Brewing Online Success With Kombucha – Dave Lindenbaum Interview
“Kombucha” Dave Lindenbaum helps people brew “The Tea of Immortality” aka Kombucha.
His website is dedicated to everything kombucha and as it turns out, he’s quite the internet marketer.
Here’s why you should listen to Dave:
In a relatively short amount of time, he’s turned a passion into profits and reaches thousands monthly by leveraging social media, blogging and eCommerce. His website getkombucha.com is ranked the #1 kombucha website, based on customers, subscribers, and positive reviews!
He’s done a great job of using the internet as a tool to build a brand and create a healthy (pun intended) passive income selling physical products.
Today, we’re going to show you exactly how he’s done it, and how you can do the same.
Dave Lindenbaum Interview
#1. You sell a physical Kombucha making kit online. There are so many things needed to start selling, where did you start and how did you prevent yourself from being so overwhelmed?
Started small… like really small!
I started out of my apartment and whoever my roommate was at the time got free rent to help me bag tea and ship, etc. The biggest “investment” was buying a logo for $55 which years later I realized resembled a cross between the HerbaLife logo and a marijuana plant!
My friend was working for breathalyzer.net and they had a Yahoo merchant account (I know! yahoo has their own shopping cart!!!).. so that’s what I went with too. I approached it from what the objective was.. which was share this incredible discovery with others. This discovery = excitement, passion and the unknown… so really share all these positive emotions with others. I’d apply all these things I was learning at the time like SEO, eCommerce, sales, marketing… so I could see what worked and what didn’t and continue to learn even as I am writing this… not too much has changed!! 🙂
2. Your standard kombucha kit has over a dozen different items, including:
- Certified lead free porcelain brewer
- Hand crafted wooden stand
- ONE Fully Grown Organic Kombucha Mushroom Culture – 6 inches in diameter
- BPA free bottles, etc.
How did you go about sourcing all these products, getting the best price, packaging it together and storing it?
Continuous improvement. Our brewers started out as a 5 gallon FDA bucket. I literally had my friend come visit me from NY and I had him drilling holes in all these plastic buckets! We’ve just recently upgraded our bottles. The way we grow cultures have been upgraded so that it lasts much longer when packaged long distances.
Getting help from others has also been a huge help in making this all possible. One of my mentors is an ayurvedic healer and master tea blender, he’s the inspiration behind our boosters wealth of info in tea… I trained under him for 2 years.
We also work with a non profit called ARC Southeast Industries http://www.arcselac.org/ they allowed us to scale.. but more importantly, they take so much pride in their work.. they did a way better job than I ever could. We are a sponsor of their annual walk for independence… one of the best moments of my life was when we saw that GetKombucha.com was right under CocaCola on their shirts!
Only recently we began working with a fulfillment center. This took a very long time for a lot of reasons.. we are not shipping out just tee shirts! So it had to be a group that “got us”… these guys are incredible.. They also have the proper facilities that allow us to work with them.
As for finding the best price, I really have not placed my focus too much on this because I’ve been working with the same vendors forever… and sometimes you get what you pay for. My thing though, is not to get the best price.. but to know what the price is.
Example.. I love ARC because they charge per job vs per hour. The fulfillment center works the same per shipment vs per hour and it’s much easier to quantify. You can always get a better price later when you scale.
#3. Setting up a kombucha brewer can be quite complicated, what have you done to prevent your customers making mistakes along the way?
- Insane customer support – I used to personally deliver cultures to people and then spend the afternoon showing them how to set it up. I still personally respond to every email anyone sends me. And 95% of the time the only mistake is them not believing that they can do it, but I don’t blame them.. I remember the first batch I made.. I was like wtf! it’s a science experiment gone wrong 🙂 always push the envelope. I send snagit screencasts instead of typed emails.. they love this!
- Leveraged online media and technology- Took the top 50 questions I get asked most and made 50 videos answering each one. Then I hired someone on fiverr to transcribe each video…boom… a year supply of weekly videos and blog posts. This was something I sucked at and payed for dearly.
- Building a community that helps each other – This was in the form of a Facebook group and an active Facebook page.
#4. You offer free shipping throughout the US, pros/cons? How has this worked out for you?
Too soon to tell.. Just recently started doing it. We used to charge shipping upfront and then had a shopping cart abandonment program that would offer free shipping on the 3rd and final response.. so it was good leverage.
#5. We love great domains here at IncomeDiary and GetKombucha.com is a great domain. How important has it been to have such a perfect domain for your business?
Glad you like the name! I don’t think it is too important now-a-days with the updated Google algorithms. But I was really, really into seo in the early days… almost to the point that I lost focus on so many other things… I’ve had branding growing pains recently on whether to drop the .com from the name or not.
#6. You use all the social media sites. If you could only use one for your business, which would it be?
YouTube. Not for SEO, but for credibility, for trust, for teaching, for selling, for building a relationship for authority, and for transcribing into blog posts.
#7. You do a lot of YouTube videos. If there is anything we know about entrepreneurs doing videos, is that they struggle. So often I’ve seen friends shoot 10 videos before they even perfected the way they said hi. What advice would you give other business owners wanting to shoot videos, but lack the confidence to pull it off in a timely fashion?
Set yourself up to win. Use my strategy of batching the shoot over an entire weekend and you’re set up for the whole year of steady content. How would you talk if you were playing World of Warcraft with your buddy you’ve known since middle school? If you know what you are talking about, it is much easier do tons of takes.. they’re free 🙂 sure you want nice production value… but do not use that as an excuse not to get going!!! Try different styles (bullet points, memorizing a script, interview techniques, etc) and see what works for you.
DECIDE VERY EARLY ON.. WHAT IS THE OBJECTIVE
#8. I love how you implement lots of the latest internet marketing tactics on your website. What has worked better then you expected and what hasn’t worked so well?
It’s not the tactic, it’s the execution. When I follow through it works or when I find the right person to execute, it works.
#9. Time machines are a real thing. You can jump in one, travel back to 2007, what would you do differently?
I’d do several things differently, for instance:
- Would have hired a better designer.
- Hired a developer.
- Hired a virtual assistant.
- Deployed a fulfillment center.
- Wouldn’t have done everything myself.
- Invested more time and money in the business and myself.
- Would have held my business in general to a higher standard.
- Networked more, purchased more programs, joined more masterminds.
#10. From what I can tell, Kombucha is your passion! What would you tell other entrepreneurs wanting to pursue a business they are passionate about?
Kombucha is not my passion. Upgrading my belief systems in what is possible from life and sharing that excitement and sense of empowerment with others is my passion. Living life on my terms to pursue many interests from playing guitar to being able to visit my family and vacation with my wife is my passion.
The only reason I still get so excited about kombucha is because I get to live vicariously through someone who has just discovered it and now is purchasing one of my kits.. that feeling is awesome. It’s like discovering your neighbor has never heard of the Beatles before, and you are the lucky one who gets to bring over Abbey Road and play it for them!