25 Feb February Twisted Sista | Helen Tricarico
In February, we’ve been talking to Helen Tricarico from HOTI. What started as a hobby in a quest of wellness in 2016, Helen made HOTI the very first commercially produced Kombucha in the Wide Bay and Bundaberg Region. And by being a Girl Boss, she has inspired other female’s in business. We love how she cares about her customers and the environment, and once you read her interview, we are sure you will too.
Tell us how your business works? Do you target a specific type of customer?
HOTI Kombucha uses a bottle exchange program whereby customers pay a deposit on the bottle and exchange empty for full. This program has proven effective in gaining regular customers as the deposit serves two purposes, it encourages return custom as the bottles are kept and not thrown out, providing a visual reminder to re-purchase our brand and they also encourage and meet sustainability measures through re-use.
HOTI Kombucha’s ideal customers are women aged between 27 and 55. Women generally influence what their families eat and drink and take the lead in choosing to make changes and healthier choices. They are educated or interested in making positive changes to their health for themselves and their families, and looking for alternatives to alcohol and fizzy sugar laden soft drinks and cordials.
Our customers are also concerned about sustainability, recycling, re-using, ingredients, transparency and buying locally. Ensuring a strong relationship with maker and customer has been a purposeful approach to building brand reputation and many HOTI customers have become trusted and supportive friends who have assisted in brand recognition and product awareness through word and mouth.
Did something inspire you to start your business?
HOTI Kombucha started after I discovered a love for the ancient and mysterious drink. The science behind its process and its ability to provide an alternative to sugar laden drinks was too tempting to stop, so I continued to produce and share it until someone asked me if I would sell it. I always had a love for the kitchen so it made sense to dive right in and take the risk.
What makes HOTI Kombucha different from other brands? Why did you start a refill program?
Our main point of difference is our use of local fresh ingredients. Bundaberg is famous for it’s rich red soil and abundant local produce and we are lucky enough to be able to source beautiful ingredients. Also our decision to not use small bottles and stick with the re-fill re-use program also makes us unique and enabled us to scale up quicker and work in a smaller space.
What is the ethos/values of the brand?
Here at HOTI Kombucha we value Wellness, Sustainability and Customer Friendship. So everything we do leads us back to these 3 things.
What is the most interesting flavour you have created so far?
Mmmm, with 10 flavours in the range, that’s a hard one. The Dragonfruit has the most beautiful hot pink colour but what I think is most unique about HOIT Kombucha is that you can mix flavours to make you own. One of our favourites is to mix our Dragonfruit with our Passionfruit to make a Passionate Dragon. We have fun at HOTI can you tell??
How would your BFF describe you?
That depends on which BFF you ask. My husband would say a stubborn lunatic who won’t take no for an answer and my Girl Friends would say a passionate dream chaser and a workaholic.
If you could talk to your 10 year old self, what do you want to tell her?
Don’t wait too long to chase your dream and don’t waste your life doing something you don’t love.
Tell us about another #GirlBoss who has inspired you
I get asked this a lot and there are so many. I’ve been very fortunate to find, and be supported by Chelsea Ford from the Females In Food organisation and I’m also inspired by a woman I’ve been lucky enough to work with, Dr Rosie Williams, a Chiropractor with a passion to help and heal and this very much rubs off on me and my vision.
Why did you choose to take part in our awesome Twisted Sista Campaign?
It’s always wonderful to get to know other amazing women doing such inspiring things and being asked to share my story gives me so much joy. Thank you to the Twisted Sista Campaign for allowing me to share a little about myself and my dream.
What is the next step for HOTI in 2020?
The next step for HOTI – Healthy On The Inside is to continue to expand the brands awareness through this type of exposure and to educate the importance of making choices that help and heal our bodies. And of course to ensure my business continues to bring me so much joy in what I do.