This little lady of only 21 launched her business after discovering it’s healthy gut promoting properties which she used it to aid digestive and mental health issues. After successfully healing herself, she now wants others to have access to these benefits.
Being from the epicentre of cool, aka Melbourne, she has mixed the traditional drink with mega hipster flavours such as Matcha Maiden Tea, Chai Tea and hopefully soon to be my own comme.co Activated Coconut Charcoal!
Find out how she does it all, how collaborating and social media has made her venture successful and why Kombucha is the crazy traditional tea drink that is making a come back in a big way..
AUDREY SCHARF: FOUNDER EXTRA MILE KOMBUCHA[line]
Name: Audrey Scharf
Occupation: Student studying a double degree in Psychology + Psychophysiology, part time nanny. Full time fermenter / Founder Extra Mile Kombucha :D
Clicky clicks: Extra Mile’s Website / Instagram @extramilekombucha & @audreyscharf / Facebook.
What do you study at school and what is your current intended career path?
I’m just a normal active hard working University Student currently studying Psychology Psychophysiology with a main interest in Neurophysiology and the Mind-Gut connection and how the body functions.
I think it is so important in this day and age to get back to basics, to learn to love and look after our bodies in the correct way, also looking after our minds and the intrinsic relay they have with each other.
I have also just been accepted to start studying an advanced diploma in Nutritional Medicine- which is something I am really passionate about ‘food as medicine’. I would love to focus on gut health and the influences the gut has on the body and the brain.
Over the past year, I have also gained experience in Marketing, PR and communications/social media, with a passion and love for food, health, optimal well-being and fermenting!
How did Extra Mile Kombucha come about?
Through chronic stress, digestive issues and mental illness, my body was NOT happy. I became pretty sick and unhappy so I started researching and became familiar with fermented foods such a Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Kombucha, Kefir & Jun.
As the health conscious food lover I am, I started reading books, journals, and articles and began practicing in the kitchen myself, realising I could make it all! I was really intrigued and fascinated how fermentation works and how it can ‘heal’ the body in many incredible ways, through the many benefits and probiotics that are created through fermentation.
It got to the point where I would be researching fermentation articles and journals over articles for my University assignments (I still finished these University assignments though, I promise!) I really loved the taste of Kombucha and as I don’t drink alcohol it became a good ‘replacement’ when I went out and saw friends.
I also loved the way it made me feel and how rewarding I felt knowing I was nourishing and healing my body. I kept making the kombucha as my mum did not approve of the Kimchi smells coming from the kitchen, but she loved the elderflower berry Kombucha I brought to Christmakkuh (Yes, that’s what we celebrate!).
I continued attending fermentation classes, joining fermenting groups on Facebook and talked to mentors and fellow fermenters locally and globally. Some of the books are now stained with wonderful colours from a lot of trialing and testing- but I think that’s what a recipe book should be.
Back in January, I was away with some friends and brought some Kombucha with me thinking it was the hip non-alcoholic alternative. Offering them a sample, they LOVED it! Then I thought why don’t I nourish everyone else? If I can help anyone and everyone #gotheextramile for their health, why not? Everyone should be able to have access and be able to enjoy the amazing benefits- and flavours I can create!
I want to make it available to everyone and provide healthy options and alternatives to the community. I am also obsessed with all things healthy and being active so I thought this would be a great little project, and boy, has it been a great little project.
It’s great to see my work and worth being dedicated to helping others achieve better health- through drinking Kombucha and all the benefits that it can provide, along with a healthy, happy and wholesome lifestyle.
It’s funny that Kombucha has been around for centuries – and only in the last few years it has become such a craze. A few of my older customers are so happy to see me, as they say they remember their Mum’s making it back in the old days!
Being so young and starting something is pretty amazing, what’s your secret?!
Ha ha. The Nike motto ‘Just do it’. I think when you make something you believe in and are so passionate about there is nothing holding you back but yourself.
It’s hard at times as who are we kidding, we are our own worst enemy’s. Trying to be organized certainly helps, along with balance. A few days a week I start my day off with Yoga, other mornings I’m racing off doing deliveries, going to work.
There is no secret, only a strong belief in yourself and balance. I believe success isn’t always about greatness, its about consistency. Consistent hard work gains success, greatness will come.
What other amazing talents do you have?
I had no idea how to answer this, so I looked up and mum said ‘you’re talented at asking questions. You don’t ever stop.’ So maybe I’m talented at being curious? Drinking coconuts and tea? (Not only the fermented type!) I also love cooking and creating.
