Updated: Feb 4, 2022
Our first customer spotlight of 2022 is with the amazing Wildling. A Water Kefir producer based in West Sussex.
We were lucky enough to chat to the owner and founder of this fantastic small business, Roisin. She talked to us all about her business, what Water Kefir is and it's potential health benefits.
Wildling use our range of glass bottles as their packaging for their fantastic flavours of Water Kefir. Glass bottles are the perfect packaging for any drinks products as they do not effect the taste of the product.
Read the full blog below to learn more and find out about Wildling and Water Kefir.
Hi Roisin, how are you today?
Yeah good thank you, how are you?
I’m good thank you! Thanks for taking the time to be part of our customer spotlight series! How is Wildling Water Kefir going?
Really good thank you. It’s getting busier and busier. Which is good.
Where are you based?
We are based in Shoreham near Worthing in West Sussex.
Oh great. Do you do a lot of markets around your local area?
I do some markets. But I am moving more towards online and in to shops. As markets can be a little hit and miss. It really depends on the season and the weather. Sometimes the markets can be great. But other times they aren’t. They are great for meeting customers though. But once our customers know about us they can then buy direct from our website. Or a local store.
Can you tell us a little about you and your business?
I started about 3 years ago making Water Kefir for personal consumption. Especially when my daughter was really ill. After taking loads of antibiotics. It stripped all the natural bacteria from her gut. So I got in to fermenting that way. So I made a fermented drink which helps build up your natural biome. Then I started making it for friends and family and that’s how I set up a market stall and it’s moved on from there.
I noticed you changed your name recently. Where did the name Wildling come from?
I’ve just been through a whole branding experience recently. It made me think what is this business and what is it about. One of the main pillars of the business is that it’s a natural live drink. It’s how it should be. It’s not pasteurised, it’s not filtered, it’s as it should be. It’s a wild drink. So it was natural to call it Wildling. And we were lucky no one else had taken the name!
That’s very lucky isn’t it! For those of us who don’t know. What is Water Kefir?
I know! We were very lucky. Kefir is part of the same family as Kombucha. I call them cousins. Both Kefir and Kombucha start from a mother which is called a Scoby. Which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. The mother is live. And with Kombucha you add tea and sugar. And with Kefir you add water and sugar. There is also milk Kefir. They are all part of the same family of fermented drinks.
So do all three drinks come from the same Scoby? So if you have one you can make any of the drinks?
It’s slightly different. You need a specific one to make each drink. They have different strains of bacteria for each.
From the champions section of your website I can see there are a lot of health benefits to drinking Kefir. Why is it so good for you?
The main thing is that the drink is live. And that’s where the health benefits come from. They are working out now that so much of our health comes from our gut. From our micro biome. Such as our serotonin which is made there. Which is our happy chemical. So it really improves mood. The better your gut is in shape. Your going to have a better mood. And that has a lot of links to mental health.
None of this is scientifically tested. All of this is anecdotal. Because it’s still really early days. But that’s what people say.
IBS is often linked to a poor micro biome. People have said to me that after drinking our real live drink that have started to make a difference. It’s all linked to micro biome. From weight loss to acne even.
So are they doing more studies in this field?
They are. It’s coming. There’s a guy called Tim Spectre. He’s done loads of work on micro biome. And how every single persons biome is different. What’s good for me. Might be different from what’s good for you.
To get in as much fermented food as possible is really important.
It all depends on the person. I’ve had customers come to me and tell me their sleep has really improved since drinking it. Another girls acne was greatly reduced.
So it really does affect everyone differently doesn’t it?
It does. All I can say is that I produce a naturally live drink. And that’s what I promise. Other people are the ones that tell me how it affects them. And how it benefits them.
I have a lot of customers who are women who are trying to take charge of their health. A lot of them who are in their late 30s and 40s who are going through perimenopause. That is a big thing we don’t really talk about in society. But women go through around 10 years of life experiencing crazy hormone changes. And people are saying stop drinking alcohol and get your gut health in check.
So a lot of my customers are replacing their alcohol with the Water Kefir.
You currently have four flavours of your Water Kefir available. Have you got plans for future flavours?
I don’t think I’m going to bring in any new flavours. I think I’m going to keep it how it is. Just because I’m trying to work out how to scale the business. And I’m already finding just by having another flavour it’s complicating my business so much. I’d rather keep it as simple as possible.
Which is your favourite flavour? How does it benefit you?
The lime and mint Water Kefir. It just won a great taste award. I think it was the only Water Kefir in that category.
Congratulations! What does winning a great taste award mean for you and your business?
It just means I’m recognised as producing an excellent product. And as a small producer that means a lot. I can put it on all my promotional materials and the customers see that and know it will be good.
What has been the biggest challenge with setting up your own business?
The biggest challenge was just taking the leap. From being a teacher to starting my own business. Having the courage to do it. A lot of people say “That business would be great”. But there’s a difference between saying it would be great and doing it. Whereas I’ve actually done it.
What made you choose glass bottles as your packaging for your water Kefir?
Because it has to be able to withstand the pressure. Secondary fermation takes place in the bottle. So it wouldn’t work in plastic. The carbonation takes place in the bottle. So if the carbon dioxide builds up in a plastic bottle it would just blow out the bottle.
Whereas with glass it can withstand the pressure and carbonation.
How long have you been a customer of Sen5es and how do you find out products and service?
I’ve been with Sen5es since I started. Stuart has been great. The reason I used Sen5es was that you could get really low volumes of bottles. So as a start up you can really grow. And the level of service is excellent. I really like how I work with Stuart. I can text him or email him. And I might be on the run and out of bottles. I just have to text Stuart asking him to send me bottles and it just happens! We have a good working relationship like that.
What would you like to see from Sen5es in the future?
I would like to see 275ml bottles! I am moving toward smaller bottles as I need to hit a certain price point. With the 330ml bottles I just can’t do that. We worked out some pricing and we had to hit a certain price point to be able to sell it in shops. The 275ml allows me to do that.
Thank you so much to Roisin for taking the time to chat to us. We learned so much from this conversation. And as always it's great to chat to and connect with one of our amazing customers.
Did you and your business want to be featured in our next customer spotlight? Let us know! We love hearing from our customers and it's great marketing for your small business.
All the best
The team at Sen5es