Describe your business:
Bailiwicks Coffee Company is a retail coffee shop and specialty, small-batch roastery. Our shop strives to create a welcoming environment for everyone—it is a place for people to hold meetings, for people to study, play a game, meet up with old friends, or to make new ones. Bailiwicks serves high-end, specialty coffee drinks along with teas, smoothies and more. Each coffee is custom roasted in-house—you cannot find fresher coffee anywhere else! Over the past couple of years, Bailiwicks has expanded beyond just a single retail location and has begun to distribute roasted coffee throughout the region.
How did you get started?
Bailiwicks Coffee Company first opened its doors in March of 2012 after well over a year and a half of research and planning. The idea was to create a space in downtown Tiffin for people to meet and enjoy a cup of coffee. In the very early phases of developing a concept, I traveled throughout the state and region and learned about the variety of trends and expectations in the coffee industry. My family has always instilled the idea of creating and building something, and it was my dream to continue this strong tradition of entrepreneurialism.
What was the hardest thing you’ve encountered?
Obviously starting a business has many challenges. The biggest challenge is to change your own mindset and expectations; and sometimes, as a woman, it is incredibly difficult to find your own voice as an entrepreneur. The business world has changed dramatically, but we still have a long way to go. People to this day still come into my shop looking for the “man in charge”. Sometimes I have had to push my own ego aside in order to take care of the things that need to be done.
There isn’t much advice to give other than do your research and know your numbers, develop a strong business plan, find your voice and be true to yourself. Know that for every 100 people that couldn’t care less as to your gender—you’ll have one or two people who will have a problem with a woman in charge. Approach every situation, positive or negative, as an opportunity, and be prepared to walk into meetings knowing you have the biggest balls in the room!