Give us a summary of your business in 200 words or less.
I founded Bubbles – The Tea & Juice Company in 2005, we serve unique flavored smoothies, all handcrafted, cold pressed juices, and many flavors of bubble tea.
How did the idea for your business come about?
I grew up with bubble tea, and visited San Francisco back in 2004 and saw the products mentioned above and thought it would be a good idea to introduce that to Columbus.
What was the turning point for your business? Was there a moment you knew you had something special?
When I stopped focusing on profit and started focusing on the people instead.
What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur and business owner?
Unlimited potential for growth as a human being, unlimited potential to create influence to change and support for the community.
What does the city of Columbus mean to your business?
I have been here ever since attending Ohio State University. I bleed scarlet and grey, this city is home to me. This city has allowed me to grow with unlimited potential, and my urge to create a difference here comes natural.
Are you from Columbus? If not, please explain what brought you to here and ultimately what made you stay.
I am not from Columbus, I went to THE Ohio State University and what made me stay after is the increasing diversity, food scene, great people, and the reasonable cost of living without sacrificing the convenience of a big city that really allowed me to grow and thrive here.
What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to anyone wanting to start a business?
Plan your finances, but don’t focus on money. Focus on the growth of your people, yourself included, profit will come eventually – don’t quit in the infancy of your business (< 5 yrs)
What do you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before starting your business?
That this would be the hardest thing that I will ever do.
What’s the most challenging part of your business (i.e, what keeps you up at night)?
Labor – how to build a sense of career in people in a business that people interpret as a temp job.
Why do you think most business owners fail? What has made you different?
Most businesses fail because of lack of planning, and quitting too early. I planned and planned during my business and didn’t quit because I am stubborn.
What was your biggest mistake and what did it cost you?
Listening to my internal conversation that I am not enough. It costed me early growth opportunities, I’ve had 1 store in the North Market for 10 years, only in the last 4 I have rapidly grown.
What tool has helped you the most for your business (invoicing, accounting, shipping, plugin for website, etc.)?
Accounting. Find a good accountant, someone who is a straight shooter that will not shy away from telling you what you need to know about your business.
When did you know it was time to expand your business, make your first hire, etc.?
I knew it 5 years in, but then I didn’t pull the trigger till the 10th year. It took me a while to get the processes down.
What is something that you did that was a game changer for your business?
When I started to focus on growing people instead of profits.
Who is your best Columbus resource?
Betty Collins at Brady Ware, Jen Routte at Routte Law, Jon Groleau at Thrivent Financial – investment strategy on a personal level is something us entrepreneurs often overlook/dismiss.
When you’re stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to overcome this feeling?
I take a deep breath and know that I am blessed to have this very successful business and that I am able to make a difference in people’s lives everyday. I have a purpose here, and I get to keep going.
What’s one component of entrepreneurship that’s much different than what most people think?
We fail everyday as an entrepreneur, the most important thing is how do we get back up and take the next step.
What’s your end goal with the business? Is this something you want to pass down to your kids or would you like to eventually sell?
I want to make sure all the jobs this business creates don’t get lost and the goal of growing people doesn’t get lost regardless how it gets passed down.
How would your business fare if the economy hit a nasty downturn like it did in 2008? Have you prepared for this?
I am, this is all about preparation and planning with your accountant and financial advisor. These people play a very important role in my life and the company’s financial health.
What other entrepreneur do you look up to most?
Cameron Mitchell is my big one here in Columbus, Joe from Hot Chicken Takeover is a big one for me too. Howard Schultz of Starbucks is who I look up to as far as global influences.
If you had to tell a visitor one thing to do/see/eat in Columbus, what would it be?
Go to the North Market!