Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Iesha Malone, owner of Rose Cafe, located in Chicago, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Rose Cafe is here to give access to literacy to a book desert community. We are looking to put books back in the hands of people so that they can be inspired to try and create positive change for the future. The community that we serve is where I grew up, was educated, and know quite well. There isn't any bookstore in the community that appeals to the people in the community. Roseland is a book desert and lacks so many resources. The only resource that I could think of is that we need books. Books change perspectives. Books change lives. Books save lives.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Iesha Malone, and I am a native of the Roseland community. Growing up in Roseland, I didn't have access to much. The only thing I wanted to do was read. My parents just gave me the Newspaper. The library didn't make it easy to access books that represented things I was familiar with. I always ended up reading about young white girls whose dreams came true, never black. During the Black Revolution of 2020, my community was looted, and at that point, I knew it was time to rebuild. The only thing that I knew we needed was books. I am an ELA teacher, and I've witnessed things spark as students read. I want that for Roseland. My hope is that it can decrease violence.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

So far, we have given over 8000 books to Roseland. Not just any books either, quality and representational books.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I think the hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is always the unknown. I'm new to this, and everything is a surprise and lesson. Trying to figure out the unknown before it happens gives me anxiety.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Three tips would be to start a business in something that you are passionate about. I love to read, and I know what reading can do. I want to be around books forever. The next thing is to learn how to ask for help. The success of Rose Cafe is because everyone I met, I asked them several questions. My last tip is to do it afraid.

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; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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