There is nothing that I love to see more than an absolute boss lady taking charge, running her business and not needing anyone’s help. Except, seeing two absolute boss ladies working together to create a company with room for both of their unique personalities and strengths and just supporting the crap out of each other in general.
I love Jaka Jamu because it’s delicious, trendy, super hydrating and run by two literally awesome power babes, Caitlin and Kristina.
Their turmeric and tamarind based tonic drink started with a recipe that Caitlin developed in her kitchen when a friend of hers was badly burned. She wanted to create something that could have healing properties for the skin and tissues as well as recuperative anti-inflammatory properties. C: I began to Google remedies that would help heal skin and came across Jamu, which I became totally obsessed with. Over the next year I created the product testing out different recipes with healing herbs– taste, benefits and nutrition facts being most important.
What they were learning and experimenting with in the kitchen spawned three flavors of Jaka Jamu; Original, Ginger and Raspberry Leaf.
It sounds a little bit too much like a dream scenario; putting together this amazing healing brand, and then running it with the lady who has been your BFF since y’all were 14, but for these Caitlin and Kristina it’s real life. K: It may sound cliche but Caitlin is very much the Tom to my Jerry. Knowing each other well helps minimize surprises, ensures we understand how each other communicates, and means we know each other’s strengths & areas of opportunity. Communication and trust are key in any partnership and ours is no different.
Even when the entrepreneur life gets rough, Caitlin and Kristina remember that it was their friendship and bond that created the brand and the product to begin with. If it was powerful enough to do all that, it can certainly be depended on to stay strong through a little bit of stormy weather here and there. C: Creating a beverage brand [holds] the potential to make really expensive mistakes if you don’t know what you are doing and we definitely did make some of those [mistakes]. They were all learning experiences and ultimately improved the product so we “failed forward”.
As the woman of Jaka Jamu hustle their way through New York sales and distribution, they rely heavily on in store demos to make sure that their product is reaching their ideal customers and make a sincere impression on shoppers. K: Demos are [more] effective [than social media]. As a new brand and essentially a new category to the market (jamu) it’s very much about exposure and education. Further, there can be an automatic assumption that our beverage is loaded with sugar and doesn’t taste great given the perception of turmeric so we have to vocalize that is just not the case with JJ.
That’s not to say though, that they are neglecting their Insta-game. Jaka Jamu chose to partner with external creatives to help their brand gain a foothold on line. The characteristics they value most in a content development professional is a great eye for aesthetics, a pre-established presence in the online wellness world and a real understanding for their product.
“[So far she’s] done a great job incorporating our voice and educating our following which is very important to us.”
When asked where they wanted all of this brand promotion – both in store and online – to take them, both were passionate about the possibility of teaming up with Wellness Hotels. C: there would be endless creative opportunities and working with a wellness hotel brand would allow us to tap into customers at a time when their minds are quiet and they are really in tune with their bodies.
Kristina and Caitlin hope that their product will become a helpful and healing resource for people out their who want to heal their irritated skin, inflamed joints or temporary hangovers, but it’s apparent that their generous spirit doesn’t stop at wanting to help consumers. They also don’t hesitate to contribute what they have learned to the pool of resources shared by other entrepreneurs. K: Resources are not easy to find, especially if you don’t know where to look! I wish I had read “Mission in a Bottle” by Seth Goldman & Barry Nalebuff, co-founders of Honest Tea much earlier than I did! C: People are also super willing to help which has been a great resource for us. One of our early customers even connected us with a friend of his that had started another beverage company. Chobani put together a great document that lists service providers for food and beverage startups and PieShell has a great blog for F&B entrepreneurs
Over the course of this next year, which will really only take them into their second year of doing business, they are looking to partner with a distributor who has established relationships with the types of retailers who could best expose them to more of their ideal clients.
This glass bottled, woman owned, locally made, anti-inflammatory trailblazer is a must for anyone looking to add something truly special, tasty and unique but above all F U N C T I O N A L to their diets. Try for yourself and heal what ails you, one sip at a time.