Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Justin Dervaes, Co-Founder of Urban Homestead Inc., located in Pasadena, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are an urban farm on a 1/10 acre in Pasadena. Our regenerative urban family farm has supplied our local community with fresh, local produce, herbs, and edible flowers for 30 years. Our farm space also provides opportunities for schools and individuals to engage in hands-on learning through our many educational programs.
Tell us about yourself
My love of growing things runs like blood through my veins. I oversee the daily farm operations and manage the farm box program, serving the customers with my down-to-earth "know-how" style and ever-ready smile. When I'm not trying to grow every heirloom tomato that exists on this planet, I enjoy beekeeping and working alongside the interns, where I'm able to share my witty wisdom and passion for growing food.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
After my father died suddenly in December 2016, we incorporated the family farm business. However, we had to basically start over from scratch with no credit history or tax returns, so we joked we were a 25-year-old startup. It took three years to get everything up and running again. Then the pandemic hit, and we lost 90% of our revenue streams. We had to adapt and change on the fly, and happy to say the business was able to survive - for now.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
You have to do everything, and everyone depends on you. Also need to realize a lot is out of your control. What's next and the future of our family farm is what worries me the most.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do what you love. It's going to be hard work, so do what you are passionate about.
- Adapt or die. Be willing to change your original business model with the changing times.
- Don't quit. It's a long journey.
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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