The CEO's I've interviewed constantly share knowledge and insights that help me throughout my career journey and more. Ryan Strandin, the Founder and CEO of Bucha Belly, is no different.
If you been to a YPOSeattle Networkout events in the past couple of years, you've gotten an opportunity to taste Bucha Belly kombucha. It’s fresh, full of probiotics and it actually tastes good, go figure!
Now, get to know Ryan Strandin and Bucha Belly with “8 Questions with Bucha Belly CEO, Ryan Strandin”:
Tell us a little bit about how you ended up starting Bucha Belly.
I had acid-reflux every day of my adult life. I drank store-bought kombucha on and off for years, but never saw much relief from it. As a hobby, I began to brew my own kombucha. Within 1 week, my acid reflux was completely gone, and by the second week, I weight 7lbs less from internal swelling!
I immediately started to ask why store-bought had never helped me in the slightest and found out it was because they can leave their kombucha on the shelf for up to 18 months! Most of the probiotics were dead inside, and it wasn’t doing anything to help my gut. Seeing such incredible change myself, I knew there had to be a market out there for people who wanted the health benefits of freshly brewed kombucha but didn’t want to have to make it themselves.
What’s one of your favorite products?
When I started this company, I expected to be sick of our original Lemon-Ginger flavor by now, but I still drink it on a near-daily basis and am consistently shocked that I am not tired of it yet!
What sort of pivots or challenges have you had during Covid times?
We acquired the license that allowed us to sell wholesale right at the beginning of the whole COVID crisis. Our strategy was to approach bars and coffee shops that would be good fits to stock kegs of our kombucha. Without the foot traffic for restaurants, that strategy got completely derailed, so we launched a line of wholesale individual bottles that can be included in restaurants’ delivery and curbside pickup orders. We are now up and running.
What do you do to unwind when you are not literally running a bada$$ company?
Running a company is always on in the back of your mind, but it is definitely important to shift gears. I try to spend downtime honing other skills. Right now I am working on my developer skills, specifically in Python. Otherwise, I will binge some Netflix or play some video games.
What are your 5-10-20 year goals?
I would like to build Bucha Belly into a multi-city company, promoting fresh kombucha delivered. Then I would like to partner with more small companies and utilize the delivery route density to help other companies.
What are some of the other, less Covid centered, lessons have you learned?
It is rare that things go exactly as expected. It is important to stay flexible, talk with your customers, and be willing to adjust.
Who is someone you lean on for advice when things get tough?
My girlfriend Alivia Lains is incredibly supportive, and always there for me. She is really easy to go to and talk through any problems that I am trying to solve.
We just have to know, do you have a pet? A furry friend that gets you outside, inspired or just laughing?
I have a super cute hedgehog named Buddy.