Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chris Caira, founder of The Maker Bean Cafe, located in Toronto, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We're Canada's first maker space cafe! The Maker Bean is a space where guests can enjoy great drinks and food in a warm, welcoming environment while letting their imaginations soar by designing and making things together! We're excited to bring you Making in all its forms: from traditional arts & crafts to high-tech digital fabrication like 3D printing, laser cutting, and educational workshops. Paired with locally roasted coffee and food, our customers will share the experience of bringing their creative ideas to life! Our customers are anyone who loves great food & drinks and/or enjoys being creative & making things themselves, enjoying the making process.
Tell us about yourself
My wife & partner in Maker Bean, Lorraine, and I both enjoy being creative and also cafe culture. Coming from corporate backgrounds, we were searching for a more "real & down-to-earth" path next. We both love technology & creativity, and maker culture (3D printing, laser cutting, coding) brings those two things together. We're always inspired by the awesome projects clients bring to us every day. Bringing them to life together with our tools gets us excited to go to work every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We're thrilled to have expanded our business into so many maker & cafe culture areas: from adult workshops & kids camps to industrial laser cutting & 3D printing services to artisanal cafe services in a warm, welcoming space. We have a lot to offer & keep customers coming back for different things.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The constant flow of challenges: not a day goes by that something doesn't "go wrong," and it might have you thinking that your idea isn't a good one. But everything worth achieving often has challenges that need overcoming, and recognizing that every problem is solvable with the right approach, and savouring the successes that come with overcoming challenges, is key to getting back up after every setback.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Build a strong team around you: from the staff, you work with every day, to professionals like accountants, to suppliers, it's a big team effort.
- Be extra conservative with your financial projections; starting a business requires more capital investment than you're expecting, given the issues that come up. Sometimes you just need a little more runway to get things to a self-sustaining point.
- Enjoy your business! Too often, we get caught up in solving problems; we don't take a moment to enjoy a good conversation with a colleague or sample our own product/service; if you enjoy it, your customers will too.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Starting a business is one of the greatest undertakings anyone can embark on. If you're already on that path, I'd say you've already succeeded as an entrepreneur since the toughest step is the first one: deciding to kick things off.
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.