Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Leilani Luna, Owner of Lunatic Coffee, located in Deming, NM, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Lunatic Coffee. We hand roast small batches of organic, fair, trade, bird-friendly coffee. We also sell organic, fair trade tea and hot cocoa. Our customers are coffee and tea connoisseurs. They want high-quality, organic, ethically sourced products. Our customers are very likely to attend Renaissance Faires and Pirate Festivals!
Tell us about yourself
I started Lunatic Coffee because I wanted organic coffee that wasn’t bitter, acidic, and upsetting to my stomach. Fair trade was important to me, too.
After doing some research, I ordered green coffee beans, and my husband and I started roasting them. We were thrilled with the results! We shared our coffee with friends, and they all said it was the best coffee they ever had and wanted to know if they could buy it! That’s how I started my business.
I love waking up to a delicious cup of coffee; I know I’m not the only one! Knowing that I can provide that wonderful experience to others keeps me motivated. Since we added teas to our line, I know that I can help others who don’t or can’t drink coffee. Not only can I help them perk up in the morning, but I can also support them and their families with our herbal/medicinal teas, as well as relax and unwind at the end of the day with a soothing, comforting tea. With the addition of hot cocoa this week, I can also make children happy!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is coming out of my introverted shell and doing what I need to do to get my business out in the world and growing! This includes being a vendor at markets, fairs, and festivals and meeting dozens to hundreds of people each weekend.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things to deal with is when sales are slow. We went a few consecutive months this year without any sales. I want Lunatic Coffee to be my sole source of income; it was quite discouraging because I know our products are fantastic and of the highest quality, and we provide great customer service. I remained hopeful because I had three festivals and a couple of local markets coming up! But those dry times are really tough.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I would first recommend doing lots of research. Find out if your local community is interested in your product, service, or idea and how much they’re willing to pay for it. I started Lunatic Coffee in a city in Northern California and moved to a small town in New Mexico. The difference in people and their income is vastly different. That is something I didn’t consider when I moved.
- Find the best quality you can afford. It’s tempting to go cheap in the beginning because you don’t know how your business is going to turn out, and you might not have the funds to buy the best. Save up if you have to. People don’t go out looking for mediocre products.
- Don’t give up! It gets hard at times. Sales are slow, supplies can be expensive, and a lot of people won’t “get” what you’re providing. I get at least 7 people per weekend in my small town who stop at my booth just to tell me they don’t like coffee or tea! And that’s okay. Pointless for them to do, but okay! There are plenty of people who do get it, and I meet more every month at various venues.
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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