By Prudence Minayo
Mohawk Kombucha is a drink whose health benefits range from stimulating proper digestion, reducing acidity and irregular bowel movement. The brains behind this popular tea is Priscilla Njenga who quit her job as a high school teacher to chase her dream. Rather than having people drink soda and juice, she wanted to offer them a healthier alternative.
Here is her entrepreneurial journey as told by WoK.
Leaving her job to get started
In 2018, she left her job amidst a multitude of doubts. She was not sure if the decision was worth it. However, she stuck to it and established Royal Brekkers, a company that manufactures Mohawk Kombucha.
At the beginning of her venture, she lacked experience. Hence, she relied heavily on YouTube tutorials to manufacture the fermented drink using tea, sugar, yeast and bacteria.
To make the drink, she uses green and purple teas obtained from Kangaita tea factory. In a December 29, 2022 interview with Business Daily, she explained that there were two steps of manufacturing the tea.
The first step, the purple or green tea is poured into a barrel and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast culture is introduced. They are closed off completely to prevent air from coming in. It is then left to ferment for 14 days, after which the raw Kombucha is ready.
The last step is flavouring the Kombucha into their five chosen flavors: mangoes, strawberries, ginger, raspberries and blueberries. Once this is done, they are packed into dark bottle and stored for four days to condition them. They are then ready to be sold.
After producing the first batch of ten bottles, she went to the Organic Farmers Market and no one bought the product. Unwilling to give up, she went the following week. This time, she found a woman who was convinced of the benefits and ended up selling thirty bottles. She liked the product and convinced others people to buy it.
The production has also increased to about 1500 bottles per week. Most of their profits is ploughed back into the business which is self funded. At the beginning, she approached investors in vain, hence, she uses her money to finance the business. Their 500ml bottle retails for Sh210 while the the 250ml bottle retails for Sh120. They hope hope to sell it at a more affordable price once they reduce production costs.
The drinks need to be made in a cold room and they cannot make them in bulk. This means that they at times have to make them on order. This leads to the loss of some customers since the drink takes a longer period to be manufactured.
The business is still small with two people working in production, one salesperson and one driver. In future, she hopes to hire more people and purchase huge fermentation tanks, and carbonation equipment. Her company is located in Kiambaa, Kiambu county.