Wednesday, January 16, 2008

GorillaLife.Com - Mompreneur Strikes Gold With Green Drink

Kika Keith is very familiar with adversity and tough times. She prevailed in the face of being homeless with her two children in tow and a burning desire to create a sustainable future. Somehow, she never lost sight of her dream to market Gorilla Life, which is what she named her green drink made from 100 percent organic alfalfa chlorophyll.

We found out about Keith at a phenomenal kitchen incubator program in Los Angeles called Mama’s Hot Tamales Cafe. Keith took a little time out of her hectic schedule to share eight insights she discoverd along the way. My hope is that her story will make your journey a kinder and gentler one.

Gorilla Life has made great strides. It is sold in several trendy Los Angeles health food stores and, recently, a supermarket chain expressed interest in selling Keith’s drink. Kika’s s mom created and named the drink over a decade ago.

What kind of business do you have?
Keith: Gorilla Life is a functional food and beverage company. My inspiration to become an entrepreneur came from several sources. As a 5th grader, I was infused with the principles of business and exchange in school; my parents trudged the road of self-employment; and my grandfather set the example of owning and operating a hotel/club. It’s in my blood!

What is unique about your business that gives it an edge over your competitors?
Keith: In a day and age where children are plagued with obesity and people are dying at earlier years, health/wellness is a major issue. Gorilla Life offers a unique, on-the-go option for the whole family to provide their bodies the necessary nutrients to restore and renew themselves. Gorilla Life’s flagship product is a first-to-market green drink made from 100 percent organic alfalfa chlorophyll. Our competitors offer green drinks that are thick and unappetizing, like wheatgrass. Gorilla Life’s Green Drink is a delicious and refreshing clear green beverage that builds the blood naturally, removes toxins and acts as a nutritional aid for the immune system. It is a food, cleanser, energizer and healer all in one.

Did you need to have a certain mindset to achieve success?
Keith: I had to change my mindset before the door to success could be opened. The number-one thing I had to do was focus. In the past, I would move from one project to the next or think that I was good at multi-tasking because I was good at everything, but I completed nothing! Once I removed all of the good intentions out of my mind and life, the doors opened.

Can other individuals reproduce your business model?
Keith: Absolutely! We met an owner of a beverage company, and he told us it was imperative that we read Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It and From Kitchen to Market: Selling Your Gourmet Food Specialty. We left the meeting and went right to the bookstore. We adopted Gerber’s philosophies and began to structure Gorilla Life ( into a Franchise Prototype model. This was such a simple concept. The business needs to be run in such a way as it would be a model for five thousand other businesses just like it.

What ways have you found to be most effective in marketing your product to get sales?
Keith: Direct contact with the customer has proven to be our most effective means to marketing the drink. From farmer’s markets where we directly interface with hundreds of people and give out 500 samples in a day to in-store demonstrations–once people taste the drink, we get the sale.

What tips can you give others who want to embrace their dream but don’t have the confidence or feel they don’t have what it takes to succeed?
Keith: Feel good! Once you feel good about yourself, you can believe that you have the ability to do anything–that nothing is impossible. Whatever your dream is, believe. All you have to do is be confident enough to know that you have everything to gain and nothing to fear! Just do it. Trust in God and have faith.

What resources were most helpful to you when you were starting your business?
Keith: I joined a wonderful program at SBA Women’s Business Center/PACE Business Development Center that has utilized the fact that I am a woman in business to provide invaluable technical assistance as well as grants.

We have read books, taken classes, been involved in business seminars but the most helpful resource has been the people. We have consulted with other entrepreneurs along the way and have tapped into their experiences in business. It is all the same path; the only difference is the product that we each offer.

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