Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cynthia Derama, co-owner of Twin Elephant Brewing Company, located in Chatham NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Twin Elephant Brewing Co. mindfully brews craft beers of different styles focusing on the creative aspect, experimenting with different flavor combinations and ingredients. Our vision is for our patrons to enjoy these unique local beers in an inviting and enjoyable atmosphere. We find a beer for everyone, guiding customers through their palate preferences, from the experienced craft beer drinker to those who believe they don't like beer. Our goal is to inspire people to enjoy themselves as well as our fresh brews.
Tell us about yourself
I find my mind works in both pragmatically and creatively with wanting to do artistic things but also influenced by science, with a degree and electrical engineering and an MBA. I have worked in many different industries, from process automation design and implementation, professional photography, specialty and wedding cake creation, bartending/waitressing, to global digital marketing for electronics components.
I was never able to find my true "niche" until I started getting frustrated with the corporate world. My husband, Tim, and friend Scott all had a passion for craft beer and homebrewing for many years. I decided to make a change for myself and found myself at a fork in the road. Either take a leap and start a brewery which has been a pipe dream for the three of us, or find another job, possibly a career. We decided together to take the jump together, and I left my job and went full time into building the business. With a lot of literal blood, sweat and tears, we were able to build out our brewery and taproom in about a year, and Twin Elephant was born.
Our friends, family, local community, and people in the industry were already a huge help to us. With the idea of "community" in all different aspects, it fills my mind and soul to keep contributing business and beer to our society. It's not "just beer"; it's bigger than that now. Our brewery is a local business, a destination for "beer nerds," a place for people to explore brews, fun and rewarding work for our employees, and an inclusive haven for people to have fun and enjoy our beer.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I feel my biggest accomplishment as a business owner is, besides being able to provide craft beer to people, is providing service. Not only just taproom and customer service but the ability to bring people together in an inclusive space, to provide our employees with a fun, fulfilling job, space for brewing and beer education, and to use our platform for awareness and funding to social issues and people in need. We have participated in collaboration brews to donate proceeds and shine a light on issues like racism, sexism, and discrimination. Also, we periodically do drives at our brewery to help communities in need of food and goods like toiletries and clothing.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things I've come across as being a business owner is managing personalities. It's impossible to make everyone happy, but I try very hard to satisfy people's wants and needs from my partners, employees, and customers. However, the absolute hardest thing I have experienced as a business owner is to allow myself to care for myself. With the hustle of running a business and caring for others, it is very easy to overlook your own needs.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make a business plan from inception to exit and be realistic. Do your research.
- Stay humble, and don't be too proud to ask for help. Without learning and getting help from others, you cannot grow. Death of learning leads to the death of your business.
- Do not forget to take care of yourself. Owning a business can be life-consuming and stressful but also the most rewarding. However, it is easy to burn out. Make sure to make time for yourself for mental and physical health.
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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