A SAVVY business owner has turned her spare bedroom into a microbrewery as a side hustle – she now earns £120,000 a year.
Eaoifa Forward, from Devon, launched her own line of kombucha after struggling to find an infusion that matched the health benefits she had experienced while abroad.
She had lived in London for about 15 years, working as an actress while juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet.
Eaoifa told The Sun Online: “With all the juggling, I had reached a point of exhaustion, and had quite crippling anxiety.”
With her life lacking stability, she was challenged to rethink her career on a trip to Sri Lanka where she tried kombucha for the first time.
She said: “If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t like it at first, but she turned to me and said, ‘Stay with it, eventually this is how it will make you feel’ .
“Of course I continued to drink it for the next 10 days and the only way I can describe how it made me feel is that I had a new sense of energy, a kind of ‘chi’ changed in my body and I felt so much better overall.”
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that originated in Asia thousands of years ago.
It was commonly known there as “the tea of immortality” for its health-promoting properties.
Eaoifa said: “It’s slightly effervescent and extremely refreshing, making it a great soft drink or alternative to alcohol.
“Coming back to London I didn’t find anything like I was drunk. Nothing was like my experience in Sri Lanka so I decided to create my own and very quickly Boo Chi was born.”
She found the drink instructive both mentally and physically, and quickly developed an interest in wanting to learn more.
The mum, who lives in Seale Hayne with her partner and their 18-month-old son, got to work making her first two-litre pot of kombucha in her kitchen in Willesden Green in 2017.
Eaoifa said: “I decided very quickly to turn the guest room into a micro-brewery.
“My uncle came over and the tetra wrapped the floor and the walls to make it food safe and I was literally tapping every bottle by hand.”
Determined to bring her drinks to market, she began selling her kombucha in London markets, but ran into practical problems.
She said: “I found the liquid up and down three flights of stairs to be very full. In February 2018 I had moved into my first unit on the main street in Willesden Green.
“It was quite a difficult time as I had to navigate building a kombucha brewery from scratch, working on the necessary equipment, passing all my dietary exams and writing a risk analysis and checkpoint critical (HACCP) for brewing kombucha. . ”
With a growing interest in the health benefits of the drink, his business grew rapidly, supplying organic wholesalers and independent stores before moving on to gyms, yoga studios, membership clubs, restaurants and restaurants. festivals.
There’s so much satisfaction in doing something you 100% believe in, it’s extremely difficult, you might fail, and that’s fine, you’ll learn from it.
In 2019 she decided to move to a new food unit off Old Kent Road after outgrowing her old space.
He was thrilled to be part of a new food company, but says that changed when Covid hit.
She explained: “It was a turning point for the business as we pretty much stopped operating as we knew it and quickly had to pivot the business.
“With everyone at home, I decided to launch a ‘homemade kombucha brewing kit’ so everyone can make their own.”
Eaoifa became pregnant with her son in 2020 and made the decision to return home to Devon where she grew up.
She now owns a 1000 square foot unit in Seale Hayne where her team brews, bottles and packages their kombucha products.
The company currently has four sides, the 300ml ready-to-drink Boo Chi kombucha bottles and 19L Cornelius kegs, pop-up traveling bar, home brew kits and workshops which are housed in the micro-brewery.
Instead of bottling by hand, they have a machine that does it for them with a bottle labeler and capping machine as well as a specially designed temperature controlled infusion room.
With an annual turnover of around £120,000, Eaoifa urges others to get into business if they can.
She said: “At the end of the day, start because there will never be a perfect moment, if you really believe in your idea, then do it.
“I would invest in a mentor or a group where you can connect with other business owners so you don’t feel alone.
“Building a business and a brand can sometimes be extremely lonely and always looking for criticism because that’s what’s going to help you pivot and perfect your product or service for that market.
“There’s so much satisfaction in doing something that you 100% believe in, it’s extremely difficult, you might fail, and that’s fine, you’ll learn from it.”