The nightlife industry caters to only one type of audience: the alcoholic. For those who like to get jiggy with it under a sober conscious, your options are limited. From high sugary drinks to soda water with bitters in a boring glass, the bartender might as well give you a dunce hat to wear (hi everyone, it’s me, yup, not drinking tonight, don’t I seem fun?). It was this exact mindset that led Jen Batchelor to start Kin, a euphoric beverage company.
Jen Batchelor grew up in Saudi Arabia to a father who was a bootlegger. “It was my first exposure to the entrepreneurial side in which my dad would brew his own moonshine, sidiki in our bathtub and became very interested in the distillation process. Growing up in this environment taught me what alcohol can do to bring communities together as well as what it can do to tear families apart.”
“It took me a year of building Kin to realize the impact of my ancestry in the brand.”
“When it comes to success, my mother had a very defined American point of view on what it meant to be successful, purely based on Hollywood. I strived to check all of those boxes and suddenly hit a turning point in my life where I wasn’t happy and realized that the corporate life was not for me. I ended up launching my own social media consulting agency and partnering with hotels for branded experiences as well as building a network of fitness and wellness influencers. At this time SoulCycle was promoting the whole detox to retox regime and it reminded me of the yoyo diets in the ’80s. Why did we have to live life in such extremes?”
On Finding a Co-Founder
Jen was introduced to former Soylent co-founder, Matthew Cauble by a mutual friend. (Tip: Go to as many entrepreneurial events as possible, you never know who you will meet). “We bonded over the wellness industry and how the drinking experience was broken. We wanted Kin to be about opening up a flow state and finding a new way to revel and #risewisely. We want to be at your local bar as well as something you gift when attending house parties.”
Matt took the lead on product development as Jen continued to build out the brand. (It took them 30 iterations of the product over 16 months to get it right!) In the beginning, Jen ran social media herself for the first year until finding our good friend, Larissa May to help with strategy and growth.
“Education has been our biggest challenge as no one is using the same ingredients as us.” Kin is a beverage that combines adaptogens, nootropics, and botanics. What are nootropics you might be wondering? Well, it’s been the big buzz word since 2018! Nootropics are supplements, drugs or substances that may improve cognitive function, particularly in memory, creativity or motivation.
“I don’t trust liquor stores to tell our story right now and therefore we obtain new customers by hosting euphorics workshops and tasting events. This made us realize that people wanted our product delivered to their door which explains our distribution model of D2C.”
“Look at everything you do from the perspective of the consumer.”
As a beverage company you need to can a feeling in order to set yourself apart from competitors. Kin is able to do this by hosting events and partnering with brands in similar spaces. “Social media continues to be the number one way to share organically and discover our brand. We did a happy hour at Glossier as well as an event with Bumble in the past. However, the real impact comes from when we chat with individuals one on one.”
Vogue has been Kin’s biggest advocate and the way they chose to tell Jen’s story has definitely had an influence on sales. Kin has never paid for any major press articles but has gotten it for free through Jen’s relationships and hustle. “If you’re looking to get press, the best way is to reach out directly to an editor and share your personal story alongside a fun tidbit that no one knows. This goes a long way! We then invite these editors to our events.”
We asked Jen if she had $100K how would she spend it. “I would spend 80% on building the framework, story, band, colors, and product. It is pretty cheap to hack a formula together, but for us, it is more important that the individual who chooses to not drink is seen.” Jen furthers comments on how if you are looking to start a company you should:
Know that your unique perspective has the opportunity to change the world. We are going after the conscious creative. We were very intentional in making Kin a premium drink as we don’t want to appeal to 18-year-olds who are legally not allowed to drink alcohol.
Don’t be a copy cat! I am not a fan of people incorporating CBD into their products as a business opportunity.
Be unapologetic for who you are.
Go out and create from a place of no ego.
Kin is looking to make a dent in the alcohol industry. If you are interested in experimenting with sobriety and being seen, shop their products here. Don’t forget to check their website for events as they host pretty rad experiences!
Photo courtesy of Kin.