Zen Moment is a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation (beverage startup) pioneering a new category, which founder Nelson Meggitt named Wellness-Meets-Luxury™. Zen Moment intends to become a massive force for good in the world by inspiring an enlightened way of living and by bringing a range of highly nutritious and functional fermented beverages out of the ‘eclectic health-food’ commodity arena and into the luxury-tier limelight where formerly only alcoholic beverages have ventured and dominated. There is a massive explosion in demand for non-alcoholic beverages right now – on a global scale – as more people embrace productivity and health as core tenets of their lives. This global trend has truly revolutionized consumer behaviour in the last decade. The real catalyst for this rapid increase in demand for products such as theirs, though, is another massive societal trend – ageing! Demographics are changing, and just as Gen Z and other young consumers are choosing not to drink or significantly reducing their consumption, older people are quickly exiting the alcoholic beverage market as they age and focus more on their health.
The convergence of these two major market shifts has created this incredible opportunity to create the Wellness-Meets-Luxury™ beverage category, a sentence that wouldn’t have made any sense just a decade ago. This global trend convergence will inevitably revolutionize the high-end drinks market, and Zen Moment is ready to accelerate this revolution! The upcoming launch of its flagship formulation is a 750ml Oak Cultured Tisane that received a Masked-Silver and an Unmasked-Gold in a new Functional Category at the 2022 PR%F Awards in Las Vegas. The company will further develop, expand upon, and selectively license out its emerging IP Portfolio to leverage many historical local-market-tested commodity-level formulations and Proprietary Oak Brewing Techniques. This parallel revenue stream will mutually support plans to manufacture a portfolio of luxury products in-house. By doing so, Zen Moment will further establish its brand as an innovator and thought leader in functional beverages. By analogy – they are building the Lamborghini of Functional-Wellness beverage companies.
For health-conscious and discerning consumers, Zen Moment – Oak Cultured Tisane delivers an exceptional taste experience and a rich probiotic and nutrient profile. Unlike the common genre of shelf-stable non-alcoholic spirits, Zen Moment has all of these valuable features and benefits, plus the attraction factors and award-winning status of a traditional luxury alcoholic drink. Zen Moment is truly a better-for-you beverage indulgence. Its product meets all the criteria and touch-points that affluent, sophisticated, and health-conscious consumers have been searching for, with little satisfaction.
With three relevant beverage segments, Zen Moment has an existing market opportunity approaching 1 trillion USD, and the relevant segment’s projected growth totals 52B. The company’s diverse and growing team is primarily based at the Nanaimo, BC, Headquarters and Pilot Facility. Other team members who contribute their expertise and service virtually are dispersed across Canada and internationally, including countries such as the United States, Mainland China, and Taiwan SAR. Additionally, there are unofficial Strategic Partners for outsourced packaging manufacturing, Marketing & Branding, Events Coordination and Ad Management. These collaborative teams are in China, the United States and the UK. The company prioritizes ESG and is aligned with the Japanese way of thinking that was made famous by Toyota, later coined as “LEAN” Philosophy. Basically, Zen Moment sees the gold in every employee and customer, as well as the potential value in every resource. The company’s ethos values creativity, team spirit, honesty, patience, kindness, effort, resourcefulness, solutions mindset, diligence, and constructive attitudes.
Nelson is a proud father of three young men, amateur singer/songwriter, a true Libra who enjoys communion with nature, reading, and meditation, and aims to undertake all things with excellence and precision. Having grown up in an agricultural environment, Nelson is an autodidact generalist who has discovered, in due course, a tremendous passion and talent for producing Oak Cultured Tisane. His mission is to produce the world’s most sought-after luxury-tier functional-wellness beverages.
In his earlier working years, Nelson gained a wide range of competencies in various skilled trades, primarily related to agriculture and construction. He has owned and operated three small businesses before forming the present company that he feels encompasses his true calling - Zen Moment.
