Nestled in the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver, Colorado, you’ll find the thriving kombuchary known as 3rd Bird Kombucha. Founded by Sara Lemmon, a former middle school science teacher, this small business has quickly become a staple in the local community. While juggling multiple roles as a business owner, Sara never forgets her favorite role of all- being a mom to her three children. But what sparked the creation of this successful enterprise? The answer lies in her “3rd bird,” Silas. Discover the heartwarming story behind this Denver-based business and the passion of its founder, Sara Lemmon.
What is your name? And what is the name of your business?
Sara Lemmon, 3rd Bird Kombucha
How long have you been in operation? And what services/products do you provide?
We launched in 2020. We provide craft kombucha to the Denver Metro area.
What has been the driving force behind your business? And in what ways are you hoping to grow in the future?
The name 3rd Bird comes from my 3rd Bird, Silas. Although our story started as a way for me using her science background to help lessen my son’s GI and sensory processing issues stemming from autism, 3rd Bird quickly became about more than just physical well-being. It’s about connection and dedication- to one’s self and the community you choose to call your own. Since the beginning, 3rd Bird has committed to giving back. Every quarter, we donate a portion of our proceeds to local nonprofits to missions that are close to our hearts. Our goal is to continue to land where people flock- from offices to coffee shops to people’s homes. By doing so, we desire to have more people take the leap- try kombucha – and join our flock.
As an entrepreneur what is one challenge you’ve faced in the past? And how did you overcome it?
We didn’t set out to be a delivery brand, but sometimes the best ideas come from necessity. 3rd Bird launched as a fledging business mere moments before the pandemic hit, and our little kombucha company- one that aimed to bring people together- had to find a way to connect and grow in one of the most isolating times in US history. So we pivoted, and delivery became an essential part of who we are. In fact, delivery is surprisingly one of the reasons our customers love 3rd Bird. It’s personal to get our kombucha straight to your door. The supply chain is homegrown. Glass bottles actually get recycled. And when your order arrives, it’s as exciting as opening of those “just because” presents. For us, delivery is here to stay after the pandemic- it’s become a part of who we are and it makes us shine.
How was your overall experience working with Energize Colorado? What solution did Energize Colorado provide? And how did/will the solution benefit you and your business?
3rd Bird hatched on January 20th, 2020. While other businesses benefitted from federal and state COVID-relief grants, businesses like mine were left out. We have been denied loans and grants as we cannot show a loss from pre to post-pandemic, yet are faced with the same rising costs in goods and labor. It has made scaling our business extremely challenging. Energize Colorado came in and provided support for us when others would not. It started with a $5000 grant. This money was used to expand our inventory. In 2022, Energize Colorado gave us a loan- one that had a significantly lower interest rate than the other loans we were looking at. This loan helped float us through our slow season, hire employees all while producing the most drinkable kombucha.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone with aspirations to start a business of their own?
People want you to succeed so ask for help. Coming from a public education background, I knew very little about what it takes to start a business. So I asked. We have been blessed by people donating their time and talent to help us succeed- from writing our SOP, to designing our logo to sharing our kombucha with their neighbors- our success is because of the generosity of others. 3rd Bird has also expanded my flock, introducing me to so many mighty small business owners who are making our communities stronger every day.
Where can people find more information about your business? And do you have any closing thoughts you’d like to add?
You can learn more about us at www.3rdBirdCollective.com or follow the flock at @3rdBirdKombucha