Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverages but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Briana Campbell and Jon Phillips, founders of Time & Tide Coffee, located in Biddeford, ME, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Time & Tide Coffee is a coffee roaster and cafe located in Biddeford, Maine. Our ethos is rooted in our tag: Better Coffee. For everyone. There are very few things in the world that we all have access to the best in the world version of – but coffee is one of those things.
We believe that providing better coffee for everyone starts with making great coffee accessible and approachable. In our cafe, that means we make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable. We know people can feel overwhelmed by our out-of-place specialty coffee shop, and we want them to have a great experience every time. And while we have some really fun, flavored lattes (pro tip: the pistachio latte is a fan favorite)
In our roaster, we roast to bring out the best, natural flavor of each bean. We work hard to keep our prices accessible to consumers and wholesale partners, all the while sourcing from importers and distributors who work to take care of the coffee farmers. For the most part, this means working with people Jon had worked with for many years before we headed out on our own. And these deep relationships really help us deliver on our promise.
Tell us about yourself
Jon has worked in specialty coffee for most of his adult life - in almost every role you can imagine, from barista to green coffee buyer, shop manager to roaster. When we met in Brooklyn, NY, I had been working in the beauty industry and had transitioned into advertising and marketing. Jon talked about opening his own shop eventually, and over the years, that became a shared dream.
We envisioned a place where we could offer the best beans sourced from people Jon had met in his coffee travels in a beautiful, modern environment. We drafted the beginnings of the business plan for what would become Time & Tide Coffee on cocktail napkins while in Antigua in the coffee region of Guatemala, and it stayed a dream in the back of our minds while we thought about the best place to bring it to life in the way we wanted to - which meant we would be able to quit our day jobs and focus 100% of our time and energy on building our business. It was during a 2017 trip to Maine for our annual extended family vacation we realized Biddeford, with its evolving, artistic, and entrepreneurial community, would be a perfect fit. Six months later, we had quit our jobs, loaded our car, and moved from Brooklyn to Biddeford.
The community here - and all our supporters who buy from us online - has been so welcoming and amazing. They supported us all through COVID, which has been happening the majority of the time we've been in business. They continue to support us and be our biggest cheerleaders as we work to grow our business. That's what motivates me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Honestly, surviving and thriving during this ongoing pandemic is probably our biggest accomplishment. We've had to navigate a lot of changes and move quickly. I'm really proud of the way we've been able to do that while still keeping our staff, ourselves, and our community safe + healthy.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner, especially of a young + growing business, is finding ways to turn off our brains and not talk about the business all the time. Especially as a married couple - it's super easy to let work come into every conversation. Finding a balance is important. I'd offer some tips on how to do it, but I'm not sure we've figured it out yet!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a clear vision, and don't let others distract you from it. People will always have an opinion, but they don't know your business as you do.
- Be flexible and adaptable - there will be a lot of things you can't control as you are growing and building your business (see 2020 + 2021 for great examples!). The more you can smartly adapt, as opposed to react, the better off you'll be.
- Perseverance is key. A great business isn't necessarily successful right away, and it might take longer than you think, but if you have a clear vision of what you are building and believe in it, you'll get there.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Stay true to yourself and your end goal. It can be easy to get distracted, but when you have a clear vision and plan, you'll be better prepared to navigate everything the world throws at you.
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 email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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