With the popularity of specialty teas on the rise, it's no wonder Kombucha has made a name for itself in the beverage sphere. Kombucha, a fermented probiotic tea, earns gold stars for a number of benefits, including promoting a healthy digestive system.
But here's the downside: The fizzy tea is a little pricey – typically at $3 to $5 per bottle.
That's why Kate Field created a store-bought version to nix this dilemma. With only $800 in her pocket, she created an at-home kombucha brewing kit called The Kombucha Shop – and the rest was history.
"I had the entrepreneurial bug for a while but never quite landed on the right idea," Field said in an email to CNBC. "Pretty quickly after beginning to homebrew, the lightbulb went off. I thought to myself, 'It's so much more cost-effective to brew kombucha at home, and what I'm making tastes incredible, how has no one turned this into a business yet?'"
To gain capital for the business, Field went on "Shark Tank," seeking $350,000 in exchange for 10% equity. The pitch itself was one to remember – Field brought out a tub of scoby, the key ingredient in Kombucha. It's a rubbery structure that doesn't look the most appetizing – and it's safe to say the Sharks were shocked. Especially Kevin O'Leary after hearing the $3.5 million valuation.
"I have an unsettled stomach until I hear a revenue."
Field responded by saying that the company was on track to make between $1.6 and $1.7 million that year. Plus, she wasn't spending any money on advertising or turning to crowdfunding sites – and that really impressed the Sharks.
"Getting on to Shark Tark was such a pie in the sky dream of mine for years," Field said. "When the opportunity actually came up to audition, I was too scared -- I almost didn't go. I thought I'd never get on the show, and if I did, I'd fail miserably and walk out crying and humiliated. I was so focused on all the possible bad outcomes that I failed to think about how capable I actually am. With practice and focus, it's amazing what people can do when they set their minds to something. I've kept that level of confidence and patience since the show, it's had a lasting effect on how I lead my business. Now, no goal or dream I have for myself or the business seems too crazy."
The Kombucha Shop received a nice bump in sales right after the airing. In a period of fewer than six weeks, Field said they packed and shipped out over 15,000 orders. Plus, they ended up getting into the Midwest region of Whole Foods this past spring and are also launching brewing kits across the region in November.
"Being an entrepreneur is one of the hardest yet most rewarding experiences in life," Field said. "And if I've learned anything over the last five years, no amount of success or money will make you happy in the end. With each new level you reach, you just set your sights higher and higher. There is no finish line for an ambitious person, so you have to spend time finding true joy and fulfillment away from the confines of success and failure."
Did Field end up locking down a deal in the end? Find out on "Shark Tank" Wednesday at 9P ET on CNBC.