Nelson continues to earn various certificates in validation of his self-directed learning path as it relates to his role in the company. Among these are HACCP For Processors, NGen – Transformation Leadership Program, ExportEssentials, Successful Negotiation, Foundations of Finance, as well as preliminary course work for becoming a Six Sigma Black Belt. The legacy that Nelson wishes to leave in the world is one of transforming hardships into opportunities that uplift many people into greater peace and prosperity. Set to become a key player in the rapidly changing global beverage landscape, he would like to be remembered for spearheading and establishing the Wellness-Meets-Luxury™ beverage category.
IN HIS WORDS
“I must have been only about eight years old when I displayed signs that I would become an entrepreneur. As a prime example, I did not collect insects, coins or stamps – I collected business cards from truck stops and diners when I accompanied my adoptive father on road trips throughout Central and Southern Alberta. I also collected old keys lost or found in buckets of nuts and bolts from farm equipment auctions.
“Around this same age, I jumped at an opportunity to make myself useful to truck drivers coming and going to the test oil drilling site in a cleared cul-de-sac on our family dairy farm. There was no cattle guard at the time, so the drivers would have to get out of their trucks, open the swing gate, drive through, and then get out again to close the gate behind them. I put a wire handle on an empty coffee tin, and I would stand by the gate with a big smile. Without saying a word to the drivers, they would often find some coins or small bills for me, and I would handle the gate, allowing them to stay in their trucks. While this cannot be described as a small business, it is an example of providing value through solving someone else’s pain point.
“Although I was earning a wage as a weekend and summer-hand on a salmon farm from the time I was sixteen, I was also making efforts to establish a residual income with a couple of direct sales opportunities that happened to come my way. The first product I promoted was an inline fuel-saving device for gasoline engines. The second product was intended to reduce scale build-up in domestic water lines and increase the lifespan of hot water tanks.
“I never really made money on these endeavours. Still, the motivation was certainly reflective of the entrepreneurial premise that you will never get ahead by simply trading your time for money with no residual income or potential to scale.
“I had enrolled in the University of Victoria with a full course load that would have taken me down the path to a PhD in Wildlife Biology.
“Having essentially done adult labour in a do-or-die environment on the family dairy farm since I was young, having barely survived several traumatic events on the farm, and then having hustled hard in school and other jobs to buy my freedom and final escape from the persecution and multi-form abuse I had been enduring from my adoptive father from the age of four; I began to burn out as I also became disillusioned with the educational & career path I had planned for myself. By the end of my first year at UVIC, I abandoned my exams and found myself busking with my guitar downtown at the harbour.
“With student loans to pay, I entered the workforce with ease, and by 2004, I had a range of valuable experiences upon which to draw once I felt ready for my next business idea. This would not come about, however, until after I injured my lower back while working in the exteriors trade and then going back to college to pursue a Computer Assisted Drafting Certificate, which led to me working as a Junior Draftsperson for a Civil Engineering Firm.
“In 2007, I registered my first business – Hawk-Eye Safety Consultancy – as a Sole Proprietorship. Having previously spent many years working in agriculture, aquaculture, and various construction trades, I had a clear, hands-on understanding of various occupational hazards and commonly practiced mitigation methods gleaned from my 20+ years of workforce accumulated knowledge.
“This business catapulted my hourly earnings from $12 (and change) as a Junior Draftsperson in 2005/6 to $75/hr. I folded the business in 2011 due to the continued low back injury complications, as there had never really been an opportunity for me to recover from my previous back injury incurred while in the exteriors trade.
“I was denied Workers’ Compensation when I got injured, and since I was the sole breadwinner in the household of five, there was no alternative but to remain self-reliant. My low back pain had been chronic since 1998 when I was employed on a dairy farm, and at the recommendation of doctors and nurses, I had long been alternating Advil and Tylenol for pain management and by 2011, I had not only exacerbated the physical pains of an unrested injury, I had also done severe damage to my digestive system.
“So there I was, folding my OH&S business because I was alternating from using crutches to using a walker and being justifiably fearful about my ability to support my family financially. My GP encouraged me to make a PWD application, and after many rejections, it was finally approved.
“While I had been caught for a moment in the safety net of a first-world country, it is not in my nature to coast along and resign myself to being a non-contributing member of society. Aside from doing my best to be a good father and friend to those who still cared to have anything to do with me, I was increasingly losing a sense of purpose.
