Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Margot Jantz, founder of 32 Lakes Coffee Roasters Inc, located in Powell River, Canada.

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

32 Lakes roasts coffee on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of BC. Our company's mission is two fold - bring out the best flavour we can from our specialty grade coffees, while behind the scenes focussing on having a low environmental footprint and funding social initiatives with a portion of our sales.  Since launching at our local farmers market and growing into a brick and mortar location we have become Carbon Neutral, Green and Surfrider Certified by Synergy Enterprises in Victoria, BC, and our Signature Line of blends are Rainforest Alliance Certified. We have recently launched a give-back program in the communities that we retail in and try to be a support for the amazing local businesses we are surrounded by (Shoutout to Townsite Brewing, Ora Leather Goods/Aro Upholstery, Urban Earth Teas,  32 Lakes Cafe and Bakery, Miki Blanket, Beaton, Red Creek Kids and so much more!)

Tell us about yourself

I am originally from North Vancouver and moved with my partner to The Sunshine Coast in 2011. The idea for a roasting business came to my partner and I while I was on maternity leave with our first child. We both wanted to be with our children as much as possible. We had already been roasting coffee for ourselves at home and loved the process. We were also regular customers at the local farmers market and loved the vibe. One day my partner suggested that we could turn our roasting into a business and test out selling at the market. Everything after that is history!

Since coffee was a passion for us from the start we feel very grateful for calling what we do work, and having a somewhat flexible schedule with our children. Juggling children and work is often mayhem, however, we were all together and it has made for special memories that we can now look back and laugh at.

My current motivation is drawn from working on our goals of implementing environmental and social initiatives, while also creating a supportive network with people in our industry and business. Now with our children in Elementary School, we are taking advantage of this time by setting the groundwork for social and environmental accountability and beginning our plans for growth. I am also motivated by creating a company with values I believe in, and we are finding consumers who also believe in our values. I believe we are finding ways to be good for the world around us and we are surrounded and supported by so many amazing people who want the same.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Carbon Neutrality! We want to always push our boundaries to be our best, and this was a huge goal of mine. This win represented first and foremost that we were now operating with a net zero carbon footprint, which felt so good.  I also felt a huge sense of accomplishment in setting a goal, which reflected my personal value system, and then putting it to practice in a viable way. There was absolutely a process to this, and it took time and work, but so worth it - we are very proud!

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

Balancing family life and work. I love my work, however, it never ends. I continue to remind myself to put the computer and phone down while with my family, the emails and projects can wait.

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

Hire a bookkeeper, make sure your numbers work, and network with other entrepreneurs.

If I were not guided to hire a bookkeeper when I first started 32 Lakes, it is not likely I would have. I was so focused on the roasting, I wouldn't have anticipated how much behind the scenes work there would be, especially with bookkeeping. As an entrepreneur you must wear a lot of hats, I think this one for me is an easy hat to contract out.

Double check your numbers. Understanding the bottom line is so important! Sometimes an idea seems great, but until you crunch the numbers I wouldn't risk investing time or money.

Networking and building relationships with other entrepreneurs can open up so many opportunities. Support, mentorship, cross marketing and collaborations have been some of the benefits I have thrived on through networking. A great experience for me was when we took the slowest day at our cafe and turned it into our busiest day by creating a local famers market in our space. We ended up with live music, numerous vendors and art exhibits - it was special!

Anything else you'd like to share?

I often refer to business as a rollercoaster ride. I have experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows since becoming an entrepreneur. Over the years, I have adapted and learned to roll with the punches. It takes a lot of work and perseverance. With those two things I believe you can succeed - and maybe hire a bookkeeper ;)

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; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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