Matchaful Founder Hannah Habes Reveals How She Reinvented Her Business During The Pandemic

by Syeda Khaula Saad

Instead of drinking a cup of coffee every morning, some people choose matcha — a healthy alternative with less caffeine. And Matchaful, a New York-based cafe specializing in single-origin matcha, helps people make that switch. Founder Hannah Habes created the cafe as a way of providing a holistic approach to health, based on Japanese wellness practices.

"We're a health company and our biggest priority is making sure our customers are healthy, but also our staff," Habes says in an episode of Bustle's new YouTube series, Small Business Salutes.

Naturally when COVID-19 hit, Habes understood the importance of social distancing. Matchaful launched its own delivery service started delivering bottled drinks, which have been in high demand, to customers who wanted to have a healthy drink from the safety of their own home.

To keep up with orders, Habes turned half of the cafe into a fulfillment area where her and other staff create the drinks, bottle them, and prepare them to be sent out. She's also created a separate site, bematchaful.com, to serve as a space only for delivery and pickup so that Matchaful doesn't have to rely on third-party tech apps or sites that usually take part of the profits from restaurants.

Since launching the delivery site, Matchaful added matcha lattes and latte elixirs with adaptogens to their online menu. They also added Ritual Sets, which allows customers to make matcha. Those now sell better than anything else.

While Matchaful's drinks have been popular during the pandemic, Habes has had some concerns about being able to keep up with the demand considering her limited supply. All of the matcha from the cafe is sourced from a single farm in Prefecture, Japan. And because flights in and out of the country have been limited, Habes worries the supply will be too.

But Habes remains hopeful. And despite the fears of an insufficient supply, Matchaful has been donating a bottled drink and packaged food items for every bottle it sells to Founders Give, a program that helps NYC brands donate to city health care workers.

Community members have been thanking Habes and the rest of her team for keeping Matchaful's doors open during the pandemic, but Habes is grateful to them. "We wouldn't be able to keep our doors open without the constant support of our community," she says.

We are shining a spotlight on some of the millions of small businesses now challenged by COVID-19. This is part of an ongoing commitment our parent company, Bustle Digital Group, is making to support small businesses throughout the entire month of May. Tell us about your favorite small business on social media using #SmallBusinessSalutes.