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Boba 7, the best kept secret in Los Angeles, is no more. This Kickstarter is to launch Labobatory, a next level boba shop.
Boba 7, the best kept secret in Los Angeles, is no more. This Kickstarter is to launch Labobatory, a next level boba shop.
452 backers pledged $61,089 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$61,089

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Hello Boba Lovers!

Thank you so much for devoting your valuable time to hear my story. I should have gathered the courage to shut down Boba 7 and to start Labobatory within the past two years. Better late than never! This project entitled "Raising the Boba Bar" is not only to raise the capital to open a boba bar that serves amazing boba concoctions, but to raise metaphorical boba bar that represents the standards of the boba industry as a whole. 

Let's Make Boba History! #LABobaStory

This is our boba story. Let's create the ultimate boba shop together!
This is our boba story. Let's create the ultimate boba shop together!

 Table of Contents 

  • The Boba 7 Saga
  • Labobatory: The Future of Boba could be Now!
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Stretch Goal: Alcoholic Boba
  • The BobaMaster: The Guy that popularized Alcoholic Boba
  • Rewards
  • Special Thanks

The Boba 7 Saga: how it came to be and why is it coming to an end?

It all started in the summer of 2011 when I interned for Starry Kitchen. Nguyen Tran, outspoken owner of Starry Kitchen, taught me the ins and outs of being awesome in the food industry. That same summer, the idea to do alcoholic boba drinks was blossoming in my head. While finishing school, I took bartending classes, learned how to make boba, and started making the first alcoholic boba drinks at college parties. 

After graduating from USC December 2011, I took a trip to Taiwan to learn all about boba. When I returned to LA in the summer of 2012, I jumped at the opportunity to open a pop-up boba shop in the back of Soi 7 in Downtown LA. 

Not many people get to do what they truly love right out of the gate. I am blessed. During my 4 years at Boba 7, I learned a lot about running a business, perfected the craft of boba making, and met so many amazing boba customers. However, because this location was always suppose to be temporary and the day to close has finally come. 

The decision to close was made before the summer. Every winter, for the past two winters I struggled to stay in business just by running up my personal debt. While summers are somewhat sustainable, I had known for awhile that summer 2016 would be my last. 

While Boba 7 was great, our problems stem from mainly the location and where it set up: 

  • hard to find with zero visibility
  • no real control of business hours (closing a boba shop at 9pm yuck) 
  • inability to host events/film awesome web content
  • awkward to walk through a fancy Thai restaurant

While we did work really hard to earn every customer that came through Soi 7's doors, the location simply made it that much more difficult to succeed. 

Labobatory: The Future of Boba could be Now!

 Where in LA is this going to be???

I want to stay close to where Boba 7 is currently in DTLA, but in a spot that opens later at night, has foot traffic, is easily accessible, and ultimately prosper. 

How will you "raise the boba bar"?

Labobatory will be the ultimate boba shop. While Boba 7 represented the past as a speakeasy reminiscent of the Prohibition/Jazz Age era in the 1920's, Labobatory will be a look into the future, a futuristic art deco/Tron theme. 

The menu will feature super unique boba drinks, high quality tea leaves, and dedication to quality/customer service above all else. 

Our Constantly Improving Boba 7 Menu
Our Constantly Improving Boba 7 Menu

Labobatory will set a new standard for how a boba drink should be. If Boba 7 was what we came up with without a budget, imagine what Labobatory can become with a budget. 

Let's do this!

Timeline: When can I get this Deliciousness?

  • November 30: Get Funded Successfully 
  • December 15: Sign Lease 
  • January to April 2017: Permits, Construction, Decor 
  • May 2017 to Forever: SELL LOTS OF BOBA

Budget for Labobatory 

  • Construction (Plumbing, Electrical, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning): $22,000
  • Exterior (Signage, Railings, Window, Glass): $8,000
  • Interior (Lighting Fixtures, Bar, Flooring, Seating, Paint): $18,000
  • Equipment (Ice, Refrigerator, Freezer, Hot water): $15,000
  • Expenses (Designs, Permits/Licenses, Rent Deposit): $10,000
  • Initial Inventory: $5,000

As you can see, I'm well over my Kickstarter goal of $50,000 and these are only some of the major items. It may be hard to believe, but people spend well over $100,000 to put a shop together. After fulfilling all the pledges and Kickstarter/Amazon Payments take their 8-10%, I'm left with ~$35,000. 

With your help, Labobatory will happen - a shop where the keys belong to me and where I have full control of my destiny. 

What about Alcoholic Boba Drinks?

The Stretch Goals: Alcoholic Boba

Part of the reason I never left Boba 7 was the fear of having to go through getting my own liquor license, but I'm ready for that challenge. 

Here are the additional costs of doing Alcoholic Boba:

  • Bathroom Remodel (one for guys and one for girls): $6,000
  • Draft Beer Tap System: $12,000
  • Conditional Use Permit Filing and Expediting: $14,500
  • Type 42 Beer and Wine License: $650
  • or
  • Type 48 Full Liquor License (Secondary Market): $70,000

If we hit $80,000: Labobatory will have a beer and wine license just like Boba 7 serving the soju-based cocktails you all know and love.

If we hit $150,000: Labobatory will have a full liquor license becoming the hippest new Asian Mixology bar in Los Angeles featuring new/never before debuted alcoholic boba cocktails such as Green Tea Whiskey, Taro Mezcal, GINger Lemonade, and many more. 

The BobaMaster: A List of Qualifications/Accomplishments

Accomplishments

#Linsanitea for Jeremy Lin, #Bobatella for Alyson Hannigan, and #HorchataBoba for Joe Jonas
#Linsanitea for Jeremy Lin, #Bobatella for Alyson Hannigan, and #HorchataBoba for Joe Jonas

Press

Qualified to create the next boba revolution!

