What inspired you to start your business?
Our goal was to build a business using our background in business and marketing. We were looking for a business that would allow us to re-locate our family to a smaller community. Our goal was to be in a small town as we raised our family. Brenham was the best place to start our business – a local coffee shop. We started roasting our own coffee and grew from there.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Be confident and find your strengths. Put your energy into those areas of your business. Surround yourself with a team who has talents in other areas and rely on them to assist you. Don’t be fearful of decision-making. Research the market around you and use lists with pros and cons to determine the direction you want to go forward in.
What three traits define you?
Positive: my glass is always full, always trusting God’s guidance
Integrity: treating co-workers, vendors and customers like I want to be treated
Accountable: willing to admit if I’m wrong and open to changes if needed, open to ideas and opportunities
What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?
The coffee and tea industry is consumer-driven. If we offer a high-quality product that is reasonably priced and we focus on customer service, the sky is the limit regarding growth. The market category we fall into is very positive. New products and approaches to coffee and tea arrive all the time and feedback is almost instant with social media. Atmosphere is a key tool in the coffee industry. We focus a great deal on marketing images and packaging materials to draw customers to our products.
What do you love about being a business owner?
Decision-making along with a strong team is a great part of owning a business. Planning and seeing those plans come to fruition is very rewarding. It’s been a great experience to create and build a company from a simple vision into a truly operable organization that employs 30+ people. Witnessing and fostering the growth of both employees and a business makes working enjoyable.
What’s the hardest part about being a business owner?
Your employees are counting on the choices and decisions you’re making to be good choices to allow them job security. There are a lot of people counting on you.
How do you define success?
As we started Independence Coffee Co. in 2003, we set goals. Over the last fifteen years, we have continued to set goals both personally and from a business perspective. Success is meeting those goals alongside your partner of 34 years. Success is having the resources to put other goals in place and meet them as well. Success is facing obstacles with confidence, putting your best foot forward to be the best leader you can be and know that God gets all the glory and praise for your success!
What’s your favorite career moment?
After being in business for 4 years, we took a huge leap of faith and decided my husband would leave his “very good” job and we would depend on our coffee business to support our family. Walking away from “Corporate America” to build a business was very exhilarating. There have been good moments and challenging moments, but experiencing both of those is what builds a good leader.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
If sleep wasn’t required, I most likely would not stop! I’d be going from work related things to personal things and back. I would read more and I would attempt to travel. Given that my husband is involved in the business, travel doesn’t mean I’m not working. Work tends to travel with me! Thank goodness sleep is required!
What’s the best way to start your day?
Start your day with faith and confidence that you’re going to be the “best” you and make choices to benefit the best interests of your company. Be confident in your abilities and be the best leader you can be. If at the end of the day you’ve exhibited honesty and integrity, then it has been a good day!
How do you unwind after a long workday?
After a long day of work, it is quite likely it might extend to a long evening of work. The biggest difference is the evening might be in the comfort of your home in a home office with your dog laying beside you. Given that my husband and I are both involved in the business there is a great deal of business talk whether in the office, in our vehicle, or at home. However, we are pretty skilled at shutting it down at the right time. Unwinding might involve music, a glass of wine, relaxing on our front porch with a book or simply just enjoying friends and family.
What do you like about your workspace?
Our workspace is not fancy. It has evolved over the last 15 years. We are comfortable, but not extravagant. It is a good place to work yet stay humble. We are within 20 feet of our manufacturing floor, so we are very involved with our employees and the day-to-day processes of building our business to ensure we reach our best potential.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... face it head on with confidence, honesty and integrity.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… you’ve got this!
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my faith in God along with the support and confidence my husband, kids, family, and customers show us. God has blessed me through this journey. .
By this time next year, I will be… more focused on working on my areas of strength to grow the business and turning to the strengths of the people around me so they can assist in that growth.
The best thing that happened to me last week was… after raising three children, the third child left home to attend school. It’s bittersweet, but I know all three of our children have some very good traits they can offer to society. They are kind, considerate, focused and motivated. Two of them are already building small businesses in their twenties. All three of them understand the concept of customer service and the importance it plays in building a solid business. It’s a nice feeling as a parent that my position as a mother and business owner have contributed to three wonderful children.
To get my creative juices flowing, I… listen to music, drive in the country, and “talk shop” with my husband on the front porch.
Independence Coffee Co.
Independence Coffee Co. roasts and manufactures 100% Arabica coffees sourced from the top 5% of coffee beans around the world.
What started out as a small family business has grown to 30+ employees with a product portfolio including fresh-roasted coffees, hand-blended teas, cold brew, and nitro cold brew coffee. ICC's products are available at wholesalers and grocery markets such as HEB, Whole Foods, Uptown and Hannaford as well as restaurants, shops, and retailers across the United States. ICC continues to expand and recently started serving workplaces through its Office Coffee Service program encouraging everyone to Savor Your Independence (at work).