Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Joshua & Noelle Locke, Founders of Aurora Kombucha, located in Eagle River, AK, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are the premier up-and-coming kombucha company in Eagle River, Alaska, that is passionate about connecting our customers with the best-tasting kombucha to optimize health, wellness, and happiness to live your best life yet!
Tell us about yourself
We are a husband and wife team who are both U.S. Air Force veterans-turned entrepreneurs! After getting stationed in Alaska and choosing to settle here and call it "home," we launched Aurora Kombucha in 2020 to start bringing our great-tasting kombu to the masses. Our business originally started out as a creative kitchen project to quench our thirst for something both healthy AND delicious--it was really important to have both of those! After I (Noelle) first encountered kombucha as a healthy drink option in California, my curiosity and longing for my favorite familiar bubbly got me into brewing my own when we got stationed overseas in Japan in 2015. Soon, the small batches I made out of my little Japanese kitchen turned into experimenting with multiple flavors over the years--and Joshua encouraged me to share our passion for something healthy AND delicious with others.
Joshua remains the business mastermind behind all the sales, logistics, and outreach. I am the passionate brewmaster behind all the creatively yummy kombucha flavors you'll taste on tap. One thing that motivates me is connecting each customer to an amazing culinary experience in each sip--and having it be a really positive experience that moves them into a healthier way of life. Providing something healthy and wholesome is so important to us, and we love sharing that with others through our kombucha!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
This year, we plan to have our kombucha IN STORES for anyone to buy! This will be one of our biggest accomplishments as business owners because for the first year in business; we have been limited to selling directly to our customers (and not to any third-party vendors). This transition will be a massive milestone for us, as it will help recover our time and energy and make it more efficient for anyone to drink our kombucha.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being consistent and leaning into the mundane tasks of running a business is one of the most challenging things as a business owner. Most people only see the "sexy side" of being an entrepreneur, but it really takes a lot of dedication and hard work that goes on behind the scenes.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a plan! Know how you'll finance your business and get a vision of where you want to take it. Then you can draw a "map" to reach your goals when you know where you want to go.
- Dare to dream big. Don't limit yourself to old traditions or notions of what you or others "think you should do." Do what YOU have in your heart, and be courageous in making it happen.
- Don't be afraid to do the hard work--which also includes RESTING. Some days (ahem... MOST days) will feel grueling, unimportant, or insignificant. It all matters what you do. We've learned the hard way--that to prevent burnout and keep business momentum, this includes taking at least one day of sabbath or rest. It's really taught us to trust in God to provide!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Be on the lookout for our flavors coming to a store near you! Our first priority is to reach Alaskans--but be on the lookout for future states where we will be expanding.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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