We had the good fortune of connecting with Chrysti Chaney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chrysti, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
This is something I have had to work really hard on over the last year and a half. When we expanded in August 2018, we saw rapid growth, far greater than I anticipated. This shop is my passion, and I poured everything I had into the expansion; doing all of the planning, and much of the physical labor myself. In the end I loved it, it was everything I dreamed of, but I had no time to recover because our awesome community in Pasadena loved it as much as we did. We had to scale up big time, and I learned a lot. But that learning curve was exhausting and I had to take some time off and do some soul searching about the direction we wanted to go. It has been a process and hard work to separate my passion for great coffee from my life outside the business. I think it is so easy when you’re running a small business to get in too deep. I mean you are literally pouring yourself into every little part of it, you take criticisms and bad reviews so hard because you care so much. I’ve learned that I have to pick and choose what I give my energy to and that I have to actively schedule time for myself; it is far too easy to get caught up in the never ending list of problems to solve and things to do. If you don’t take care of yourself first, then you won’t be able to take care of everything else and be there when you need to be.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Right now, surviving the pandemic. Businesses are struggling in so many ways, particularly small businesses. It’s been a really hard six months. We are ‘OK’ and for that I am thankful. I just keep telling myself you built it, you can do it again. Normally I’d be busy sourcing fun new coffees, working on new drink recipes/blends, and working on making everything as efficient as it can possibly be. I really love what I do, I love making people happy and there’s something special about making someone their morning coffee every day.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Since I was kid, my favorite place has always been Griffith Observatory, and it is usually where I take visitors first. I’m a huge food and history lover so I typically take folks to old classics like Philippe’s and Cielito Lindo and then hit some new gems like Lasa, Bone Kettle, and Bar Flores. For a wonderful dinner, it would be Tsubaki for sure. You can also never go wrong spending an afternoon at the Huntington Library or at the beach.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A huge thanks to Ryan Hamlin, owner of JB, for taking a chance on me way back in 2009, my husband for keeping me grounded, and my family for making me the stubborn and persistent person that I am.