Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alex Ingalls, Founder, and Owner of Pilot Kombucha, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is gut health - craft kombucha, to be precise. Our customers are outgoing, a touch on the hedonistic side, and passionate about food.
Tell us about yourself
I started drinking kombucha in my early 20s as a hangover cure, and as a pleasant side effect, it helped with the lingering effects of having my gall bladder removed. I always had a DIY ethos, so making it at home was a natural progression, and soon I was bringing it into the professional kitchens where I worked and making my co-workers taste my homebrew. My boss, now a close friend, told me that's what I should be doing, and almost two years later, I had sold my first case! To be honest, my biggest motivation is that I was tired of making peanuts in professional kitchens. I was working long hours for very little money, and I figured if I was going to be making peanuts, I might as well make my own peanuts. The freedom to decide when and where I work is what still drives me. I know I should say something about our customers, but it's the entrepreneurial freedom that keeps me going.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is learning how to detach my sense of self and self-worth from the business. Once you can do that, the lows don't feel as low, and the highs don't feel as high, and it's a lot more stable. It gives you space to step back and make the right decisions for the company and for yourself as separate entities.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things is thinking that your worth is directly correlated to your productivity or feeling like you're never doing enough for your business. It can take a toll on your mental health if you don't have strong boundaries between work and off hours and just stay on all the time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Get a great therapist who doubles as a career coach. Get a great lawyer who can advise you on contracts and advocate for you when you're unable to advocate for yourself. Get a great assistant who can support you by taking small tasks off your plate so you can focus on the bigger picture.
Where can people find you and your business?