Santa Cruz SBDC

Living Swell Kombucha

“Keith has been the most helpful, he was helped us come up with our business plan, to lay out everything related to business formation.”

All Client Stories

Living Swell Kombucha is a female owned business that offers high quality artisanal and traditionally brewed kombucha. The owners, Sophie and Summer, are both Santa Cruz locals committed to delivering a low waste product made with whole, natural ingredients.

Becoming an entrepreneur as a working mom can be challenging but certainly not impossible, and Sophie Slosberg, along with Summer, are the living proof of it. After 15 years of dreaming of owning a kombucha tap room in Santa Cruz, Sophie pitched the idea to her dear friend Summer, who would later on become her partner on this journey.

At first, to make sure the target market breakdown was going in the right direction, and as suggested by our advisor Bryce Root, both moms started off by testing the waters doing “neighborhood fill-ups”, where they would offer kombucha and hand out surveys to assess their product quality. By doing so, they could get a better sense of, not only their customer demographics, but also what improvements should be made to their product to guarantee their buyers’ satisfaction.

After securing a lease in a commercial kitchen space, a second step involved determining the costs of the product, as well as a market price for their keg program. Working along with Tom Bruce, our clients were able to decide on one approach that involved using a restaurant software program to keep track of inventory, create cost menu items, and analyze them to estimate profit margins.

Once their goals were established, Stacy Patyk, our accountant and business systems analyst, worked with them on setting up a proper bookkeeping system, as they had been previously using google sheets to keep track of their finances. Getting QuickBooks would be a much better alternative that would allow for the tracking of more than just the expenses and cost-of- goods- sold.

As part of their branding and marketing strategy, Sophie and Summer worked on developing an eye-catching logo design, in addition to creating a detailed SOW (statement of work). Such a document would contain specific objectives and the steps needed to achieve the desired goals, in order to find the most suitable potential partners.

After some bumps in the road, both incredibly committed ladies have managed to grow their business and are now doing multiple events, pop ups and farmer markets. Ultimately their goal is to own their own tap room that would serve as a family friendly hang out spot with fermented foods and maybe even guest artists. Sophie and Summer’s success is truly a testament to their perseverance and hard work, proving that it is possible to turn one’s passion into a business.