Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristin Butler, co-owner and CEO of Eva's Original Chimneys Inc., With branches located in Toronto, Mississauga, and St John's, Newfoundland, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a family-owned business that specializes in a traditional Eastern European pastry called chimney cakes. Our business is named after our grandmother, Eva, from Budapest, who helped us develop our signature dough recipe. We serve the pastries freshly baked on their own, or shaped as cones and served with ice cream! We have an extensive vegan menu, too. Our customers are foodies and families and anyone looking for a delicious treat :)
Tell us about yourself
I (Kristin) was visiting family with my business partner Justin in Budapest when we first tried chimney cakes. We knew after the first bite that we had to make them our business! We trained in Europe on how to make the perfect cakes and then perfected our recipe at home with grandma Eva. I absolutely LOVE giving customers a great experience and a treat – I think of that first moment I tried a chimney cake. I am motivated to create that same experience for others – something different, delicious, and memorable. I also am passionate about quality, plant-based food, and I am so happy to be able to offer amazing treats to vegan customers. We are also female-owned – I am a single mom and running the business alongside my cousin Karla who manages our marketing.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
This is a tough one! I think that after the pandemic, being able to shift quickly and continue to serve customers was a big thing. We previously had a lot of seating in our locations, and we didn't have a very easy way to transport our ice cream. We made some big pivots to continue serving, and we are very fortunate to be up and running after the crazy couple of years that have been.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It is more than a job. A business really takes up a lot of your life, and there is little downtime. Holidays are never holidays - there is always something to take care of. But, the reward of bringing a dream to life and being your own boss makes it worth it!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Research, research, and research some more. Understand who your market is and the potential for income before diving in
- Manage your cash flow very carefully. Things are going to be tight, and you may not be able to take a paycheque for a while. Cash flow dictates whether or not the doors stay open.
- Stand for something. Customers are drawn to brands that have a clear story or purpose. Getting your name out there can be very hard. If you stand for something and you can clearly articulate what it is, it will be easier to market your business to customers in an authentic way (and they may even do some of the marketing for you)
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We are now franchising! After launching with our first franchise partner in Newfoundland, we are now looking to expand in the west of Canada.
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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