Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Crystal Dufresne, Owner of The Brothery, located in Cambridge, ON, Canada.

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

The Brothery is a small batch craft bone broth company based in Cambridge, Ontario. We make the only bone broth simmered for 72 hours, three times longer than all other packaged bone broths. This extensive simmering time produces the most flavourful and nutritious bone broth on the market.

Our bone broth is made with 100% all-natural ingredients and is available in five flavours: beef, bison, chicken, turkey, and vegetable. We use locally-sourced, grass-fed, and pasture-raised bones. We are committed to sustainable processes and packaging we offer a jar return program that allows us to collect, wash, and re-use jars to reduce our environmental footprint.

Our customers include individuals who drink bone broth for health or dietary reasons, to alleviate various ailments (gut health disorders, joint pain, sleep issues, etc.), and those looking for high-quality bone broth to use in recipes.

Tell us about yourself

Before starting The Brothery, we had been making and drinking bone broth daily for years at home. We had personally experienced the benefits of regular bone broth consumption and wanted to help others do the same. Making bone broth at home is a messy and time-consuming process that is not feasible for everyone.

We tried existing packaged options, but none compared to the flavour and quality of the 72-hour simmering time we made ourselves. Many existing options were also frozen and required thawing or were powdered and made with non-natural ingredients. We knew there was a significant market gap that we could fill.

We stay motivated by hearing our customers share how much our product has helped them and how much they enjoy drinking it. Seeing our customers find relief from various ailments and live healthier lifestyles is extremely rewarding.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our biggest accomplishment is knowing that we are helping others live a healthier lifestyle and helping those with common gut and digestive disorders find relief. Our product is sold in over 115 retail stores, and we ship directly to hundreds of customers every month.

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

The most difficult thing that has come with being a business owner is navigating work/life balance. Starting a successful business requires a significant investment of time and energy, and our desire to keep growing and improving our business has meant working very long hours and having less time to invest in our personal lives and relationships.

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

  1. Invest in efficiency and value your time. We did many things manually in the first two years of our business out of hesitancy to invest in expensive machinery, but we learned we were not valuing our time high enough relative to the cost. Investing in inefficiency ultimately gave us more time to focus on strategic components of our business, and the cost was certainly worth the payoff.
  2. Commit fully. Starting and growing a business will consume your life, and if you aren't going to fully commit, there are many others who will, and they will quickly overtake you. It is not a casual project but a complete lifestyle and mindset change.
  3. Price your products appropriately. It was important to us from the beginning to create a product that was not only high-quality but priced in a manner that was accessible for many to use and benefit from it. Existing packaged bone broths were priced so high that it would not be feasible for the average person to consume them regularly. Your pricing may not be immediately profitable, but if you are overpriced, you will not be successful long-term. We see many small businesses with products priced to reflect their current costs, but profit will come from scale and savings when you are able to buy supplies in bulk. Price for the future of your business more than immediate profitability in the beginning.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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