Daina Trout is the CEO of Health-Ade Kombucha which she co-founded in 2012 alongside her husband Justin Trout and best friend Vanessa Dew. Daina’s enthusiasm to make a difference speaks to the importance of the company’s tagline “Follow your Gut.” The story of Health-Ade is owed to the belief that following your gut is integral in one’s journey to happiness and health.
Tell us a little bit about you, Daina Trout, and what you do.
Health-Ade was started by my husband, my best friend, and I in 2012 out of our tiny apartment in Los Angeles where we had a very tiny credit card, but a big dream. We wanted to make a better tasting and higher quality kombucha. We wanted to find ways to make this product without compromising quality, and we felt there wasn’t anything in the market like that. Out of our closet was born this company, Health-Ade. We started in the farmer’s market. It’s a real old school American start-up story with crazy fast growth ever since. Passion, tenacity, and hunger has gotten us through. None of us had a big background in business. None of us had a lot of money. We started the company with $600. Four years later, we’re nationally distributed, in all states, and have about 65 employees. We just completed a 50,000 square foot brewery. We’ve done all of this without ever having to compromise quality. We make kombucha the real way, and that’s really important to me. My background is in nutrition so I’ve always cared a lot about real food.
Can you tell us what sets Health-Ade apart?
We committed ourselves from day one to one thing. We aim to be the best tasting and highest quality kombucha you can buy. We make kombucha the old school way, the way you make it at home. We do things like ferment 100% in glass to prevent plastic and metal leaching. We’re the only glass brewer. Everyone else brews in either plastic or metal. Kombucha is an extremely active and acidic process so it can really interact with the vessel it’s fermented in. We ferment in small batches. We flavor with the highest quality ingredients. We don’t use fake fermentation agents or engineered probiotics. We let the kombucha completely brew naturally. We call ourselves, simply put, real kombucha. That’s the difference.
Tell us a little bit about your company’s tagline, “Follow your Gut.”
“Follow your Gut” was initially a quick tagline that we came up with in a couple hours. The three of us were sitting around, and we decided to sell my kombucha at the farmer’s market. We thought, “Follow your Gut” was great because the probiotics. You follow your gut to kombucha, probiotics are good for your gut. It made sense. I had no idea then when we made that tagline in a couple of hours how important it would become. We’re the fastest growing brand in the category. I’ve never been here before. I don’t have a background in business. A lot of my decision making has been fueled by my instincts, my passion, my ethics or, a lot of people call that altogether your gut. I learned that following your gut is the best business practice I could adopt. I didn’t know when I created the tagline that it would literally be the thing that made me successful.
What would you say to bloggers about getting out in the community and doing outreach?
I would say nothing should get in your way. Being in front of the consumer is one of the most important things you can do.
How do you stay balanced?
It is really hard to stay balanced. One of the things I’ve had to do is manage my expectations. You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. I learned that I just have to tweak my expectations a bit. I’m a mom. I’m a wife. I’ve got this business going like crazy. I have a body that needs to be taken care of. I have friends. I have family. When I took my standard and focused it a little bit more, I started to feel a lot better. Maybe on Monday I’m the best mom, but I didn’t get a chance to work out. Tuesday I got to work out, and maybe I missed out on an hour of time with my son. Wednesday, I was the best CEO you could even imagine. At the end of the week I tasted success in every department that was important to me. I feel like that’s the way I’ve been able to balance. It’s just managing the expectations of being the best all the time at everything. Just be good at one thing at a time and allow yourself to congratulate yourself for that. You didn’t fail at seven things, you succeeded at one. That has been a real shift for me this year.
Daina Trout is the CEO of Health-Ade Kombucha which she co-founded in 2012. Daina’s enthusiasm to make a difference speaks to the importance of the company’s tagline “Follow your Gut.” Her company aims to be the best tasting and highest quality kombucha. The story of Health-Ade is owed to the belief that following your gut is integral in one’s journey to happiness and health.