Female Founder Series: Meet Alex of Pilot Kombucha
As a former chef, Alex started brewing her own kombucha to help her digestion after indulgent meals and late nights partying (we've all been there 😉). The head chef who Alex previously worked for used to tease her endlessly for making her own kombucha. After trying it for herself though, the chef was hooked and encouraged Alex to start her own kombucha business. The rest is history!
Hi Alex! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up a Navy brat, I got my Bachelor's in Spanish, Masters in Humanities and Social Thought (my thesis was about graffiti), and have been working in food since I was 18. Prior to that I worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor. I love cats, nachos, and painting.
What inspired you to start Pilot Kombucha?
I worked with a chef at a lunch counter in Brooklyn She hated kombucha and would always tease me for making my own. One day I got her to try it and then she was hooked. A couple months after we parted ways she sent me a text asking when I was going to start selling it!
What does the name mean?
The name is a wink at my family history. My brothers and I are the first generation from my dad’s side where nobody went into the military — my dad, grandpa and great uncle were all pilots!
How would you describe the brand in 3 words?
Colorful, experimental, supportive.
For the uninitiated, can you explain what kombucha is and its health benefits?
Kombucha is a fermented tea known for its anecdotal health benefits. People drink it to help with digestion, detoxification, and immune support. It’s also extremely high in naturally occurring B vitamins.
How did you come up with your flavors?
Every flavor has a unique origin story. One was a cross country collaboration with a friend; another was created for a friend who wanted more turmeric in her diet but felt overwhelmed by all the wellness drinks, and another was because I wanted to recreate a healthy version of a favorite soda flavor. Inspiration is everywhere!
What’s surprised you most about running your business?
My stress threshold is much higher than I thought and continues to rise!
Where do you hope to see your company in 5 years?
I hope to have a larger tap room, partnerships in place to do unique products, a second product line, and regional distribution.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t overthink it. You can Google a lot more than you think. Just trust yourself and take the leap!
Quick Fire Questions:
Favorite restaurant in Brooklyn:
Faro and/or General Debs (same team, different styles of cuisine).
Best piece of advice you’ve been given:
“Trust yourself as the ultimate source of everything about your business and cut off anyone who doesn’t respect that”.
- Paige from Archestratus
The craziest thing you’ve ever done:
Started a business.
Favorite vacay spot:
Anywhere as long as I’m on a sailboat with friends and family.
Fail-proof way to de-stress:
Stay tuned for more editions of the Female Founder Series!