"KujuKIN" was one of the first phrases we ever created, very early on, in preparation for our Kickstarter campaign that we launched in August 2016. We were trying to figure out what to call the folks who would actually back us and alliteration seemed like a good way to make something memorable. We even printed stickers that said “I joined the KujuKIN” that we passed out at our Kickstarter launch event to anyone who did back us at that time.
We stopped using it in any meaningful way in 2017 because it felt like it was only for our Kickstarter campaign. But as we grew and landed in REI, Sprouts, Bass Pro Shops, Academy, Whole Foods and various other retailers, customers continued to share the many reasons they used Kuju – when the power went out, when the coffee machine broke, or when the only other option was the infamous hotel coffee machine, or when they went camping or just wanted an easy cup of pour over to brew at home without the hassle. As we began to see and hear about this in increasing frequency, we realized it was probably appropriate to bring “KujuKIN” back. After all, what was a very small Kickstarter idea was actually working and building a fan base across the country!
It was time to call these folks something other than “customers” simply because the enthusiasm these people showed in their IG stories seemed to be more than just what customers do. When we use the Internet and pay Comcast – that’s what we call being a customer of Comcast; or when we fill up our car tank at the Chevron station – we call that being a customer of Chevron. It's a pretty simple, transactional relationship. But when you find a certain intangible excitement and delight in a company’s product and share it; that must have a bit more meaning than just filling up your tank, right?
There are many ways we can define our KujuKIN. They are our customers indeed, but more broadly, they are the folks who share with us the positive energy they experience when they use Kuju – via Instagram posts, emails or reviews – often times in places that are just utterly cool. These places run the gamut and include the back of their truck in an open grass field, on an epic mountain summit with epic mountain views, or in the blind on their most recent hunting trip. How could you not get excited when you see these kinds of photos and feedback come from your customers? It makes us wish we were with them instead of plugging away at the office!
“...something we are most proud of at Kuju is that our customers come from all walks of life.”
Even among all this, something we are most proud of at Kuju is that our customers come from all walks of life. We don’t have a core concentration that exists in any specific area of the US. The KujuKIN is not made up of folks only in red states or blue states, or just the Northeast or the Midwest. We have customers in California who love shopping at REI as much as we do in Louisiana who buy their gear at Academy Sports, and these customers vary in age and lifestyle too.
We like to think it’s because the spirit behind Kuju was never created with the idea of winning or losing, or thinking your viewpoint or place in life is better than someone else’s. It wasn’t meant to be a status brand that you flaunt to others to nonchalantly display some kind of social hierarchy or desirability.
Kuju was intended to be a brand that simply helps people Cultivate Rejuvenation. That’s our mission and we think it resonates with every human being in the most intimate of ways: that at the heart of our everyday experiences, we all need true, rejuvenating, refreshing, life-giving rest. So why so much emphasis on the outdoors in what we do? Because what better place than at the top of a mountain with a delicious cup of coffee by your side to find that incredible moment of rejuvenation? We call that a #KujuMoment – but more on that in a future post.