Monday, September 2, 2013

How about some sweet Genki-Su?

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation! I am pleased to be joined by the very energetic members of Genki-Su to talk to us about their latest Kickstarter Genki-Su: Japanese Tart Tonic.  Thank you for joining us today.

Hi! We’re Judy & Takako with Genki-Su!  Thanks for having us on Kickstarter Conversation!

As someone who grew up in a Chinese family I have eaten and drank a lot of things folks think are strange, but I have to congratulate you on throwing me a curveball with your Japanese Tart Tonic.  Would you care to explain your product for our readers especially how you can make vinegar into a tasty drink?  

Japanese Tart Tonic is an all-natural, sparkling beverage made from coconut vinegar & fresh Japanese ingredients. The taste is refreshing, tart, sweet & tasty! We use Takako’s (Co-Founder) family recipe: First, we start with coconut vinegar, which has a clean and less vinegary taste. Second, we infuse coconut vinegar with really rare Japanese ingredients like Shiso and Yuzu. After a couple months of infusion, we carbonated the mixture with sparkling water. Sweeten it with honey and stevia and add our secret ingredient. Viola~ That’s how we make tasty drinking vinegar!

What’s so special about Genki-Su?  Why should folks be interested?  

It’s a super drink! Vinegar has a lot of health benefits like decreased muscle pain by absorbing lactic acid, weight loss by lowering the glycemic index by 30 points, increased energy (Why Samurai in Japan started drinking it in the first place) etc. The ingredients we infuse the coconut vinegar with have a ton of benefits as well. Psychology today currently has an article in their Sept/Oct issue titled “Fruit of the Future”. It’s about Yuzu and it’s many benefits: protects brain neurons, prevents cognitive decline, flush with flavonoids (protects against Alzheimer’s disease), contains more antioxidants than other citrus, and slows inflammatory disorders.

I guess the biggest question is, what does it taste like?  

Tastes like flavored soda water that gives you a kick! It’s refreshing, tart, and sweet!  Actually, drinking vinegar is becoming popular in the food industry and food trends.

Here are some articles about 2014 drink trends:
We’re honored to be featured in London’s Bellwether: 2013 Food Trend Book(Releasing at the London Design Festival and Specialty Food Magazine in their “Food Trends” issue! Coming out in Sept 2013. So, while drinking vinegar is super healthy for you, most people like Genki-Su for it’s taste too!  

The name Genki-Su is great! Was it just an “Of course” kind of name or did you actually have to think long on hard on that name?  

For the first few months, we didn’t have a name and weren't really even thinking about it, and one day Takako had the inspiration to call it Genki-Su. There were no additional names that we considered, it just seemed to be the obvious choice. Genki means healthy and energetic and Su means vinegar. Japanese people especially like the name because it has a third meaning: in Japanese, Ki-su is how you say kiss. So in Japanese, it sounds cute because you are saying “Kiss”.

This isn’t your first trip to Kickstarter, your previous project nearly doubled it’s goal.  What have you learned from your past project to apply to this one?  What are you doing differently?  

This time, we put a lot more work into everything: developing the product, kickstarter content (copy, design, illustrations, video), approaching blogs, newspapers, TV shows and websites. So basically, it was a lot more work this time because this is a much bigger step for Genki-Su.

I’ve always thought the toughest section on Kickstarter has to be the food section because it is hard to sell something based on taste when you can’t taste it!  How are you selling Genki-su?  

Yes, you’re absolutely right! The food category is hard for many reasons. A lot of people browse other kickstarter categories, but in the food section, you pretty much generate your own traffic. We spent the month prior to kickstarter going around to events in Portland to sample Genki-Su so local people would know how it tasted.

Let me start this question off by congratulating you on doing a good job with your “Risks and Challenges” section.  Far too many projects put the bare minimum here or even joke about it, you’ve broken it down into a very well laid out statement.

Thank you! :)

That said your project has pushed one of my big no no buttons by not producing a budget breakdown.  You do mention the $20,000 will be used for the first run and what that implies, but you don’t really break it out for everyone to see where the money is going.  Why is that?  Have you already “run the numbers” internally before coming to Kickstarter?  
We did test different versions of copy with more detailed numbers, but decided to cut back details because we felt that we either needed to provide complete detailed information or keep it simple.

Some breakdowns seem to imply that the project creators are providing their product at cost on kickstarter. Showing accurate numbers means you should be showing exactly how much profit you are trying to make from the project and how much of the goal will go to fulfill the rewards. We are not trying to make a surplus cash profit off kickstarter, we are trying to create surplus inventory that we need to launch our product: 16,000 bottles (4,000 to fulfill the rewards and 16,000 left over for  inventory).  For us, putting all that information down felt very corporate and like we were treating backers like investors. We didn’t feel we were asking for an investment, we put our rewards at less than retail, so if you back us, you are getting a great deal on a really great product first hand!  

That is a very honest answer thank you. How did you discover Kickstarter?

We were fans of kickstarter for a couple of years before we launched Genki-Su. A couple of our friends also had successful Kickstarter stories.

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?  

We’ve been on KATU morning show, in the Oregonian (largest newspaper in Oregon), and selected as ‘Kickstarter of the Week’ and featured on numerous blogs. Our focus has been
    • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest.
    • Direct email to our network
    • Local Media Bloggers & Websites

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

Many people have asked us for tips/advice, so we wrote a list of important lessons we learned here!

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

If you’re thinking about doing a kickstarter project, do it! “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

- Mark Twain

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

Thank YOU for having us! You definitely asked some really good questions that exercised our brains but it was good practice for us!  

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