PJ Kombucha diversifies its online offering to sustain business


A drink 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, independent company making kombucha products.

The fermented drinks are marketed for their supposed health benefits including boosting immunity and improving gut health.

PJ Kombucha, which is based in Hockley, was founded in 2017 by Patrick O’Connor who said he saw the need to adapt his business and focus more on the online retail side of things following the outbreak of coronavirus.

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He said: “It’s been a slow process. We are a family-owned business but mostly operated by me.

“My dad is in the retail business and has been incredibly supportive in helping me develop the company which has mostly seen us supply specialist stores with our products to date.”

PJ Kombucha is part of the NatWest Accelerator programme which is open to entrepreneurs of any age and at any stage of their business and provides applicants with mentoring, support programmes and networking opportunities.

Mr O’Connor has worked with the bank to secure additional funding to sustain his business over the coming months as companies across the country continue to battle the economic impact of coronavirus.

He has agreed a payment holiday and overdraft extension with the bank.

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“We are still getting a small amount of business but we lost 85 per cent as we supply cafés and shops which aren’t open,” he added.

“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 in Birmingham, said: “It’s a challenging time for Patrick and many of our entrepreneurs.

“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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