Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Molly Leadbetter, part owner of Meriwether Cider, located in Garden City, ID, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are one of the only producers of craft hard cider in Idaho! We run a taproom and production facility as well as a Cider House in Downtown Boise that has 20 taps of cider, including our cider as well as outside ciders from around the country and around the world! We think craft cider is for anyone 21+! Many of our amazing regulars started out as cider skeptics and have really found a love for the craft, so we invite anyone and everyone to give craft cider a try! I always say you don't dislike cider; you just haven't found a cider you like YET. It's out there, I promise!
Tell us about yourself
I founded Meriwether Cider in 2016 with my sister and parents; we were all looking for something new and interesting to do. The idea of cider in Idaho (there weren't ANY when we first started planning) came into our heads and took root, and it's been a wild adventure ever since. I love working with my family, and I would never want to start and operate a business with anyone else.
The sense of community and working with super rad folks in a super amazing industry with a beverage that I am truly passionate about definitely makes the day-to-day a fun and rewarding experience.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
None of the four of us had any business experience before we decided to open Meriwether, so the resilience, stick-with-it-ness, mad google skills. The wonderful craft beverage community we could rely on was essential to our success. I am very proud that we were able to pull it off and have such a rewarding business to show for it.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think one of the hardest things is all the little daily and weekly tasks and decisions you have to make. No one else sees them, but if you didn't do them, everything would fall apart. So making sure you're staying aware of them and keeping up with your company and employees in a way that makes everything run smoothly. It can get a little grueling because it's so continuous, but it is also pretty rewarding when you see the business succeeding and your employees happy from all the work you put in behind the scenes.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Most importantly, ask for help! There are lots of folks who have opened businesses similar to yours, and they have so much knowledge that most are very willing to share. You can make deep connections with them as well as get amazing advice about your own business. Also, reach out to (usually free) business resources like the SBA. They can help you with all sorts of problems and hurdles and are just an absolutely wonderful resource.
- Make something you're proud of. Write down your core values and make sure everything you do reflects those. For example, our core values are: family, fun, integrity, and curiosity. When we make any decisions, we always look to be sure those values match with the decision we're making.
- Running a business is hard work. Really ask yourself why you're starting the business instead of just working in the same industry for someone else's company. Write those reasons down, be sure it's the right move for you. There are many really rewarding aspects of starting something from scratch but also a lot of difficulties, so just be sure you're going into it with clear eyes and not an imagined fairytale image of self-employment.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I think one of the main reasons Meriwether is successful is we're continually pivoting and offering our guests something different and fun. It's super easy to fall into a rut of doing the same thing over and over again, but always reimagining what we can do and provide is how we keep it interesting for ourselves as well as our guests.
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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