Local Spotlight: Kissing Rocks Kombucha

 

We spent some time at the market with one of our favourite local suppliers, Kissing Rocks Kombucha, who will be hosting their first tasting event at the restaurant on Tuesday, November 20th. Not everyone is familiar with kombucha, but we also got the chance to know a bit more about their day-to-day activities, life as mompreneurs and how they got started…

– Tell us a bit about both of you

Kissing Rocks is a team comprised of Elsa and me (Tina Wedge). We’re sisters-in-law, both from the Moncton area and we are both mothers.

Elsa studied and practised law before we got started, and I studied criminology and social work, however finally ended up practising esthetics from home shortly after becoming a mother. Elsa had spent the previous 5 years all over Canada and the US, with her husband and kids, in support of his successful career in the NHL.

Also on our team are many friends and family who help out, be it making our fruit purees for flavouring, doing deliveries, or working our booth at the market on occasion.

– How did you meet? How did you decide to partner up together and create Kissing Rocks Kombucha?

So I (Tina) fell in love with and married Elsa’s brother in 2009. Luckily enough, Elsa and I became fast friends. Once I had the idea that I wanted to expand from making kombucha as a hobby, I knew there was only one girl I wanted to work with.

Elsa is super smart, a hard worker, and has a refined taste; which was definitely what I was missing! I’m also a very hard worker, but my strengths include dreaming big, coming up with whacky ideas, and sharing the passion for kombucha we have in a very energetic
way! Elsa works diligently to ensure our flavours are consistent, our production methods are efficient, and the business end of things are taken care of properly.

– Did you start producing Kombucha as a hobby, or did you always have the end goal of making this a business?

I (Tina) started brewing kombucha as a hobby 2.5 years ago. Let me tell you it wasn’t “love at first sip”.

Something had me going back to the store to try another, and then another. All of a sudden I noticed loved the way kombucha was making me feel. I couldn’t get enough. Online research albeit sometimes debatable, had an explanation that resonated with me. Magical bacteria were taking hold of my insides and demanding I continue to give my body more more more! Soon my addiction had surpassed my budget, thus I started making my own. I couldn’t help but share my new creation with families and friends, and before I knew it everyone was also asking for more.

Elsa and myself both spend as much time as possible in the summer near Shediac in a quaint little cottage neighbourhood named Cap Bimet, which residents know is home of “The Kissing Rock’ a now mostly eroded rock formation. Every time I would arrive down on the beach, Elsa and her husband and all of our cottage friends were asking ‘but did you bring kombucha’? I just couldn’t keep up on my own, so I asked Elsa if she’d be willing to help me make more, maybe even enough to start our own little booth at the local farmer’s market. The birth of Kissing Rocks Kombucha.

– How does being an entrepreneur differentiate from having a hobby? Is it as easy as saying “Hey, I have a great idea! I’m going to make XYZ and make a living from it” or are there challenges that you didn’t foresee?

Well let me tell you the challenges started on Day 1, and have yet to cease. Elsa nor I have ever done anything like this. We have no business backgrounds, and in the grand scheme of things are still relatively new to making kombucha.

Kombucha as we have learned also has a wild personality of its own. We have learned so much day by day, and continue to overcome daily, hourly, and minute by minute disasters, setbacks, and challenges. We have learned that local small business owners have a lot in common,
as we see our fellow market friends and small local entrepreneurs with bags under their eyes, and we know they have worked tirelessly all week to present you with a product that they are fiercely proud of knowing that it’s handcrafted and one of a kind.

Many friends may think “oh that looks fun” to have a small little business as a hobby, but you could ask our spouses, it takes A LOT of time and commitment.

– What is Kombucha and what’s the process behind picking your flavours?

Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea. It’s origins are ancient and murky, like the drink. The starter for Kombucha is a rubbery disk known as the Mother, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), which grows a new layer and thickens with each batch. The SCOBY is added to a fresh batch of sweetened tea and set aside to ferment until the desired Ph is achieved. We flavour our kombucha with whole fruits chosen locally, in season, and organic as much as possible.

We have 5 flavours which we would consider the favorites (Blueberry Basil, Strawberry Lemon, Orange Ginger, Raspberry Rose, and Cranberry Apple) and we always are playing around with seasonal flavours (currently Elderberry Cardamom, Apple Cinnamon, and Pumpkin Spice). When trying out new flavours, we aim to have original flavours, without being too obscure. We put ourselves in the position of the customer, reaching for a refreshing treat, and really our #1 aim is a dynamic, memorable flavour.

Kombucha has become the popular drink we know it to be today, as we are learning more and more about the gut-brain connection. It connects us to generations past, who had an intuitive understanding of the role fermented foods played in our overall wellbeing. The list of health benefits of kombucha is lengthy, but to summarize it aids in digestion, nutrient absorption, boosting immunity, and detoxification. This healthy, bubbly brew also makes a great substitute for pops, energy drinks, or cocktails.

– Do you source your products locally? Where do you get your products from when you choose local?

. We buy as much local produce as much we can, sourced mostly from the Farmers Market in Dieppe. We love to get to know the farmers and think it’s important to keep our customer’s dollars in the community. They have chosen to support us instead of getting a less expensive kombucha at Costco, and we feel it’s important to try our best to do the same. Being of this climate, sometimes our options are slightly limiting, but especially as we develop our future flavours, local organic seasonal produce is our top priority. Plus food grown locally resonates more personally with our customers taste buds

– More and more people are becoming entrepreneurs at a young age, and even more so women in our community. What advice do you have for anyone who is possibly on the fence or just starting?

I think I can speak for both Elsa and I in saying we didn’t choose the entrepreneurial life, the entrepreneurial life chose us. I think we are seeing more and more Mom-preneurs, as the regular 9-5 office job just doesn’t appeal to the lifestyle we crave. A little flexibility in choosing work hours make so much of a difference in family quality time. We are living in somewhat of a renaissance, where we as a community are starting to seek out what locally sourced goods are available. Obviously our dollars have an environmental impact, but it also is just great to buy something from someone in our own community, who is beaming with pride at what they have created. And you will always always always get better customer service. So with that being said, it is a great time to follow your passion or talent, but don’t underestimate the many long hours, the challenges you will face which have little to nothing to do with your passion (in our case washing lots and lots and lots of dishes, carrying around really heavy things and hurting our ageing backs and knees, sourcing proper packaging, marketing and social media, managing accounts, deliveries etc.) It all comes as part of the deal, and we don’t plan on quitting the hustle anytime soon.

 

Join the Kissing Rocks Kombucha team for their very first tasting and cocktail event at our restaurant next Tuesday, November 20th at 530pm.

Complimentary cocktail included! Tickets available here

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