Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cathy Kelly, Founder of Cathy’s Kombucha, located in Hamilton, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Cathy's Kombucha is a small family owned and operated business. We brew premium Kombucha using a recipe and method gifted from a monastery. Small batch brewed in glass jars, carbonated by nature, and never pasteurized; our Kombucha tastes clean and alive!
Our customers consist of all ages and genders. A common thread is their interest in natural and healthy products. Others consume our Kombucha simply because they love the taste!
Tell us about yourself
My husband and I started brewing over 11 years ago after my Dad was given months to live. He had received 37 radiation treatments for bladder cancer, and there was nothing else the doctors could do. I went to see the nuns and monks from a monastery in Quebec to ask for prayers. While waiting, I was served a strange-tasting fizzy drink. When I asked Sister what it was, she enthusiastically replied, "Kombucha - Drink it! It's good for you!". When asked what it was good for, Sister said, "Everything! Cancer and……". I realized that I was supposed to get the recipe and start making it for my Dad. My Sister gave me a starter culture (SCOBY) and showed me how to make it. Our journey had begun! When my Dad passed away after almost three years of enjoying life, I decided to give up my teaching career and move toward educating people about Kombucha.
His cancer did not spread, and I am convinced of the power of prayer. In the early years of brewing, educating people about gut health and Kombucha was the main focus. My joy now comes from the wonderful relationships I have developed with our customers and retail partners. Positive changes happen in people's lives when they make healthier choices, and their happiness is contagious. I have met so many wonderful, educated, positive, enthusiastic people from all walks of life! It has been a blessing!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is that I can still look at myself in the mirror every day, and I can sleep well. My Dad used to say, "If you don't have integrity, you don't have anything." I feel he would be proud of how we tried to stay true to our family values.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Achieving and maintaining a balance between work and personal/family. Most business owners are very driven and put in many long hours. Add a brain that wants to think about the business all the time, and it can be easy to neglect other aspects of your life that require nurturing and time. You can't wear 30 different hats - get the business things off your plate that you aren't good at or shouldn't be spending time on. Balance is important.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You have to believe and be passionate about what you are doing!
- Bring joy to at least one person's life every day - whether they be customers, retail partners, or staff. It will reap many benefits.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it - you can't be or do everything yourself!
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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