Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rohani Foulkes, Founder of The Farmer's Hand dba Folk, located in Detroit, MI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
A neighborhood go-to for ethically sourced, deliciously driven provisions. Together, we create change, good change, for good. We are a small team, making simple food from good ingredients. Located in Corktown, Detroit, Folk is a neighborhood market and cafe sourcing and spotlighting minority-made goods, from fine coffee and pastries to picnic provisions, canned cocktails, and bio-dynamic wine. Folk features a casual breakfast and seasonally focused sandwich/salad/bowls menu, espresso bar, booze by the can, and wine by the bottle menu. We also offer catering, on-site private events, and curate food-focused gift boxes!
Tell us about yourself
I left school at 14 to start my chef's apprenticeship. I spent 4 years training to become a chef and another 10 in restaurants, building my skills. When I became a mother, I left the industry temporarily and gained two degrees in education and multiculturalism that would help me empower and educate youth in culinary arts and community development. Food has been my life for as long as I can remember. It's my passion, a central part of my Indigenous background, and the one thing that grounds me in the community where ever I have lived and worked the world over. When I moved to Detroit, I saw a need. A need to provide good food and drink to the community.
Moreover, pay the people growing, making, and serving that food fair, equitable, competitive compensation for their valuable work. While the business model has changed from full service, and the menu/space looks different from what it once did. Today, our core focus remains the same.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I lost 12 staff in one day when COVID mandates were implemented in Michigan. For two years, I have worked tirelessly to not only allow my business to survive but pushed hard to show that it can and would thrive in our hardest moments of business operations. I believe we've succeeded in not only doing this but staying committed to our community and our underlying mission to serve that community, grow our team, pay our team well, and support other good food and beverage and provisions makers in doing so. I am also proud of myself for being brave enough to recognize my own faults in leadership and be willing to stick around to learn and grow from those mistakes. We are now a team of 10 and thriving!!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Balance is the hardest for me.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Learn. Learn. Learn. Take courses, speak to experts, and build a network to better understand what it theoretically takes to start and sustain a business. Then put in the work and get hands-on experience. This can take years.
- Don't let anyone tell you it's not personal. Everything you do in running your own small business is personal. It's your passion, your lifeline, your gift to the world ~ of course; it's personal!
- Know the numbers. Full stop. If you don't understand the numbers, you don't know your business. If you don't know your business, you're not running a business.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.