Today we’d like to introduce you to Meredith Baker.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Meredith. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m the founder of Morabeza, a 6% ABV alcoholic kombucha for the active and mindful lifestyles. It’s 0g sugar, 4g of carbs, and naturally gluten-free. The word morabeza has the sentiment of ‘strangers are friends you haven’t met yet.’ I learned this word when I was doing dissertation research in Cape Verde and was blown away by the hospitality of the people. A year later, I was in Liberia learning how to harvest palm wine (made from the sap of palm trees) and I loved learning about the traditions of how palm wine was consumed in different villages. As a journalist/storyteller who believes “the more we learn about others, the more we learn about ourselves,” I had the idea then of creating a cross-cultural alcohol brand focused on creating new intentional experiences around alcohol consumption that deepen connection instead of dull emotion.
I also wanted to infuse partnerships with nonprofits into our brand so we could become a movement of social drinking for social impact. When I moved to LA from London (I’m originally from TX), I started fermenting my own kombucha. As a celiac and 21-time marathon runner/yoga instructor allergic to beer, I realized alcoholic kombucha could be a great happy medium between “getting lit and staying fit.” I decided to make alcoholic kombucha our launch product. So far, we’ve done samplings at places like SXSW, Google, YouTube, WeWork, Refinery 29, and The Waterfront Venice. I lead Morabeza yoga happy hours and storytelling events every month in Venice and we will officially launch in LA in late spring/early summer.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The product is smooth now, but the road to get here has been full of hurdles, or as I like to say, “learning investments.”
When I had the idea to create Morabeza, I had no idea what it took to found a company, let alone get into the alcohol world. I’m glad I was ignorant to how big of an undertaking it was because I might not have ever started had I known. I just had a blindly optimistic conviction that I wanted to create a drink and experience that was currently missing from my own social scene.
I often compare founding a company to running a marathon. First, you have to mentally commit that you WILL cross the finish line. Then you have to let go of how you expect the race to go- how fast you think you’ll run, if you’ll get cramps and need to stop and walk, etc. If, at mile 2, you start to think “shit! I have 24.2 miles left!” you’ll never finish. You have to just believe in your ability to take the next step, and then the step after that.
In founding my company, I had a grand vision for how it would go, how quickly it would happen, and who would be around me to launch it with me. This whole journey has been a practice in “following my gut” and also “letting go.”
When I first had the idea for the company, I thought we would be to market in 3 months. I had no idea about the legalities of alcohol, how capital intensive founding a company is, or all the other moving parts to get it to work. But each day, I’d focus on learning something new, and on keeping forward momentum, even if that forward momentum was learning that I made a mistake and needed to redo something.
The biggest things founding my company has taught me is to make decisions quickly, trust my intuition, and to make sure that I’m always connected to my “why” in the midst of all of the “unfun” things that come with founding a company. Similar to running that marathon, you paid for the entry, you’ve put your blood sweat and tears into training for it, and you did it because you knew it would push you to a version of yourself beyond what you previously thought possible. I remind myself of that when I’m having a low day. I chose to be my own boss. I chose an uncertain path. And so I’m going to choose to have fun along the way and trust in putting one foot in front of the next.
Please tell us about Morabeza Alcoholic Kombucha.
Morabeza is a 6% ABV alcoholic kombucha for the active and mindful lifestyles. It’s 0g sugar, 4g carbs, raw, and gluten-free. We are a craft alternative to hard seltzers on the market and lower sugar/lighter than other hard kombuchas. Aside from the actual product, we are building a brand that champions creating experiences that get people out of their social and physical comfort zones. Morabeza isn’t just a drink- it’s a movement based on the belief that the more we learn about others, the more we learn about ourselves.
As the founder, I live and breathe my brand. Before Morabeza, I was a journalist covering humanitarian issues in Latin America and Africa. I also have run 21 marathons, completed an Ironman, and teach yoga here in Venice. I am deeply committed to challenging my own world views and my physical limits and I love to help others do the same.
I see our brand as a drink/events company that helps people live a life of balance and adventure.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
One of my favorite memories is going every Saturday morning with my Aunt Karen to her local running group at Memorial Park in Houston. She was involved in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. Team in Training helps people train for endurance events like marathons by providing coaching and a local running groups as people fundraise for the nonprofit. I’d always tag along and pass out snacks for the runners. It greatly impacted me and when I was finally old enough at 16, I ran my first marathon with Team in Training. I went on to mentor for them and it sparked a love affair with running and the camaraderie that comes with communal sweat that I still have to this day. Since then, I’ve convinced around 20 friends to do marathons with me throughout the years. Thank you for letting me be your sidekick, Aunt Karen!
- Website: morabeza.co
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: morabeza_collective