How did you finance your business?
Just hustle hustle. All my friends are currently in Europe – but I am here making Kombucha and doing what I love. I worked for a while and saved and now I just nanny and make Kombucha along with Uni. Most of my wardrobe was sold off EBAY, so I practically live in gym gear. I’m lucky that I can call upon great friends and being able to talk to my local producers and suppliers always helps keep costs down – especially when you bring them samples! I am lucky enough to still live at home so not too many bills to pay. It’s hard but everyone is really supportive.
What are some of the most exciting parts of running your own business?
Dropping off a delivery to one of my stockists is so exciting, rewarding (and fun!) knowing that people are consuming my product and #goingtheextramile. It’s one of those pinch worthy moments.
Another exciting part (and probably the best part) is meeting other people. I can honestly say some of my closest friends today are other like-minded individuals I have met, they are so inspiring and motivating, this community is just incredible and so empowering.
Waking up and saying ‘today I will go to work’ is also fun, because it can be whatever I want it to be- as long as shit gets done, of course. (Don’t worry- I do run to a timetable, well try to anyway!). I think being involved in my community is really important and also really exciting, as I love supporting events and trying to get everyone to drink Kombucha and educate everyone about Kombucha- it is so important!
It’s Finding people that I respect and admire is also so rewarding and seeing what else everyone is doing around you. Making Kombucha is the best thing I have ever done.
What has been some of the biggest challenges for you?
Adjusting to the fact that the company is now my life and being my own boss. Last week we were at an event and my dear friend was helping me and she asked ‘What do I do?’ I looked at her and said ‘Work, like any boss would want you to work’, We both laughed.
Trying to ‘run a business’ is also quite challenging, as am still figuring out what that exactly means. But thank goodness for finding people that do, they have been very supportive in offering advice and helping me find my way. I think another challenge is being compliant.
A lot of testing has to be done with Kombucha to ensure the product is safe and ready to sell. A lot of steps have to be taken in place. It’s been a challenge and I am still perfecting that – but I am very grateful for all my mentors and other Kombucha companies around – all they want to do is spread the love of Kombucha. Alcohol levels have been a challenge lately across all Kombucha companies but luckily for me I’m still small scale so it’s a lot easier to control the sugar content, fermentation levels, yeast count, bacteria and alcoholic levels.
I am constantly updating my work processes to maximize efficiency by looking at what’s working and what isn’t, to address the challenges I face. Like every start up managing my stress levels has been a major challenge. To best manage them finding balance in my life is key.
It’s no secret I am a ‘home body’ so I think it’s really important to find ‘down’ time. Just simple things like walking the dog and catching up with friends for brunch I try and always schedule in amongst my work.
What are some of the ways of getting your name out there?
By being honest and true to yourself and your product really helps. With passion and belief behind a great product, it will literally sell itself and knowing that you are doing the world of good for your body.
Social Media (mainly Instagram) has been extremely powerful – especially as my product fits into the health and fitness space which is growing popularity rapidly, which is wonderful. It’s great to see everyone wanting to look after themselves these days and nourish themselves.
I find collaborating with other small local businesses is great as I use Matcha Maiden Green Tea Powder for my ‘Matcha Zen’ brew. Saying ‘YES’ is a good way to get out there and just give anything and everything a go, and being so active and present in your community really helps build loyal and enthusiastic customers.
I’m currently at the Hank Marvin Markets every Saturday- please come and say hi! I also give a percentage of my profits to a local charity/fundraiser/good cause each month as well as I think that’s really important, as I need to #gothextramile and help someone else in need.
It’s a feel good moment being able to donate to a good cause, and my customers can feel good to knowing they are going the extramile for themselves and their health, but also going that EXTRA mile to help somebody else in need.
What’s next for Extra Mile Kombucha?
TAKING OVER THE WORLD WITH KOMBUCHA. But first, Focusing on perfecting my products with some new super awesome recipes that will further benefit your health and make you extra happy :), with the help of Nutritionists and health experts. Lot’s of collaborations and events are coming up too.
We are currently at the Hank Marvin Markets every Saturday having a lot of fun with @nutritiondarling and @smoothiebombs so please come say hi. There may even be some Kombucha inspired products for you there as well!
How do you define success?
I see ‘success’ so many different ways. I think realizing your potential, making a difference, having fun, being happy and being the most successful ‘you’ that you can be. And, of course to #gotheextramile.