Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sebastian Manago, Founder of Double Hill Inc., located in Caledonia, Prince Edward Island.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We make Cider inspired by old-world cider-making traditions and new-world wild apples. We believe Canada can be a world-class producer of superb cider.
Tell us about yourself
We started making apple juice from the wild apples on our farm and discovered how much better it was than the store-bought juice made from dessert apples. We consulted with cider makers in France to assess the suitability of the PEI wild apples for cider making, and the project was born. Since then, we have been planting and grafting true cider apples and the best of the wild apples in our orchard.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We now make cider from wild apples (Nomad), orchard apples. (IslandSide) and cider apples. Some ciders, such as our Oistre, are the results of blending different types. Our ciders have gotten recognition at the New York international cider competition and are served at Montreal restaurants and oyster bars.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It takes 100% dedication and then some more. All your weaknesses as a manager are magnified when you start with a small crew because you can't delegate. The second challenge comes when you have to manage growth. In this capital-intensive business, growth needs more investment at a point when you have just made a huge investment to start the company.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- The hardest part is to make the transition from dreaming and planning to do, but the minute you start, there is no looking back.
- Be persistent! We have now been operating longer during the pandemic than outside of it. We also had to endure the almost total loss of apples after hurricane Dorian came through, but there is only one option: keep going!
- Listen to others, but don't follow everyone's advice. Having your own business is a great test of your own judgment. Keep the end goal in mind!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We want to raise awareness about the importance of wild apple trees to our Island landscape and to wildlife as a food source. We also want to communicate the value of the incredible genetic diversity that apples possess.
Our story shows that all things in nature deserve recognition, even if the economic output is not always apparent. Wild apples used to be regarded as worthless. Now we value them for cider making. Some of the wild apples are superior cider apples, and we have selected the very best of them to graft in our orchard to improve our Nomad cider constantly.
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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