Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Stéphanie Desharnais, Founder of Centaure Kombucha, located in Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick, QC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We produce kombucha and sparkling tea, and herbal tea. Our customers are mostly women but also men. Anyone who wants to improve their health by adding low-sugar beverages to their daily routine. They are mostly aged between 30 and 50, but kids also like our beverages, and parents love to replace sodas full of sugar with kombucha or herbal tea. Kombucha is a sparkling beverage with very low sugar. It has a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, which makes it full of probiotics and antioxidants. The sparkling tea and herbal tea have no sugar and no calories because it's simply infused tea that we carbonated to make a refreshing beverage.
Tell us about yourself
My husband and I were looking to be an entrepreneur and have our own business, our own project. My husband was brewing beer in our basement, and we were looking to open our own brewery. But after doing our research, we noticed that the beer market is already saturated, and the requirements and permits were really expensive for a startup business. A friend of mine told us about kombucha and its virtues. We noticed that the brewing process was very similar to the beer, so my husband was on familiar ground. We are people who take care of their health; we love sports and nature and everything that's from Mother Nature. So the healthy aspect of kombucha and tea really connects with our values. Since then, we have been motivated by giving clients a simple, authentic, and natural beverage.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Receiving compliments from our clients and people who reach out to us and tell us how they love our products is clearly our biggest accomplishment. Because between you and I, even if we love our products, if we are the only ones to drink them, it's pretty useless! We were also able to survive our first two years of being on the market during the pandemic by innovating, offering home delivery like the milk delivery man used to, and offering self-filling with reusable bottles. We doubled our product offering this year by adding sparkling tea and herbal tea and considerably increased our sales spots. We are looking to add the online ordering option for sparkling tea and herbal tea and are always trying to improve and be aware of our client's needs.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing might be having a business with your partner, having a full-time job, and raising a family all at the same time!! No kidding, the hardest thing is to be versatile. You need to be a production manager, a marketing counselor, an accountant, and everything else! Obviously, you can't be good at everything, so you need to be surrounded by people and look for extra formations to keep learning about those aspects.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I would say being surrounded by people who can help you with your project is the main aspect of being able to grow your business. Look for people who are already an entrepreneur or people who are good in some aspects that you might need help as I mentioned earlier.
- Make sure you are passionate about your product or service. If you are doing it for cash, you'll probably be disappointed! But if you are passionate about it, you won't be upset about spending your free time in your business. Cause honestly; you won't have much free time as you used to.
- Finally, give yourself some time. Maybe you'll change your plans. Maybe it won't happen as you planned it. Maybe you'll realize you had a great idea but that it doesn't work in the real world. Don't get discouraged, and believe in your project. Suppose you are prepared if you ask yourself good questions for the very first time, and if you set up good foundations, your project will work. But like I said, maybe it will change during the process. But accept it and enjoy the process!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We are actually offering our products in sales spots nearby our production site, but we are looking to expand and offer a delivery option on our website. So follow us and don't hesitate to contact us for more information!
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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