We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristen Anderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristen, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
My business idea has pivoted SO many times since my original idea and that is one of my all-time favorite parts about it. I wanted to open a smoothie shop before the pandemic because there was a need for it in the town where my gym was located. Once shutdowns began, I quickly realized that this was not an ideal time to open a business in the food industry. Then began the business model pivoting. At first, from all of my research, I decided it would be an optimal time for a food truck. Customers could feel much safer ordering from an outside environment, less staff needed inside a small vehicle, and the ability to move around to find the ideal location was also a bonus. I completed an entire business plan and pitch deck for the Earth Kandee smoothie truck. After a meeting with my business consultant, we decided that before dumping a bunch of money into the build-out of a truck that I should take my product to the streets with some market testing to see whether or not there was an actual need for the product. Since smoothies are a difficult thing to sample (running water for cleaning blenders, electricity, etc) I came up with the idea of prepackaging the ingredients needed for the smoothie, delivering to homes, and having the customers blend themselves at home instead. The community LOVED them. So much so that I realized I could continue on with this business model at a much lower starting investment and hit my break-even point much quicker than investing in a truck. Now, ill be able to save for a truck or even my own brick and mortar location someday. Customers love being able to customize their smoothies by choosing their own liquid base and even more the ease of having smoothies delivered right to them, prepped ready to go at home without having to make a stop at the local smoothie shop.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a small business entrepreneur, there are so many barriers put up testing your success at every moment. Even right now as this post is written, I am struggling with the Ventura County health department to begin selling smoothies again because the structure of my business has never been done and the department has nothing to match my circumstances to. The guidelines in place for the VCHD to issue a permit are for either a brick and mortar establishment or a mobile food truck and my model doesn’t fall into either of those categories. So, every day has been a battle with them trying to come up with a completely new set of guidelines for such an unprecedented business model and actually receive my permit. I am proud of myself for fighting through this hard time when it would have been much easier to give up after being told no 1,000 times. I am determined to find a way to make this business work in Ventura County and the health department will not stop hearing from me until I do. Earth Kandee will not only provide plant-based smoothies to the community but it will have a strong focus in compostable packaging and eco-conscious business decisions which is something all coastal California cities could benefit from.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them on a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains and then head to lunch at Cafe 27 in the Topanga Canyon. After, we would drive up the coast as the sunsets and end up in the funk zone in Santa Barbara for some more amazing food and wine.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A HUGE portion of my continued success is thanks to Womens Economic Ventures of Ventura, Ca. They are a non-profit organization providing microenterprise development services to women. They have everything from online training courses and workshops to business planning and personal advisors. They have so many resources for women to get started or grow in their dream business and I couldn’t be more thankful for the community and opportunity they have provided to me.
Secondly, would be my boyfriend Diego Lopez. He believes in this business just as much as I do and is continually pushing me to succeed and to show up as the best version of myself so that I can grow right along with Earth Kandee.
Lastly, my mom and my best friend Lacy who are so far away from me but are always curious to know what is happening with the business and remind me on a regular basis that I am capable.
Other: We are INCHES from receiving our permit but as of 7/22 are not doing any deliveries. Updates are regularly made via Instagram and we will inform everyone as soon as our doors open back up!