Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Hudson Liao, co-owner of KEFIRKULT, located in Mississauga, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
KEFIRKULT was created on the belief that high manufacturing standards seen in pharmaceutical companies should be incorporated into any consumable process. Quality has always been at our forefront with everything that we do, and it is something that we will continue to hold to the very end. We specialize in fermentation, worked in pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, and have studied microbiology throughout our post-secondary education - to summarize everything; we are very good at what we do.
Since we wanted to focus heavily on natural probiotics and plant-based ingredients, we decided to focus on Coconut Kefir Yogurt and Water Kefir Drinks. Our KEFIRKULT Coconut Kefir Yogurt is the premium of all kefir yogurts. Its wholesome and satisfying taste is unlike anything you have ever had. Each bottle is made with the purest coconut milk fermented with real kefir cultures. With no added sugar, our Coconut Kefir Yogurt can be paired with smoothies, fruit bowls, and even cold-press juices!
Our Coconut Kefir Yogurt is locally crafted fermented with live kefir cultures. Up to 99% lactose-free, gluten-free, and made with non-GMO ingredients, our kefir is natural and healthy, with a taste that speaks for itself. If you seek out kefir, you must seek out this. Take that first taste, and you'll never look back. It's that good!
KEFIRKULT Coconut Kefir Yogurt is a tart and tangy cultured non-dairy drink packed with one of the highest probiotic counts in the industry (1.47 trillion CFU per mL).
As for our Water Kefir Drinks, its pure, carbonated and refreshing taste is the premium of all kefir drinks. Its simplicity in taste and flavour brings a calmness when drinking it. Each bottle is made with the purest ingredients that can be found right here in Canada, and it's fermented with live kefir cultures that we grow in house. Its natural taste is unique and breathtaking that you will be seeking us out in years to come. A probiotic drink that is packed with probiotics and unforgettable natural flavours are why our kefir needs no explanation.
Tell us about yourself
We're Lisa and Hudson. We believe that great health starts with what you put into your body. That's why we strive to make kefir with quality, clean, Non-Gmo ingredients. For you, this means an excellent tasting probiotic drink that promotes optimal gut health.
Our journey to health was a bit rocky at times. Demanding jobs didn't leave much time for a work-life balance. As a result, burnout, stress, and depression became the 'norm.' We were caught in a downward spiral. But, at the same time, we knew that good nutrition was the first step in healing our bodies and giving us the energy needed to live life to the fullest. So we searched for an answer and discovered kefir. When we experienced the awesome health benefits of kefir, we were hooked. The energy boost, improved mood, and enhanced gut health were just the beginning.
It's rewarding to see families enjoying our kefir and recommending it to their family and friends. Word of mouth has played a significant role for us, and it's rewarding to see our commitment to a quality product is being noticed.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our biggest accomplishment has been the ability to scale without compromising the quality of our products. I myself still work with the production team to produce every product that you see on the shelf. I feel that it is my responsibility to ensure that every single product that leaves our facility is made with the highest quality that we can offer.
Scaling this type of process can be tricky since it was never meant to be made on a large scale. However, working in a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility where we've dealt with various public health agencies (i.e., Health Canada, FDA, etc.) has given me the experience to figure anything out. This mix of passion and expertise makes us uniquely qualified to produce our clean, fresh, and potent probiotic product.
KEFIRKULT has now launched nationwide, which has been a big accomplishment for this year! Additionally, it has been so rewarding to see the enthusiasm for our products drive the expansion of our distribution. I'm so proud to see KEFIRKULT on the West Coast since I was born and raised in Vancouver.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing about being a business owner is definitely the sacrifice of personal and family time. In the early stages, I was working my full-time job at a pharmaceutical company while building the foundation of KEFIRKULT (I was doing this from 2014 to 2019).
Since I just became a father in earlier this year, I'm working as hard as I can now to get everything off the ground where I hope to have my schedule normalized soon so I can be there more as my baby daughter grows up.
My family has been in business my whole life, so I'm thankful I had a realistic idea of how difficult it could be in the beginning so I could be mentally and financially prepared before I embarked on this journey.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The one thing that I always tell anyone who wants to start their own business is to not try so hard in creating a product that you think people will buy. This business came about because I was doing this as a hobby. I wasn't trying to figure out how can I make money from this, but instead, I asked myself this question, "how come no one is doing this?"
Another tip for anyone that wants to start their own business is to make sure that they are prepared to sacrifice everything. The grind of getting a business up and running can really take a toll on your mental health and your relationships. I've been doing this for several years, and I'm still grinding away every night.
Lastly, be open to suggestions and always check your ego at the door. The one thing that I learned was that I'm never right. Everyone has their own view on things, and there's always more than one way of doing things. I find that ego is the biggest problem in businesses failing. Learn to appreciate feedback or criticism as this is a way for you to improve your product or business. Knowing when to stop is also another thing - if you have a big ego, you may run your business to the ground. But if you did your best and exhausted every other option, checking your ego at the door will enable you to realize when it's time to pack up your bags.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
- Make sure your books are in order.
- You will never find someone that will work as hard as you.
- Do something that you are passionate about.
- Do something that you are good at.
- Never create a product that you are trying to sell forcefully.
- Know when to pivot.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.