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Health drinks manufacturer diversifies

A specialist health drinks manufacturer which normally sells products in independent retailers is developing its online business following the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Birmingham-based PJ Kombucha is a family-owned and independent business producing authentic kombucha products. Kombucha is a fermented drink and is widely consumed for its health benefits.

Company founder Patrick O’Connor developed the brand wanting to bring a completely authentic kombucha product to the UK market, and the business has been running since 2017.

Patrick said: “We have developed a product that we believe in. Every batch is brewed and tasted by myself prior to release. We use a brewing method based on ancient kombucha techniques and we aim to produce the most natural kombucha possible."

PJ Kombucha is part of the NatWest Accelerator programme. Open to entrepreneurs of any age and at any stage of their business, including larger companies with higher turnovers, the full- funded programme provides successful applicants with coaching and support.

Following the outbreak of Coronavirus , Patrick saw the need to pivot his business and focus more on the online retail side of things. A NatWest customer, Patrick is working with his bank manger on securing additional funding to sustain his business over this period.

“I spoke to NatWest about a payment holiday and it was probably the easiest thing that I have ever done. I’ve also been able to extend my overdraft limit just to ensure I have some cashflow over this period. We are still getting a small amount of business, but we lost 85 per cent of business as  we supply cafes and shops which aren’t open.

“When I started the business, the focus was traditional retailers, but I am re-examining things over this period and plan to develop the online offering from there. My aim would be to get around 50 per cent of our normal business through online sales.”

Pam Sheemar, entrepreneur development manager at NatWest, said: “Patrick has shown his determination to succeed and has developed a sustainable plan to help him continue to operate over this period. We were delighted we could support him and wish every success for the future.”


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