Anita Kyle started making kefir for her children who were having gut issues, and along with husband Terry decided to produce kefir so other parents had access to it too. Kyle spoke to the team about public speaking and more growth to come.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
After a few years of treating our children with kefir and quite a few natural therapies we had great improvements and the specialist and naturopath that worked with my children wanted kefir to be produced so other parents had access to it. When we make our kefir we crack every single coconut that goes into our product so it is raw and unpasteurised. A lot of parents were struggling with children like ours and with all the work involved it was too much for them to make coconut water kefir.
So we made the batch which is bulk buy, and we sell direct. Then we started to get a lot more people come to us with lots of different gut issues so we started to do shows and we made our first 300ml bottle for the shows so people could buy it in small amounts and try before they invested in a batch. That is when our first retailer spotted us and wanted to stock our product. It wasn’t even in our mind to go into retail. So we started selling 300ml bottles. Soon there was demand for a bigger bottle, so we did the 500ml bottle all plain kefir at this stage. Then we went into pineapple and about 18 months later lime and watermelon came onto the scene.
We started making our product in Glenfield Community Centre as we couldn’t afford our own commercial kitchen. In February 2015 we managed to get our own commercial kitchen in Albany not far from our home. This was a great relief as we are now in the kitchen four to five days a week drilling coconuts and brewing the water. My husband Terry does all the brewing with the help of one lady that works for us four days a week. On drilling days we have a few more helpers. My husband runs this side of the business.
I do all the sales, despatching, shows, promotions and social media work.
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
So currently we have 500ml and 300ml in plain pineapple, and lime and watermelon come presently in 300ml and next month we are launching watermelon in a 500ml bottle.
Has there been any recent company news?
We are gluten free. We are the only people on the market making coconut water kefir. It is a tonic, you take small amounts, and slowly build up. We brew every single bottle individually. We still make it the way we did to help recover our children.
I do public speaking throughout the North Island for free to help educate people about gut health. Our passion is to help as many people that we can with a great probiotic drink. The other great thing about coconut water kefir is that by cracking every single coconut, the mineral profile of coconut water is the closest thing to human plasma and minerals and enzymes which are amazing for you. You can only get these nutrients when it is unpasteurised.
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
Yes, we would like to see our product in more shops in the North and South Island. We only started selling kefir into the South Island last year. We are doing the Gluten Allergy free show and Go Green show in Christchurch soon, so we are hoping this will help promote it more. We see our product in more organic health food shops, small supermarkets and delicatessen stores. We still have patches in the North and South Island that are not stocking us yet so we believe we have a lot more growth yet to come.