Booyah Vitality – Healthy Family Business
Booyah Vitality, a health drinks brand with a signature unpasteurised kombucha, has been able to meet incredible demand for its product as word of mouth spread during the first lockdown with support from Locate East Sussex, and has now relaunched for 2021.
Locate East Sussex has helped us by putting us in touch with the right connections, helping us to develop our business further.Lisa DriverBooyah Vitality
Seeing an opportunity in a growing trend, Lisa Driver’s passion for kombucha began with her attempts at keeping her and her family healthy. As a naturopathic nutritional therapist as well as a fitness instructor, Lisa understands the importance of healthy living and using food as medicine, looking into healthy drinks as an alternative to sugary fruit juices.
Kombucha is a fermented tea that is naturally sweet and lightly carbonated with a slightly sour taste. It is probiotic, good for gut health and naturally low in sugar. According to The Grocer, the industry is set to grow 209% year on year.
Based on the belief that health is not just about committing to fitness, but also about embracing healthy eating habits, Lisa started to sharing her research and recipes in her Pilates class so that her clients could create healthy drinks at home.
‘I wanted to give people a more holistic view of health and wellbeing.’
By bringing in her own, personal mixtures, for example, turmeric shots, Lisa found a growing demand from her clients who were even offering to pay her for it.
Going from turmeric shots to kombucha was a natural progression. ‘Originally,’ Lisa said, ‘I made kefir (a fermented yoghurt drink), and my family weren’t keen. I looked into the evidence behind organic kombucha, and it has been shown to have similar benefits, and when I learnt to make it, found it was also a nicer drink.’ From there, experimenting with new and different flavours, Lisa turned to kombucha as the signature drink for Booyah Vitality.
Considering all the products available in supermarkets, Lisa reflected on why her drink could compete with more prominent brands: ‘The problem with many other kombuchas in the shops is that they are pasteurised, and a lot of good bacteria is killed by heat. In addition, they lack confidence in their own drinks, they add more sugar or stevia to sweeten them. This is just not necessary; kombucha is a naturally low-sugar sweet drink, and you can still have nice drinks even if you’re on a diet’.
When lockdown was put into place in mid-March, Lisa felt it was the right time to make the business their main priority and launch into the wider community. It was a daunting task, but as Lisa put it: ‘it was a chance that we simply had to take’.
The world went on pause and Philip, Lisa’s husband, who had to interrupt his commercial diving career, took a natural lead in production. ‘I told him, we’ve got to push this.
We increased our production almost immediately, and Philip perfected our formulas. Alongside our daughter Phoebe, we make a great team!
‘We haven’t killed each other yet,’ Lisa added humorously.
They launched Booyah Vitality at the right time, meeting the demand from customers wanting a local product and choosing to shop locally.
Starting with delivering on Fridays in St Leonards and Hastings, Lisa and Philip have managed to build up an impressive production facility using organic tea and natural spices and flavours, making over 200 litres weekly for their expanding range of drinks, and their daughter Phoebe taking charge of their social media and managing the shipping and delivery of orders.
Locate East Sussex helped Booyah Vitality in building business confidence and helping them to capitalise on their market. Lisa explained that with Locate East Sussex’s Jim Fletcher’s financial forecasting techniques, she was able to see that the business was ‘…not just a hobby; we’d actually made this happen!’
As a part of the investment strategy, Lisa had learnt about an opportunity to rent a hut on Hastings Pier. ‘We heard there was one hut left (on the pier), we emailed, and they said it was ours the next day.’ Taking a chance, Booyah Vitality found new prospective customers, and weekly sales numbers during lockdown have now turned into daily sales numbers for the combined pier and online outlets, becoming a mainstay on the Hastings Pier own bar menu.
‘Our biggest challenge now is not running out of stock! We are working hard to keep up with the demand.’
New Year, New Booyah
Booyah Vitality has now relaunched to help consumers seeking a healthier lifestyle in 2021, but relaunching during lockdown did not come without its challenges.
“2020 has been tough for everyone’, Lisa said, ‘It was a risk launching a company at the start of the pandemic but after a successful summer on Hastings Pier, we knew we needed to scale up production and were determined to press forward.’
Working with Larking, a Hastings-based design and marketing agency, the aim was to create a new visual identity that would differentiate Booyah Vitality as a premium craft drinks brand amongst competitors and clearly communicate the brand’s core products and flavours. “It’s been a long journey but we’re delighted with the new branding,” said Lisa.
As well as free and safe local doorstep deliveries on Fridays, Booyah Vitality drinks are now sold UK-wide. “We’re on a mission to keep the nation healthy as part of a balanced diet and lifestyle to help the fight against the impact of Covid”, says Lisa. Booyah Vitality drinks are available to order from its website right now.
Photo of Driver family by Rebecca Brooker Photography.