Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Francis Scanlon, President of Gustus Vitae, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We're small-batch makers of gourmet sea salts, spice blends, and infused cane sugars. Our customers are fellow home cooks like us, and our products are available to everyone from big online marketplaces like Amazon to small mom & pop stores across the US.
Tell us about yourself
Gustus Vitae started in the Venice Beach Farmer's Market, with our first large customer being our local Whole Foods. Since then, we're proud to still hand-make every single product like we've always done, sharing the magic of cooking with more people every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'm most proud of keeping the Farmer's Market values and quality in everything we do, as we've been able to grow and make our products available to more people. Those values are embodied by everyone in our little team and reflected in the ultra-premium quality of everything we make.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Managing growth, dealing with seasonality, and cash flow are probably the top three. As a small company, it's always a challenge to manage limited resources and forecast and plan as best as you can - ultimately, you just do the best you can and trust in your gut and the people around you.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Making a plan is important, but even more important than sticking to it to the letter is being open to change on the fly. Boring as it sounds, looking for ways to save money where you can is a lot easier than making that extra sale, and when you do make that sale, nothing's more important than knowing that you've made a great product and that they'll love it, come back for more, and tell their friends.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
It's hard starting and running a small business, but getting to do what you love with people who are just as passionate is one of the most rewarding things you can do. If you're thinking about it, you owe it to yourself to try.
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.
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