“There was a turning point when I started to release the guilt for those I could not save or protect from the alcoholic adoptive father that ruled the early part of my family’s life and I sought new sources of counsel and inspiration.
“Before long, I devoured books on holistic health, crystals, sound healing, affirmations, guided meditation, yoga, Law of Attraction, etc. I began to imagine and project a future version of myself, closer to an ideal I desired. With renewed hope, persistence, and tenacity, I began to see gains in my posture and energy levels.
“I had learned some restorative yoga methods, regained a new mindset and developed a new dietary regime best described as Buddhist Vegetarian. I became a Student Aromatherapist, renting a shared office space from a Holistic Health Practitioner and selling my Life & Wellness Coaching services under Optimum Wellness Factor.
“To heal the damage I had done to my liver, kidneys and gut microbiome from over ten years of consistent reliance on NSAIDs for pain management, I turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and kombucha, which I was introduced to by Pei-Fen Chang, who I met at a TCM clinic. A strong connection was made, and she became my best friend, roommate, and co-founder of Zen Moment.
“I become an obsessed home-brewer with only one short primer booklet to guide me aside from Pei-Fen’s recollections and advice. Slowly but surely, as I home-brewed and consumed successive batches of kombucha, I began to experience a drastic improvement in my digestion.
“In 2016, at the Denman Island Farmer’s Market, Pei-Fen and I were selling vegetarian Taiwanese-fusion eats, her signature hot sauce, and a small selection of my latest kombucha flavour inspirations.
“The response was immediate and incredible. Customers repeatedly shared that the kombucha was far better than any available at the store. Until then, I had been oblivious to a surge in the commercial kombucha market. By the end of the market season, we were both highly motivated and decided to make a business of it. In early 2018, we opened a small test facility in Courtenay, BC, and by mid-2018, we had adopted 225L Neutral White American Oak barrels as our brewing vessels.
“By 2020, we were serving over 25 local accounts and had customers coming directly to our facility for purchase and circular exchange of 1.89L growlers. We soon garnered strong interest from a regional grocer in for listing in 10-12 of its thirty-plus locations.
“Today, we are arguably the first ‘kombucha’ brand to have made a distinct luxury rebrand and simultaneous pivot from green and black tea formulations to functional herbal formulations inspired by TCM. As a result of moving from a grocery commodity to being fit for sales channels such as fine dining, luxury hotels, ski-resort, beach-resort, spas and cruise lines, we have gained a new set of competition among non-alcoholic wines and spirits. However, we retain a clear distinction from these products as well.
“We are raising a pre-seed equity finance round that will allow us to launch our pilot facility and get the product out to the multiple buyers eagerly waiting across North America and beyond.
“Zen Moment is gearing up for the Q2-24 target launch of our leased 3,660-square-foot Nanaimo Pilot Facility. We will have a maximum phase-1 production capacity of 43,200 bottles per month, to be sold in branded six-pack shipper cases.
“To get through the next two quarters, as we work with our pending investors to follow through on their signed deals, we are actively seeking new deals from other decisive and well-prepared prospective partners.
“We would also benefit significantly by having esteemed luxury-hospitality industry icons, perhaps James Riley, former Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, to join forces with us as a brand spokesperson and open new doors in key target accounts in the luxury hospitality & travel space.
“We welcome requests for information from proven deal-closers, accredited investors, VCs, buyers, distributors, value-added trade partners, and earnest collaborators. Among the latter of this group are candidate licensees for our emerging IP portfolio of commodity-level formulations in functional beverages.
“By the end of 2024, our goal is to be in full swing with Pilot Phase 1 and setting the stage for Pilot Phase 2. The product would ideally be available in select upscale venues in major cities in Canada and the USA. Additionally, Zen Moment has established a preliminary outlook and wireframe plan for overseas JV Production and Global Market Expansion.
“We intend to roll out additional formulations in due course to complement our flagship 750ml Oak Cultured Tisane, and we are incredibly excited about the many collaborative marketing initiatives that will likely spin off our planned events-based marketing strategy.”
Images for this story provided by Leland Pavlinac CDLUXX.COM.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, PORTFOLIOY.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs Magazine, and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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