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
Table of Contents
- The Boba 7 Saga
- Labobatory: The Future of Boba could be Now!
- Stretch Goal: Alcoholic Boba
- The BobaMaster: The Guy that popularized Alcoholic Boba
- 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.
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
- 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
- Inventor of Alcoholic Boba
- Zero Capital Start-up - Boba 7
- Boba 8 Pop-Up in San Gabriel
- TV Appearances (FoxLA, Phoenix, CCTV, Trojan Vision)
- Over 9,000 Magic Performances
- Picked Tea Leaves from the High Mountains of Taiwan
- 626 Night Market (Walk the Talk Winner, World's Large Boba Cup and Ball)
- Plate by Plate
- Celebrities Served:
- FoodBeast - Food Network
- Business Insider - Coolest Small Business in America
- LA Weekly - Q&A with Boba 7 Founder
- WeLikeLA - Best Boba in Los Angeles
- NPR - Boba is Back with a Vengeance
Qualified to create the next boba revolution!
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I LOVE ALL OF YOU!
Special Thanks To:
Video: Michun Radant
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (36 days)