Jen Batchelor, founder of Kin Euphorics, the first product in the euphorics category, a new category in nightlife.
Lindsay Fondo, Courtesy of Kin
While Jen Batchelor was working on her second venture — as a consultant in the hospitality industry — she identified a troubling trend occurring in the hotels she was working with: guests were booking morning gym classes, but then were too hungover to attend. The other thing she noticed? Everything about the hotel bar was geared towards attracting guests, while the ” wellness” spaces seemed like an afterthought.
this led batchelor to wonder: what if there were a way connect with others while out, yet remain sober? after all, “going for>
While Jen Batchelor was working on her second venture — as a consultant in the hospitality industry — she identified a troubling trend occurring in the hotels she was working with: guests were booking morning gym classes, but then were too hungover to attend. The other thing she noticed? Everything about the hotel bar was geared towards attracting guests, while the “wellness” spaces seemed like an afterthought.
This led Batchelor to wonder: what if there were a way to connect with others while out, yet remain sober? After all, “going for drinks” or bonding over booze at any bar is synonymous with wanting to catch up and socialize.
While cultivating social connection is a fundamental human need, Batchelor wanted to create a solution for experiencing more moments of revelry and high vibe, conscious living. One where it’s more about feeling present, rather than numb.
Batchelor was onto something. In May 2017, she started working on the concept ofKin Euphoricsalong with cofounder Matthew Cauble, and the first product in the newly created category of “euphorics” (which Kin is credited for) officially hit the market in December 2018.
Kin is a nonalcoholic, functional beverage brand— but don’t refer to it as a “mocktail.” (Although it’s alcohol-free, it is not intended for anyone under the age of 18; pregnant or breastfeeding; or taking prescription medication including antidepressants.)
The brand debuted its first product, High Rhode, which is crafted from a combination of balancing adaptogens, replenishing nootropics, and nourishing botanics, and serves as the base for a variety of Kin-based drinks (like “Kin and Tonic”). This summer, Kin Spritz, a ready-to-drink effervescent option available as a 4- or 8-pack, launched as a followup.
All Kin products are available on its direct-to-consumer site, as well as at Cafe Clover and west~bourne in New York City, Sel Rose in the Hamptons, and Apotheke LA inLos Angeles. And since the desire to #RiseWisely is spreading across the U.S., Kin has activations in the works in cities like Chicago, D.C. and Nashville.
This is also an era where terms like the “dry movement” (going alcohol-free beyond “Dry January”) and being “sober curious” (a term coined by journalist Ruby Warrington) are gaining steam in our collective consciousness, inspiring us to rethink alcohol as a required social element. According to aMarch 2019 article published inBon Appetit, “bottled low- and no- alcohol beverages in the U.S. will grow by about 32% between 2018 and 2022 — triple the category’s growth over the previous five years.”
“It’s about shifting our perspective of what pleasure means,” Batchelor explains.
By the same token, Batchelor would also love to put an end to the glamorization of #RoseAllDay, especially as it pertains to women. Here’s another call to action: rethinking the “Wine Mom” trend and turning the concept of Boozy Brunches on its head by making the buzz more about bliss.
Learn more about how Batchelor launched Kin, her best career advice, and what’s coming up next for the brand.
Karin Eldor:You were working in the wellness industry before launching Kin. What was the breakthrough “Aha” moment when you knew it was time for a product like Kin to hit the market?
Jen Batchelor:Before launching Kin, I had a wellness startup that was focused on bringing products, technology and experiences to the hospitality world. There were a couple of “aha moments,” but it was truly that guest that I would keep meeting that would buy all the passes to the wellness and fitness classes and then just not show up, because they were hungover. And so it made me realize, “Wow, people really need an option that’s more sophisticated, innovative and that meets them where they are, in their lifestyle.”
Eldor:I love that your launch strategy has been steady and intentional, rather than coming out the gate with full force: Can you share more about how you first launched? What was your strategy?
Batchelor:We launched in December 2018, but it was after already having done a lot of beta program testing. So we were out in the wild with our formulations for six months doing tastings and pop-ups, and all kinds of events where we knew that our conscious consumer would bereveling, for one reason or another. Whether it was a creative conference or holiday themed event, we did retail pop-ups, so we were getting a lot of live feedback from people that were interested in this solution.
We also joined forces on a number of events with Ruby Warrington, the author ofSober Curious,andare featured in that book. This came about by way of our friendship, which was reinforced by us having started our non-alcoholic journeys at around the same time. The bliss-over-booze movement is stronger in numbers. We collaborate with and support each other when we can — and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of us are women!
Eldor:Did you look to investors or did you bootstrap the business?
Batchelor:We self-funded for the first year. When we started really innovating with the formulation process and the way that we were bottling, we realized that in order to expand and really reach more people, we needed to bring on investors that really had the future in mind. We raised a seed round, with Canaan Partners and Female Founders Fund as two investors.
Eldor:I love this line, which is part of your ethos:You are just as much of an ingredient as the ones inside the bottle.
What are the three most important ingredients of being a female founder? Because it’s not the same as being a male founder…
Batchelor:No I agree! It’s a unique experience, absolutely. And especially for female founders in the beverage world, which is a very male-dominated industry.
My number one ingredient or tool to be the best female leader that I can be in this industry, is knowledge. Actually knowing everything there is to know about my product and if I don’t know something, knowing where to find it. The next ingredient is humility. Because when you’re able to have strength in knowledge and strength in conviction, which is perhaps another ingredient, then you can come at something with “I don’t know” or “I need help,” but you know how to ask for it.
If you don’t have conviction then you don’t have enough intrigue or inspiration to share it with your team.
And I think that’s what happens — when you have conviction and perseverance in abundance, then you can fill each other’s cups.
Eldor:What is coming up this year, which you can share?
Batchelor:Well, the “third place” is dying. We have our home and we have our workplace, but that third place, that social space, is slowly dying. What I want to do with Kin is provide people with more reasons to go to that third place, and crave that feeling of connecting deeper. If something can help you breathe deeper, have more focus, feel empathy towards your fellow sister in a third place where people know your name, that’s the missing puzzle piece to this isolation crisis we’re seeing.
We’re suffering from heartache and loneliness, and this can be prevented!
So while Kin can bring this spirit of connection to the home, we opened ourthird place, called “Moon Rise,” as a tasting room. It’s a social space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which reimagines how we connect after dark and serves as a social space for conscious connection between Kin Euphorics and dreamers, doers and creators.
Eldor:What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?
Batchelor:It’s so important to know who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing. When you know who you are, your purpose can really shine through.
And I think I doubted myself a lot in my past life in terms of the careers I was doing. I was chasing someone else’s dream. So I think the most important lesson I learned was to chase my own dream.