[Ed. Note: This is another great guest interview from Kyl Myers.]
Do you like kombucha? Bicycles? Entrepreneurs? Funny people? Well have I got a treat for you! Christy Jensen is a local bike wrenching, kombucha brewing badass; and you need to know about her!
I had the pleasure of meeting Christy through mutual friends a little over a year ago and I was immediately smitten with her sense of humor, her confidence and her biking lifestyle. Every time I saw her, she had just ridden a bajillion miles and she was about to go home to bake forty loaves of bread. Bad. Ass. I
In the last year, she has become a bike slinger for Backcountry and taken her fermenting skills to a whole new level and started a business, Mamachari Kombucha. Needless to say, her drive impresses me and I wanted to share her with the world.
I recently got to have a sort-of “Take Your Kyl to Work Day” with Christy as she and her boyfriend brewed and bottled up a batch of her out-of-this-world elixir. We met at the kitchen she brews in, and listened to some Lady GaGa in celebration of the striking down of DOMA as she gave me a tour and ultimately, a wicked awesome chemistry lesson. If you don’t know much about kombucha, Wikipedia that shit and prepare to be amazed. The process is amazing and the finished product is even better. Christy has grown up baking, thus knows a lot about fermenting and put her skills into brewing kombucha, a probiotic rich tea drink that takes about 12-14 days of ripening. Like the kombucha SCOBY culture, her business has taken off and grown into something beautiful, unique, and nourishing. Since starting Mamachari Kombucha early this year, her brew is already in half a dozen restaurants and stores and selling out at local farmers’ markets.
I asked her if starting a business was happenstance or planned, which she responded, “I always knew I wanted to own a business but I had no idea what that business would be. I started brewing kombucha and friends started buying it and that was that, I had my business.” I asked her if she had any tips for women wanting to start a business and she gave some pretty sound advice. “Make sure you have a viable idea. You need to fill a demand. If you can find a void in your community that needs to be filled, people will seek you out.” Christy found a void that was begging to be filled and it is now hard to keep up with the demand. She has had to turn away stores who want to carry her kombucha simply because she can’t brew enough! That problem will be remedied soon when Mamachari Kombucha moves into a new brewing space next month. Christy is excited to expand her business and although she is brand spankin’ new on the entrepreneur scene she is already making sure Mamachari is an integral part of the community. She looks forward to expanding and providing great pay and benefits to local employees and Christy’s Mamachari donates to the Human Rights Campaign and Velo Weekend, a local biking event. Speaking of bikes…
Christy loves bikes. She loves biking, she loves selling bikes, fixing bikes, teaching other people how to fix bikes, talking about bikes – it’s beyond a hobby, it’s her lifestyle and she has incorporated it into her business, as “Mamachari” means “Mother’s bicycle” in Japanese. Christy has been wrenching on bikes since 2008, she got certified as a professional bike mechanic in 2010, and started a Womyn’s wrenching night in Logan, UT where women could learn how to diagnose and fix their bikes from other women. Christy says she has never felt sexism from co-workers, but she has definitely had her share of some sexist dick customers. While she has felt she has had to know twice as much to be taken half as seriously as male bike mechanics (sound familiar?) she loves helping women find bikes to fit their bodies, and being someone that women feel comfortable approaching. With a smile on her face, Christy told me, “I have had LGBT customers take the time to thank me for working in a bike shop and tell me it was great to have someone they felt comfortable talking to. That is gratifying!” There are allies everywhere – and Christy is a great one AND she brews some bangin booch!
You can find Mamachari Kombucha at Frisch, Jade Market, Community Co-op, Grilla Bites and Zest in Salt Lake City, at Real Foods in Heber and Orem, and every other Saturday at the Downtown Farmers’ Market, and opposite Sundays at the Wheeler Farmers’ Market. Check out Mamachari Kombucha on Facebook for more info.
Christy also told me about a Womyn’s Wrench Night every 1st and 3rd Wednesday at the Bike Collective, a trans-friendly space where women can bring their bikes and learn how to fix them from and with other women. AWESOME!
If you would like to get in touch with Christy you can contact her at email@example.com