Cristina Ivory overcame health struggles, doubt, and career obstacles to found one of Miami-residents’ favorite local staples: Angry Booch.
In college, Ivory decided she wanted to take charge of her health. She began eating healthier and even teaching exercise classes. Sooner or later she stumbled across the saint of flawless digestion: kombucha.
“I read about the importance of probiotics and digestion and your immune system and also helping with weight loss. I picked up a bottle of GT’s from the store and I started drinking it and thought, ‘well, this isn’t too bad,” said Ivory.
Following in her desire to recreate her favorite store-bought foods and drinks, she then decided to dig a little deeper and see if making kombucha was something she could try.
“I saw online that it wasn’t too hard to make kombucha, but I just never really had the courage to do it. It seemed easy but complicated getting there,” Ivory said.
Not soon after, she tried a local kombucha at a farmer’s market. Realizing the difference a little passion and care can make, Ivory began dabbling in the art of kombucha.
First beginning fermenting in her mom’s garage, Ivory would bring her kombucha to co-workers and friends. Amazed by its benefits and the taste, demand quickly grew and she soon expanded to selling at farmer’s markets herself.
With the potential of entrepreneurship on the horizon, Ivory’s corporate job became less and less desirable.
“I was just very unsatisfied. Waking up being miserable every single day driving two hours in my car just dealing with the same issues over and over again. Whereas I would live this other life on Saturdays,” she said.
Eventually, Ivory took the final leap into pursuing her dream full-time. For almost two years now Angry Booch has been her full-time job.
“Whenever I would meet people who has tasted a bunch of difference kombucha and they would taste mine and they told me it was the best, I felt like I was doing so much more of what I needed to be doing,” said Ivory.
So…What’s an Angry Booch?
At first thought I speculated Angry Booch had something to do with RBF (resting bitch face, for those unfamiliar), but the roots of this odd name have a much deeper significance.
When Ivory first began making kombucha in her mother’s garage, she quickly learned the consequences of heat on the fermentation process.
“When I would go to open the bottles, it would pretty much erupt like a volcano. I didn’t realize you shouldn’t open up warm kombucha. Whenever I would open it I would say, ‘Oh, it’s so angry.’ And I’d make a joke that if I ever started a company I was going to call it Angry Booch,” Ivory said.
The name of Ivory’s business reaches farther than just a bit of built up hydrogen. Her grandmother was coincidentally named Boochie, who used to be called booch. Ivory added that she wasn’t the happiest woman, so “angry” was an adjective that wasn’t too far off.
“She was angry booch. My mom thought I did this name on purpose to torment her, but when I heard there was an actual story behind it that I didn’t even realize was a thing, I knew I was on the right track,” she said.
Struggles of Entrepreneurship
From isolation, to money struggles and holding the role of a business-owner as a female, the path of entrepreneurship hasn’t been an easy one. Ivory spends most of the time she’s not at farmer’s markets or events, alone in the tap room.
“A lot of people make it seem nice, happy, and pleasant on the outside, but a lot of us suffer from isolation which leads to depression,” said Ivory.
With such a reliance on income from farmer’s market, poor weather can also bring a blow to profits.
However beyond money struggles and unpredictable weather, Ivory has notices some reoccurring patterns as a female entrepreneur.
At farmer’s markets, Ivory has seen that when her fiancee joins her, something’s a bit different. Individuals find him more approachable and even direct business-related questions toward him.
“If we speak to someone else that’s in the industry to make business decisions, they don’t make eye contact with me. When I pretty much do everything, day-to-day making the business decisions and trying to get everything to run,” said Ivory.
As Angry Booch expands and competition grows, Ivory has set her sights on other fermented foods and flavors.
Ivory prides herself on the distinguishing factor of her flavors and locally sourced ingredients. But, she seeks to maintain her “competitive edge” in other ways as well.
“Maybe even doing alcoholic kombucha in the future if people are interested in that. Also expanding with other fermented foods, you don’t see that a lot,” said Ivory.
Speaking from personal experience, I can attest to the quality of all Angry Booch products (especially the kimchi, SO delicious). Don’t be surprised if you see them on a Whole Foods shelf near you in the not-so-distant future.0
Also published on Medium.