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I LOVE ALL OF YOU!

Special Thanks To:

Video: Michun Radant 

Music: "Rose Milk" by Omniboi on SoundCloud

Risks and challenges

Over the past 5 years I've pursued this dream of boba, I've been through it all. From starting up to now closing down, getting robbed, and the many random boba related things that I do, it's been a really fun ride. I really want to continue this journey with all of you.

I'm through with pop-ups where I rely on other people. I need to do this with 100% autonomy. I need full control of my destiny.

Sometimes we have to think about the risk in NOT doing something. If I didn't risk my post-college years pursuing this, I would have missed out on this amazing adventure that I embarked on. I might not have met all of your guys, or have the chance to meet the rest of you.

I guess this is it, the moment of truth. Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for being a part of my story (#LABobaStory). Even if you don't pledge, sharing this Kickstarter would mean the world to me.

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FAQ

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    I love you Elton, but I'm also broke.

    I get it, but PLEASE share this with your friends who love boba! You'll get this $1 back in the form of love when you visit the new shop.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Picture on the Kickstarter Wall

    Submit a photo and be a part of our Kickstarter thank you Photo Mosaic (a bunch of pictures that make a bigger picture) that will be featured in the store.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Two Futuristic Boba Drinks

    These two futuristic drinks as in drinks that you will get in the future, one for you and one for a friend (Or both for yourself), will come in Kickstarter Collector's Edition Labobatory Beakers.

    You can pledge in multiples of 2 to get more! ($30 for 4, $45 for 6, and so on)

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Boba 7 Playing Cards

    Kickstarter Exclusive Boba 7 Playing Cards.

    Magic is a big part of what I do, these cards represent an era of blowing customer's minds with boba and with magic.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Profane Boba T-Shirt

    Limited Edition "Bitches Love Boba" or "Suck My Balls" T-Shirt. Pick your poison, offend some people. Very awesome Christmas Present for your boba loving friends.

    If you just want a Labobatory shirt, we have that, too!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Boba 7's Full Recipe eBook

    I will give away all my recipes for Boba 7. Since I am closing the shop, these drink recipes will be better than the industry standard boba drinks out there.

    An eBook of all of Boba 7's drinks (circa 2012 to 2016) with detailed instructions on how to make it. This is a concept I'm leaving behind, but there are still quality recipes in it. For anyone looking to create a simple and effective boba shop in their hometown with lackluster boba drinks, you will be making the best boba drinks in town.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    The Reverse Stamp Card

    Total of 10 Drinks (They will come in normal cups, not the fancy ones). Each time you come in, we make you a drink, and we stamp your card. It's a stamp card that you DO NOT want to fill up.

    You can pledge in multiples to get more! ($100 for 2, $150 for 3, and so on)

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Create/Name A Drink

    At Boba 7, we had very unique drinks and drink names i.e. BarackBobama, Linsanitea, Bobagasm. This reward will allow you to create a drink named after you.

    If your name is Michael, we can create a drink called the "Michaelada", but literally pronounced Mike-Oh-La-Da.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Boba Lessons

    Come to the new shop and learn how to make boba drinks, and boba. Invite some friends to try all the awesome drinks you will be making.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Create/Name A Drink

    5 more people can create/name a drink.

    Some Rules:
    - If your drink contains an ingredient that's hard to maintain, just let me know when you want to visit ahead of time and I'll make sure I have it for you.
    - No name that offends "too many" people
    - Depending on the success of the drink, it may or may not be prominent on the menu, so let's create something AMAZING!

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Create/Name A Drink

    5 more people can create/name a drink. I'm running out of Menu Real Estate, but I think I can do 5 more.

    1) We'll start brainstorming drink ideas (i.e. Bacon Maple Milk Tea)
    2) We'll do a taste testing session if you're local/can make it to the shop (I'll cook some bacon)
    3) We'll start coming up with a cool name for the drink (i.e. The Bobacon)

    Of course, this will be our creative process. Let's have fun with it!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    The Los Angeles Package

    7 Futuristic Boba Drinks
    Both Profane T-Shirts
    2 Decks of Playing Cards with a Magic Show
    Picture on the Wall
    Exclusive Invitation to Our Super Bowl-ba Party Feb 5, 2017

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Create/Name A Drink

    These will be the FINAL 10 people that will be able to create and name a drink. Going through the creative process with 30 people total is what I can handle.

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Boba Catering

    I will personally cater 80-100 non-alcoholic boba drinks to any event you have planned in the greater Los Angeles area. Talk your boss into buying boba for the whole office since you work so hard, right?
    We can arrange something if you're outside of Los Angeles. I'm willing to travel around the US to fulfill this pledge.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    VIP Boba Keychain

    You will be one of seven people in the world that will have this exclusive custom made keychain that exonerates you from ever paying for our boba.

    It's a super fancy keychain designed by boba lovers in Los Angeles' jewelry district.

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    Reward no longer available 7 backers
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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    My Big Fat Boba Wedding

    I will cater your wedding with amazing boba. Your friends, family, and future in-laws will be thoroughly impressed ~100-150 people. Whenever your wedding is, I will plan my life around the day you decide to tie the knot.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Boba Shop in your Hometown, USA

    We, you and I (and maybe some of your friends) will open a 2-3 week long pop-up boba shop in your hometown, anywhere in the USA. After I leave, it's all up to you what you do with it.

    Let's say you're in Seattle, Dallas, New York, etc. and you believe you can be the boba hero your city deserves. I would travel to that city, and set up a boba pop-up for you (Build your brand, help you source ingredients, develop local hype). After we do that together, you will become the boba hero your city needs.

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Funding period

- (36 days)