Who are you?
Specialty Coffee Roasting, Wholesale, Barista Training, Cafe Design Consulting.
Why Did you start your business?
Populace Coffee started while working for a coffee company in Los Angeles. Populace Coffee is located in Michigan so you can imagine the difficulties I had laying the foundation for a business 3000 miles away from where it would be located. At that time Michigan only had one specialty coffee company worth noting and we felt that we could capture a big piece of the market.
What makes your business unique?
The main differences we had in the beginning were our roasting style, coffee variety, and expertise. We didn't take the "sell to anyone" approach. We were extremely small and I was the green buyer, roaster, trainer, floor sweeper, accountant, head of sales, etc. I had a unique opportunity to discuss every aspect of the coffee process to my customers.
What's the biggest mistake you've made with your business and what did you learn from it??
In the beginning, letting my ego get to big. There is always room for a little bit of an ego but for the most part it just gets in the way more than anything. I learned to listen to my customers, business professionals, and overall smarter people and looked for ways to apply their success into my business.
what big goal do you have for your company and how do you plan to achieve it?
We have a few. We want to open a retail location, build out a mobile application for our e-commerce business, create a constant stream of media content that ranges from text, photos, graphics, video, and audio. We achieve these goals by FOCUSING on one at a time. We assess them and rank them based on their capital investment, ROI potential, time, and team capabilities.
what advice or tips do you have for people wanting to start their own business or follow their dreams?
Focus on your core mission. Create an overview of what you want to accomplish, seek out the team that will make it happen and manage that team to success. Be able to adapt to the curveballs you will encounter throughout every step in the process, especially in the beginning. Don't seek success, define success and prepare for it. Don't become complacent or romanticize your ideas, understand that they will change.