We (Mara and Willow King) are probiotic pickleteers. We started making live, raw krauts and kimchi two years ago for the fun of it and to enjoy with families and friends.
The pickles were so good that we somehow landed on a magic carpet ride which involved branding, smiling earnestly at dairy buyers, chopping gigantic piles of cabbage, deep conversations about margins, rushing to pick up each others’ kids from school, and all the very best of what comes with the title of “momtrepreneur.” We now find ourselves with a dedicated factory, five full-time employees and a pet forklift named King Tub.
Perhaps it’s the probiotics: those invisible critters that are working around the clock to bring us good health and vibrant awareness; maybe it’s the organic farmers and all the love they put into growing their cabbages; perhaps it’s the fact that we live in a time that requires us to think more about what we are putting into our bodies and what we are giving back to the earth. Whatever it is, it’s working. People love the products.
Ozuké is currently sold in 29 Whole Foods, 37 Vitamin Cottages and many other independent grocers in the Rocky Mountain region and is about to arrive in the golden state of California. We need funding to support this growth.
A bit about us: Mara has 17 years of professional chef work under her belt and runs Ozuké’s operations. Willow’s background is in PR and she oversees marketing and sales. There is a strong support team behind the kimchi curtain — an experienced crew of accountants, sales reps, strategists and of course, queen lactobacillus is on the board.
To learn more about Ozuké, please visit the website at ozuke.com or come to the Boulder Farmers’ Market any Wednesday or Saturday to sample the goods.
Funding for this unconventional company has been difficult. We have been turned away by traditional banks; we are too small for VCs and too big for friends and family. We find ourselves stuck in a cycle of needing to grow in order to get more funding but needing funding in order to grow. We have received a small loan from our local Slow Money investment club, which was instrumental in getting us some much-needed production equipment to streamline Their process. And we love the Slow Money model because it takes into consideration the bottom line but it also takes into account things we think are really important, like buying organic and paying living wages to our employees.