Good Hustlers : Rose Kentish || Sparkke
Is there a place for social enterprise in the brewing industry, producing quality beverages that spark conversation and raise some big questions to discuss over a glass or two? Rose Kentish and her all female co-founders in Sparkke thought so, and in an intensely competitive environment challenged every norm and industry convention when they launched their products earlier this year. With a mission to get us talking about the big issues, equally important for stablished wine maker Rose was the quality of the product, and together, a harmony of conscious enjoyment with social good was created. With good hustle and startup written all over this product, I had to get Rose Kentish to share her story with us...
I'm a Co-Founder of Sparkke and I am also a winemaker of 20 years. I make wine under the label Rose Kentish Wines (www.rosekentishwines.com.au), working with grape growers to source fruit in McLaren Vale (South Australia) and from Provence and the island of Corsica (in the south of France). I leave in a week to do vintage again over there - it will be the 8th vintage I have done in France and it has been very formative in enhancing my career as a winemaker, as well as influencing my mothering, view on life and cultural learning. It also feeds my soul.
1. Describe Sparkke in one powerful sentence.
Sparkke is a social enterprise raising awareness and funds for important social issues through award-winning beers, ciders and wine – the great conversation starters of our generation. Powered by a group of young women in Adelaide, Sparkke lives breathes and brews its values of social equity, inclusion, individuality and ‘raw truth’ – all that is straight-up and deliciously authentic.
OOOPS! That is 2 sentences!
2. How do you integrate service to others in your business model?
Do you mean, how do we contribute to social change? Well, we have factored in a contribution from each can of Sparkke bevvies we sell (10% of the sales price for direct sales, and 4% for wholesale sales) that we direct to organisations working in the front line of social change. We have established heads of agreements with these organisations, and to date they have included Mums 4 Refugees, The Equality Organisation, Australian Youth Climate Colalition (AYCC), International Women's Development Agency and Her Words. We are also raising funds to support the educational journey of a female brewer to learn from our brewer and co-owner of Sparkke, Agi Gajic.
3. What were some of the highlights and lowlights of your journey to where you are now?
Highlights - well we have had some incredible moments in the short journey of this business. From raising over $100,000 in 4 weeks via crowd funding, the support which gave us the confidence to think "this just might work - there may be a welcome place for a social enterprise in the brewing industry". In 18 months, we have shared our vision and business values in presentations to 2 of the largest alcohol companies in the world; sponsored many large events including Adelaide Fringe, VeganFest, TropFest, The Planting (part of Woodford Folk Festival), Sydney Mardigras, HybridWorld and many more. We have also had the most extraordinary support and show of love from the market: people write emails, tweet, post on Instagram #sparkkechange, their support and backing of our company's proposition to "put the good back into bevvies".
We've had our fair share of challenges for a young business. Creating all natural bevvies in other people's breweries has lead to a hyper-vigilence in product quality control. We can't wait to build our own brewery and it is certainly in the planning. Before then, we will open our first BrewPub in Adelaide's CBD where our community can feel welcome and engaged, as well as make super small batches of premium specialty brews in kegs. We'll be able to pour them in our BrewPub and sell them to other pubs across the country. We can't wait!
4. Do you have a spiritual practice?
I used to do a lot of Yoga, but my practice has fallen away. I am lucky to escape to the beach each weekend where I walk at least once each day with my husband, children and our Labrador called Mojo. Spending peaceful time with my family and walking the beach rejuvenates me and keeps me grounded.
5. Advice for others who want to start their own good hustle?
Resilience (determination, long work hours, persistance, self belief, family support) - you will need all of this by the bucket full.
Plan what financial resources you will need in your first year, and then double it.
Surround yourself with good, intelligent people. We created an advisory board in the first couple of months of forming Sparkke. This group has been a great source of fortification, mentoring and the all-important 'check and balance' required. Our next intention is to set up a formal Board to bring this governance into it's highest purpose.
If you have done your research, your intuition and base knowledge will help you keep to your true north. While specialised advice is often required, never believe that they know more than you do in what may be best for your business.