We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Jacobs and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After losing our last coffee company during the pandemic, I could see that there were a lot of people in the same boat. Then I read an article that nearly 60% of small businesses went out of business during the pandemic. I could see that the small coffee businesses were struggling. It was heartbreaking. In our prior business, we had already begun packaging our own single serve pods in order to tap into the 40% market base that most small coffee businesses can’t afford to reach. I couldn’t save my company, but I had an idea to help. No minimum, eco-responsible, fully branded, made-to-order single serve pods. It was a tall order, but we accomplished it.
What should our readers know about your business?
Our no-minimum fully branded packaging is unique for our industry. We’ve been able to carry that business model across to other services so that we are now an “a-z” coffee business. We source beans, we roast, we make award winning cold brew, we do all kinds of packaging, we launched our own line of products and also help bring some of our customers to a larger audience. We also recently opened a small cafe, The Kitchen, which is growing by leaps and bounds. It shows that people care about where their products come from. We strive to keep prices affordable, continue to be eco-responsible, but never sacrifice the quality of our products. We focus on bringing healthy, but delicious options to our customers. We are a cafe who enjoys having long conversations with our customers. Happy to bring out samples of our latest brew and get their opinions. I’m proud of all of it. I’m proud to be an asset to my community. Was it easy? Am I allowed to say “f**k no!!” ? lol. I’ve never worked so hard in my life. We are still on a financial tightrope, having lost most of my capital to my last business. I signed a lease and a few weeks later my back up investor passed away unexpectedly. I’ve had some very low and desperate moments in the past couple of years. There are times I have felt incredibly alone. What fuels me is support though. My ex-mother-in=law comes and volunteers because she just wants to support me. If I’m having a bad day, I’ll go hang out in The Kitchen and watch customer’s eyes light up, or work on formulating something new. Money pays the bills, but support is what fuels me.
The lessons I’ve learned?
Seek wise counsel, but listen to your gut. Everyone will have an opinion about what you should do, but you are the only one that knows the whole story.
Strive for balance. Sometimes you have to put the work down and go to the beach. For me, it’s the best way to pull myself out of the minutia and refocus on strategy and forward progress.
Do What You Love. I’ve been able to take all the things I enjoy and wrap them into one business. Coffee/Tea, Nutrition, Design, Business, Helping Others. This business was born out of necessity, but it feels like a culmination of all my passion and knowledge rolled into one. It’s 100% authentic and I think it shows.
I want the world to know that if we can help, we will. If we can’t then we will help you find someone who will. That is the basis of our company. We have no hidden agenda, we just want to make a positive impact on our community and share a really good cup of coffee with you.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
You never get anywhere in life without those that guide, support and give you opportunities. I seek out mentors, try to ask questions constantly. If I don’t know the answers, someone else does, so I’m quick to ask instead of just wander. But for the purposes of THIS business, there are three people that stand out.
My biggest business mentor was the CEO of Avery Dennison, where I worked for 12 years. Chuck Miller, was a brash, but charismatic character. He led with his heart and his head. He was as much a business leader as he was a philanthropist. Even as a 23 year old secretary, he knew who I was. He used to send down notes from the top floor to people and tell them they did a good job. He also was a great visionary and as I moved through my career, I had a front row seat to the way he took the reigns and made things happen. After he retired, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with him and his parting words to me were prophetic. He told me that one day I’d be running a business of my own. I was a stay at home Mom at that point, so it seemed unrealistic. Yet here I am.
My former business partner, introduced me to the coffee industry. He had a ground breaking idea at the beginning of the Hemp movement. At that point in my life, I needed a job and he needed a business partner. He had an incredible knack for connecting with others and a desire to help anyone he could. That kind of kindness is rare in this part of the world, and I hope that I continue to carry what I learned from him. Kindness is under utilized in the business world.
Today, in this business, I could not do what I do without my Operating Manager. Chris Balay is talented in many areas, but his coffee knowledge, pallet and talent for formulation are top rate. We are both creative minds, so when we get in the kitchen to come up with new ideas, innovation is never our problem. I’m incredibly proud of what we are offering our customers and I couldn’t possibly be doing it without him.