Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coffee, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Camilo Isaza, the owner of Model Bean Coffee Co, an importer and roaster of coffee in British Columbia.
Tell us all about your business...
Model Bean Coffee Co is a local direct trade importer and roaster of organic Colombian coffee, we source directly from our own family farms in the hills of Colombia, we distribute and small batch roast from Kelowna BC. We are family operated from plant to cup! Sourcing from our own farms allow us to provide a high quality product while providing a fair compensation to the coffee growers and contributing to the local economy.
What's your background and motivation to grow as a business owner?
We started Model Bean Coffee out of necessity in 2020, Camilo (owner) had moved to Kelowna for a job and when pandemic hit there were no more jobs. It was decided that we had to do something to provide an income for our family, we are a family of 5 (3 kids and a dog). Using all our skills we decided to import coffee from our family in Colombia and try to sell it to the Canadian market.
Diana (wife) has a background in graphic design and got the brand image started, we launched our website and waited until orders started to come in. We didn’t have a budget to do any sort of marketing or advertising but the hunger of making the business work lead Camilo to knock on every door available. It was tough! “Because I’m Colombian, I thought I knew everything there is to know about coffee, but I was wrong!”
There was a huge learning curve that Camilo had to go through, started researching and learning about coffee and running a business and fell in love with the coffee culture. We felt the need of more presence in the community and decided to try local farmer’s markets just to show our product and that where things took off! We didn’t know how good our product was and even though there are more great coffee roasters in the community our product is sort of unique.
Seeing people enjoy our product and getting so much positive feedback is what fuels me up to keep going!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I guess the ultimate goal of every business owner is to be successful and to have a business in very little time that takes care of our family and itself sustainable is an accomplishment on its own.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being an entrepreneur?
Not having enough time to get things done, as you start up you literally have to do everything on your own and as you grow you find yourself not having enough time in the day to do what needs to be done and there is always something to do.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?
Don’t give up! It’s not easy but as they say hard work pays off. Learn to lead and delegate, it is a natural feeling to want to do everything yourself and you need time so delegate as much as you can. Treat every customer and every potential lead as your biggest deal! Happy customers are return customers.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Become passionate about your brand and know your product or business. The more you know the easier it becomes to sell and after a while you won’t feel like you’re trying to sell.
Where can people find you online?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as an entrepreneur or business coach 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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