Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Oleksyn, owner of Caffiend Coffee Inc, located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

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

Our business is Caffiend Coffee. We are located in southwest Edmonton. We are in a small community on the edge of the city. Our customers are our neighbors, friends, and soon-to-be friends. We are a local movement supporting other local businesses, artists, and budding entrepreneurs.

Tell us about yourself

My husband Allen and I always had a dream to own a cafe in a mountain town. It was our "retirement dream." One day we got to talking about how our small community within Edmonton was missing a local spot to go. A "third space" - that place between home and work that you feel comfortable and welcome. We started enquiring with commercial realtors and found our perfect space.

We're motivated every day to do what we do by our customers, staff, and suppliers. We believe that people need a space to connect, share, laugh, eat and drink great goods, and just be themselves.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our biggest accomplishment as business owners has been our ability to pivot on the go with the changing public health restrictions. We've met all the challenges that have come (with COVID) over the past two years with a mindset of "let's try." Let's try something different. Let's try something new. Let's just try.

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

One of the hardest things about being a business owner is boundaries. You pour everything into your business, and sometimes you have to remember that you can't pour from an empty cup. We've learned many lessons from burnout over the past three years and have to constantly remind ourselves that it's not a crime to take a break.

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

  1. Have a plan. Take the time to put your plan into words. What is your vision? What does your business look like in 1, 3, 5, and 10 years from now? Be clear about what you want but be flexible about how you get there.
  2. Have support. Join business communities, find a mentor, find a friend in the business. It can be a lonely journey if you don't have support from people who know the struggle.
  3. Don't take yourself too seriously. Have fun. Know that you can't ever please everyone and accept that some people won't believe in what you're doing or how you're doing it. Try your best to accept the feedback and move on with your dream. Don't dwell on the naysayers; focus on your supporters; those are your people.

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; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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