% organic Kombucha in different flavors. All handmade 100% natural and tasty. Harmless processing, not pasteurized and no concentrate.
The Kombucheria is a sociocratic organization. We maintain artisan family business, we carry a set of ethics, responsible philosophy and sustainable development with a focus on health and well-being. We always take into account the social and the environmental impacts our presence and actions have. So if you buy a bottle you support a sustainable, fair company concept.
What do you want to convey through your brand image? Design: how was it designed? By who?
Health, well-being, connection, unity and eternity are some of the words you might apply to our brand image. The symbol is taken from the Chinese calligraphy- where the beverage originates - and stands for eternal, fluid and persistent. In the CTM (Chinese Traditional Medicine) it represents the element of water. The ring around it is the cycle of life, In ZEN the ring symbolizes the all and nothing, the emptiness and the completion; as well as it is a closed and balanced (life-)energy. All that a good Kombucha can bring to your life :)
What are the main challenges in your company?
Due to the rapid growth of the organic or ecological sector, it is necessary to return to the initial values of the organic movement. ‘’Bio’’ is not a brand. Instead of looking for economic efficiency and increased production, it is better to bet on a sustainable, social and ecological model, as part of a larger vision of peaceful and healthy coexistence among all living beings. This is quite a challenge on a growing market based on our western economy.
Our vision is a peaceful and sustainable society embracing ecological awareness, a healthy and environmentally-friendly one, with common welfare as its main base. We want to inspire and convey a change of consciousness towards health, producing good quality Kombucha and offering organic products in our store, by staying true to our values and prioritizing sustainable ways of production and sale.
What tools are essential for your work(app, software)?
Our self developed ERP Software has become the most important thing. It connects all business parts and has become the main intelligence in our company. To our clients, we communicate by email and phone.
A word to define what type of worker you are:
What does your office space look like?
Generally, we just need a computer and phone and a nice place to be creative. There a lot of different Kombucha bottles from all over the world, some nice batches we did and never serve it to the public and a whole bunch of notes and ideas.
Do you have a way to organize your days to optimize your work?
We try to reduce all labor to the most simple and necessary part of it and then look for the most efficient method to get it done. We mostly talk about priorities and distribute tasks within our team. As business gets a bigger part of our life every year, our continuous goal is to liberate enough for us and our children.
What tips would you give to improve productivity?
It depends on every situation and individual characteristics of a project. It is always recommendable to use the right tools, and have in mind that all goes in cycles. Evaluate, Decide, Act, Evaluate, Decide, Act, ...
What is the best advice you have been given?
Be in the present
How do you control the growth of your company?
We do not talk about controlling the growth, we are directing the changes carried by the growth. There are much too many factors that can influence the growth of a company and the success of a company we cannot control. We are lucky that the organic sector is growing and Kombucha has raised in the last few years. We trust in our quality and abilities.
As we grow and more people are part of the project, we implemented a Sociocracy as governance system. Sociocracy offers a wide range of tools to design an organization that can use collective intelligence and activates the responsibility of each individual, with the principals of cooperation, participation, and equality. So, we try to have “controlled” and healthy growth.
What is your strategy for making your beer known? (tastings, festival, etc.) Why this strategy?
There are different strategies and ways of how we try to place our products. We are present on local organic markets, go to faires and announce in magazines and newspapers. Fortunately, our Kombucha is already well known and has a good reputation. I must admit that we are not good at social media and digital marketing as our competitors are. So we mainly trust in our product. Its good taste and energy. People know that, share it, spread the word.
What are your end-of-day and early-day routine?
End of the day we update each other and then enjoy our kids and family live. An early day routine is, for example, doing the “5 Tibetanean” and drink a glass of SOL Kombucha
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a Kombucha company?
Love what you do, do what you love! Share, and ask for help. The Kombucha scene is mainly open and helpful. If you want to be successful don´t do things alone.
Apart from your computer and your phone, what gadget cannot you do without?
upcoming products or projects?
Besides creating new Kombucha flavors, we focus on some new interesting and sustainable products. For example, we started the distribution of Jackfruit, a healthy alternative to meat. We are preparing workshops on Kombucha and fermentation, cooking classes. Therefore we are urgently looking for more space.