Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rifko Meier, founder of Oysters XO, located in the USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Oysters XO shucks your Party - Oyster Girls & Guys roam around your event, shucking oysters for your guests from the buckets around their waist. They are dressed in white leather aprons carrying a bucket with oysters on crushed ice, a bucket with condiments, and an empty bucket. Oyster Chefs walk up to the guests offering a fresh oyster. They shuck it fresh right in front of you, adding the condiments of choice. After you enjoyed the oyster, you dispose of the shell in the empty bucket. We repeat this until you are fully satisfied. Being an Oyster Chef is the best job because we make people happy.
Tell us about yourself
I started Oysters XO in 2012 after a friend asked me to help her out with some oysters for an NYC fashion week event. I have had never shucked an oyster, but that weekend I went to Cape Cod, and so it was a great opportunity to teach myself how to shuck oysters. I created the leather aprons and designed the Oyster Belt. It was a great success, my friend's guests enjoyed it so much. I decided to create a business on this concept, and a week later, it was featured in the New York Times and a few months later in the New Yorker Magazine. This set me up for the Oyster Girls shucking Leonardo DiCaprio at the Premiere of The Great Gatsby and catering to the Super Bowl. I love my business because I travel across the country for the most beautiful and iconic events making people happy. Oysters are the best business anyway because, for every oyster you eat, you help the oceans become healthier (and yourself too, because of the vitamins and minerals).
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am most proud of creating a business with teams in 10 major American cities with the best Girls and Guys working the events. My teams are beautiful because of their skills, knowledge, excitement, and showcasing their own personalities.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things in life for me is dishonest people or businesses. You never know ahead of time, and when you start to discover it, it's often too late. I value honesty and respect to and from my teams, suppliers, and clients. We all need to take care of each other a little better. That's what oysters are about too. Oysters are farmed in open ocean water and come straight out of the water into your mouth. How honest is that?!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Find something you are excited about, make a plan, and learn every day from what you did good or what went wrong. Ask advice from anyone that you feel can help you. I still do that. That's four tips? Sorry.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Our customer care phone number is my cell number. I get the best ideas from questions (and complaints) from my clients. People don't believe me when I tell them because Oysters XO is a pretty big company, but it's true. We don't get a lot of complaints, so that helps me do it this way.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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