It’s the second episode of Tough Cookie, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Michell Mitchel, co-founder and Chief Cultural Angel at Humm Kombucha! In this episode we talk good vibes, motherhood, and just going for it in a new business. 

Tough Cookie is a podcast that celebrates women in food – from product makers, to chefs, to digital food boss ladies. If you are or know someone who works in food, please send me an email at darlene (at) picklejarstudios (dot) com and tell me about it! Now booking for the 2017 podcast season. 

Listen here or on your favorite media player: 


Show Notes for Tough Cookie Episode 002:

Darlene Veenhuizen is Owner, Designer and Food Content Creator at Pickle Jar Studios

Michelle Mitchell is co-founder of Humm Kombucha

Michelle Mitchell co-founder humm kombucha

Photo from

Michelle talked about:

Starting and Growing a Business:

We didn’t know at the time how far it would come or how big we wanted to grow it, we just knew that we were happy and we were really enjoying spending time together.

We really believed in what we were putting out there and we just wanted everybody to feel great and if this was a way to do it, we were psyched.

We tried early on to write a business plan but it just didn’t come together — it didn’t make sense for us because we didn’t really have a business yet…we were doing what we loved and we were just in it.

For anyone looking to start a new business: just go for it, just do it. I don’t think you have to reinvent the wheel, just ask for a lot of help. GO for it and don’t be afraid to ask for help, because no one can do anything in a vacuum.  — tweet it

Good Vibes:

We’re having this huge party and everyone’s invited! We’re just having the most fun and we want people to feel awesome.

Jamie and I have always said, if it wasn’t kombucha, it would be something else. At the end of the day we simply want to share joy and love and light and put it out into the world to as many people as possible. The intention is equally important as the actual kombucha itself.

We sing to our scobys, we sing to our kombucha…. We call that space our nursery and we are really intentional and mindful of that space and the energy that goes into that and the vibe that goes into it. It’s a flow, an output and input and a constant flow and a constant balance.

I personally believe that perfection is happening all the time, perfection is  a process, it’s not a stagnant point in time and space, it is something that is permeating through all of our lives — tweet it

Fostering an Intentional Company Culture:

Our company culture was super intentional from the very beginning. For me, the reason I do what I do and my motivation for starting this company had everything to do with the people that work here. At the end of the day what I care about most is the experience of the people that work here. — tweet it

It seemed to me so silly that at least in America we spend more time at our work, then any other thing, even sleeping. So we spend so many hours at a place that for many many people depleting. And I don’t understand why. So I wanted to create a space that would be opposite of that for people. Or at least a space have a space where people could come to work and they could be fulfilled; they could love what they do. That they actually feel like they are a part of something amazing and magical… So this intention of creating this space has been from day one.

Motherhood and business:

Somebody recently asked me how am I different at work vs. my day to day life, and I feel like I’m exactly the same. I’m a mom to these two little beings and everything that I think about surrounds them and their well being and I hold the same space at humm…Jaimie and I have the most beautiful partnership… she’s so good at running the day to day and keeping things moving… and my role then is to make sure that we are caring for all of it. I play a mother role here and I take care of our staff and as we’re doing all that we’re doing that we’re still taking care of what we love and cherish. So from that perspective it works out really well – I’m a mother at home and a mother here.

Being a mom in whatever space that is it actually just feels pretty consistent, pretty fluid…it’s one life, we have one life that we live. And the story that happens in that life is simply the story … so the the backdrop might change all the time… but you have one life, you are one Being that gets to flow through whatever story is happening at the time. So for me it’s been a lot of integration and putting forth my Being, my personality and my heart into wherever I happen to be.

I would tell any new parent to breathe and to really cherish it. Practice mindfulness and be with your kids when you are with your kids and then when you’re not to know that they’re fine and  you not being with them and filling your bucket in a different space away from them is helping you to be more present when you’re with them. 

On Communication and working with others:

One of the best things that you can do whether it’s your friend or anyone that you work with is to have space to communication. To have difficult conversations, you can’t run a business – or do anything – without having a difficult conversation along the way and to be able to offer space for people to say what they need to say and to recognize that sometimes they just need to say it and that sometimes that doesn’t have anything to do with you.



Darlene talked about:

Removing the negativity from your strategy is really refreshing. Instead of making another choice bad, just focus on how good your product is. — tweet it

The positivity on the outside that a company is trying to portray doesn’t always flow through behind the scenes. Humm is really unique in that the whole company attitude is very uplifting, encouraging and positive.

Always come back to that “But why” reason, and what the core purpose is. We can sit in a room a think “this is a great thing to talk about or write about… people will love it”…but do they? What are we really saying and what kind of legacy and communication are we really trying to have with our customers and our community?

What you put out there comes back to you. 100%. — tweet it

I think that’s why I love food and drink products so much, because they become a part of your cells, literally and when I have access to really great ingredients and great products or whatever that is that give off the nutrition and energy and I know the people behind them and the values and the good intentions and all those good vibes, it just makes it even better. My body is absorbing all of that.

When the culture of a company is ingrained and part of an onboarding process, it makes it much easier to manage through growth because everyone is sort of taking care of each other.

Where to find Humm Kombucha

Humm Website

Where to find Darlene

Pickle Jar Studios website
Pickle Jar Studios on Instagram
Tough Cookie on Instagram

Resources Mentioned:

SCOBY – here’s what it is and what it looks like
Find Humm at Target (try their new exclusive flavor, Apple Berry)
Natural Grocers
Simon Sinek – Ted Talk The Golden Circle
The Entrepreneurial DNA by Joe Abraham
Online quiz for Entrepreneurial DNA
The E Myth