Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Erin Ward, Co-Founder of Alana's Coffee Roasters, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a small-batch coffee roaster in Los Angeles. Our customers include coffee nerds who love the specifics of good coffee and locals who enjoy our coffee and vibe.

Tell us about yourself

We are Eric and Erin. Eric is the roaster and green bean coffee buyer. I  do the marketing, interiors, etc. Eric started in Farmer's Markets in Los Angeles. He roasted his beans in his garage and built an enthusiastic following. We met through friends and decided to open a brick-and-mortar for Alana's.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

There are many places to get coffee, and we have continued to build a loyal customer base. We are proud of that. Also... staying open and figuring out how to make things work during Covid.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Managing and keeping good people to work for/with you.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Raise enough capital. It took us two years to build out our space. Way longer than we thought originally!
  2. If you can, create growth paths for staff. We primarily hire baristas who have to have a certain amount of coffee knowledge and experience. But no one is just one thing! We have baristas that do art for our coffee bags as they also have an art background. We had a barista doing some of our social media as they had an interest. Our events are handled by staff. If you can branch out even a little and use your other skills, it makes your job that much more satisfying. We are small, so we can do this. It mostly works.
  3. Having a business partner can be hard but keep at it. Having different skill sets and areas of expertise is great, but it's working to mesh two people's visions. Be frank and talk about how the work goals and your personal life goals mesh and exit strategies.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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