Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Marianne & Kat Stein, owners of Dandelion Teahouse & Apothecary, located in Vancouver, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a Teahouse & Apothecary located in Downtown Vancouver, Washington. Our customers are anyone and everyone! We strive to be inclusive and welcoming in every way - our space is your space to feel happy and safe. We invite you to step into our cozy shop and feel loved!
Tell us about yourself
I (Marianne) started making natural skincare products and herbal tea blends 30 years ago when my daughter, Kat, was born. Kat and her sister grew up with these products, and I have been selling them at fairs, markets, online, and now - in our shop! I find so much joy in helping people care for their skin and seeing how beautiful they feel. Kat and I have always loved working on projects together, so when the opportunity came along, it just made sense to open our shop together! Kat is the manager of Dandelion and is there every day handling the operations, marketing, and tea portion of the business, always coming up with fun new teas to try and tea concoctions to make. I am always creating new skincare products upstairs in our workspace to keep things exciting for our customers and us! Seeing how happy people are when they are in our shop and try our products is what motivates both of us - the joy and positive energy that people bring into our space is contagious!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I feel that my biggest accomplishment is opening Dandelion. My skincare business not only survived the pandemic, but we have blossomed and grown, and we got to open a brick-and-mortar store in 2021!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about owning a business is the unpredictability of owning a retail shop. It is so hard to know when our busy and slow times will be - business seems to come in waves. We are hopeful that consistent business will pick up once more people know about us so that we are able to find our stride!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure your heart is in it! I feel that all of our success can be attributed to all of the love we have put into this business. People are very receptive to this sort of thing - they can tell if you love what you're trying to sell them!
- Be flexible! Sometimes (a lot of times), when owning a business, things don't go exactly to plan - especially at the beginning. If you keep this in mind going into things, roadblocks and detours will be a lot easier to handle when you reach them!
- Be prepared to spend money! Starting a business is not cheap, and it's true what they say - you have to spend money to make money.
- I know it says 3, but the 4th one is important. Make sure it is the right time in your life to start, run and grow a business. If things are hard and there are major roadblocks, step back and look at why. There should be a natural rhythm and flow to the process that keeps you moving forward and keeps you motivated.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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