Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jonathan Larrad, founder of Spanish Pig, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Spanish Pig is Canada´s online shop for authentic Spanish food, with delivery anywhere in the country. We offer Spanish food favourites like jamón, chorizo, paella essentials, charcuterie selections, conservas, and gift boxes, as well as a subscription service for monthly or seasonal boxes. Our goal is to create memorable Spanish food experiences for our customers, whether an authentic tapas night with friends or cooking a paella for your family.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Jonathan Larrad, and I am the Founder of Spanish Pig. I grew up in Madrid and moved to Canada in 2010. I was frustrated by the lack of quality Spanish food available in Toronto, where I lived. I started Spanish Pig in 2018 as a side hustle by working with various Spanish importers to bring the food I love from Spain to your table here in Canada, all in an easy online shopping experience. The pandemic was another catalyst for the business. Canadians started to go online shopping for food to avoid going to retail stores and looking for at-home food experiences with closed restaurants.
In 2020, I left my corporate job and moved to work on Spanish Pig full time. Since then, the company has grown substantially. My partner, Leonie Tait, joined the business in June 2021 to help grow the business with her marketing background. Each day, what motivates me is my love for Spanish food and the great feedback we get from customers who are so grateful to have found a way to deliver delicious Spanish food to their door. Working for myself is also a rewarding experience.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is converting an idea or a dream into a profitable business, leveraging my skillset in business while following my passion for Spanish food. Also, I enjoy constantly innovating and making fast decisions to help the business grow.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Despite the satisfaction it can bring, the hardest thing about business a small business owner is probably having to roll up your sleeves and do everything required, from sourcing the boxes and food to packing and shipping boxes to managing the finances. Not every task is my favourite, but the whole experience is well worth it! The uncertainty can also be tough, but it is par for the course, and once you get used to that feeling, it gets more comfortable.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Passion - it's important to be passionate about your business idea or even the notion of running your own business. This will help drive you when things are not going well or times are tough, which is inevitable in business. With owning your own business, you need to be resilient and having a passion for your idea helps with that.
- Understand the market well - It is important to understand your customers and how your business fits in the marketplace. This will help you position your offering correctly and allow you to keep evolving your idea in ways that are profitable. For example, we recently launched a subscription service because we have a number of loyal customers who purchase again and again, and this seemed like a great evolution of our product and service to keep these customers happy and also help us with recurring revenue.
- Adapt quickly - It's great to have a strategy, but inevitably, things will change, or something won't work as planned. You must be able to pivot quickly, don't fixate on what didn't go well, pick yourself back up and keep trying. It doesn't have to be perfect, but lots of small tweaks will go a long way to getting your business on the right course.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Going all-in on your business idea, especially if leaving the stability of a corporate or well-paid job, can feel daunting. However, it is really worth it. You will always learn something; even if it fails, it could lead to another venture or experience. When I was leaving my job, I thought of taking the path of least regret, and I'm so glad I did!
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.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.