Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Juan Camilo Bernal, Co-Founder and CMO of 3 Cousins Foods Inc. DBA THE OTHER SIDE OF COFFEE, located in Seal Beach, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We're a female and minority-owned startup launching THE OTHER SIDE OF COFFEE®, an antioxidant drink made from upcycled coffee fruit. Coffee fruit is usually discarded as agricultural waste, but we are upcycling it to make delicious and health-enhancing juice. Our customers are health and eco-conscious consumers, ages 18-39 sweet spot. They live in urban or suburban areas and are interested in health, wellness, and reducing sugar. They want to discover/new exotic flavors, seek actions to combat climate change, and prefer environmentally sustainable alternatives.
Tell us about yourself
After more than 20 years of working as a creative copywriter in advertising, my wife Adela and my cousin Claudia got together and started this fantastic project. We wanted to be independent and create something different, and we didn't want to launch just another lemonade.
Claudia, an agro-industrial engineer in Colombia, introduced us to coffee fruit. The side of the coffee berry that has been considered and discarded as agricultural waste: a by-product of coffee production after the seed (bean) is extracted from the coffee berry. Discarded coffee fruit pollutes waterways and ecosystems. Decaying coffee fruit releases earth-warming greenhouse gasses (methane and CO2). The idea of upcycling coffee fruit sounded like a great challenge, in line with what we sought—something good for us, the farmer, and the planet.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We decided our mission is to bring coffee fruit to the world. Every day the world drinks over 2.25 billion cups of coffee. Just imagine how much coffee fruit is wasted every day and the consequences in coffee regions around the world. So, my biggest accomplishment as a business owner is finding something meaningful to work on. Something that goes way beyond our company itself. It's finding a new ingredient that has been hiding in plain sight.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest part of being a business owner is learning to distribute your time and differentiate what is urgent, meaningful, and necessary. There's always a problem to solve, a big decision, and an obstacle to face. There is no formula to be successful. It's something you have to work for every day, in a good way.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Learn as much as you can, but realize that you will never know everything. Surround yourself with people who believe in your project.
- You will make mistakes. Learn from them so next time you do it the right way.
- Be patient. The journey is the destination. Be flexible. Things change faster and faster.
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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