Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Eddie Gonzalez, Owner of Apothecary Spices, located in Alexandria, VA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Apothecary Spices is a boutique spice company offering easy-to-use spice blends. We have a nice variety of spice blends for pallets that crave strong, bold flavors. Our customers are anyone that wants to get dependable and reliable flavors that offer a range of uses. From indoor cooking to cranking up the grill to enhancing snacks and delivery, we've got you covered. It's #WickedGoodness.
Tell us about yourself
Grilling is my happy place. Whether at a campfire, tailgate, or patio, open up a grill, and I'm home. I grew up in a small town in south Texas where grilling involved: collecting falling branches from the mesquite tree in our backyard, burning them down to coals, and finally shoveling the coals into the grill to cook some unbelievable food. Since mesquite is scarce in the Washington, DC area, I started playing around with flavors that recreated the rich, deep, and crisp flavor of mesquite grilling. With some experimenting, I found myself favoring three flavors: season salt, lemon pepper, and garlic powder. I decided to mix the three ingredients into a blend to make my signature Grilling and Roasting Spice. After 15 years of making batches for friends for holiday gifts, birthday gifts, and whatever gifts, I added some additional blends and decided to share my creations with the world as Apothecary Spices.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My favorite part about starting a food-based business is trying different flavor combinations and sharing them with friends and customers. These are blends that I use every day, so when I talk about them with customers, it's a personal conversation. It gives me joy to know something I created is adding to people's culinary universe. I tell my customers, "everyone should have a spice connection." I'm happy to be that connection.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being a business owner is extremely fulfilling, but it can also be stressful. There is a constant list of things you need to maintain to ensure the business runs smoothly. I'm always having to make sure I have enough ingredient spices or bottles or labels. If I let any of them run out, I won't have what I need to fulfill my orders. That means no sales. Keeping the business running means constant attention to my operation. But the trade-off is knowing I have products that add to the culinary quality of life of my customers. I love thinking about my spices being used in their recipes. It's like I'm in the kitchen with them.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
For anyone starting a business, I recommend you have a sense of three things:
- Know the total costs of operating your business. Don't guess at your expenses or undercut your prices to cover them. A business should make enough to at least cover your expenses, even if that is not your motivation.
- Be serious. A business can fulfill you like a hobby, but there are administrative responsibilities that you need to maintain. Taxes, permits, insurance, etc., are all real parts of owning a business.
- Be authentic. Work with products or services that mean something to you. That allows you to be authentic in your marketing and promotion.
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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