5 Questions with - Cup of Jose
I was never much of a coffee drinker until moving to Miami and discovering awesomeness in liquid form—the cortadito! After giving birth to Henry, I feel the need for coffee to get me through those sleepless nights and early morning wake-ups. I am enjoying all of the great local coffee companies popping up—including Cup of Jose, created by Jose Romero, who infuses their cold brew creations with flavors such as orange, mint, and local cacao. I look forward to seeing them every weekend at the farmer’s market, and am excited to have finally learned more about what made Jose start his own business, read on below!
1. When did you make the big decision to start your own business? What inspired you? What scared you?
I made my decision around Thanksgiving of 2016. I started the Articles of Organization and set up the LLC just after Christmas, and started doing farmer’s markets on January 14th, 2017.
What inspired me was a trip I made to San Francisco to see my best friend on Labor Day Weekend, 2016. As soon as I land, he tells me that I need to try this Mint Mojito Iced Coffee from a place called Philz. I was a bit skeptical at first, but then ended up trying it a day later and couldn't get enough. I was so enamored by the coffee that I tried looking for it in Miami. No one served it, so I decided to try to make it myself because I wasn't going to wait until the next time I was in the Bay Area. After a couple of trials, I felt I got a good coffee down, and started giving it to friends. They seemed to really like it, so I just started messing around with a couple of other flavors. Once my best friend came back for Thanksgiving, I gave him some and the resulting conversation led me to the decision of giving this business a shot. A funny thing, then, was that I wasn't making cold brew at the time. It wasn't until about a week later when my best friend said to look into it that I actually made a cold brew with mint. Then I saw the potential to serve it in a really unique way and infuse all sorts of flavors.
What scared me was definitely the unknown. I had no experience running a business or even having that much responsibility, really. I almost felt I wasn't worthy of doing it for whatever reason (a challenge I still try to manage). I didn't know how people would react to the product in general. Just the general idea of starting a business and being responsible for every facet was pretty scary at first.
2. What has surprised you most about this process?
I think the general support other local business owners provide. The ones I've interacted with seem to be genuinely excited when they meet someone doing something unique in the community and trying to lift it up. I hope to be in a position one day where I can give local business owners and entrepreneurs advice on their journey.
3. What do you wish you’d known before starting your business? Any advice for future small business entrepreneurs?
I wish I’d known what permits to get and what my vision was sooner then I realized those things. Bureaucracy is always tough to deal with because it seems like there are so many hoops to jump through. Understanding what it is that you need from the city to operate takes a lot of stress off of you as a business owner. As far as the vision, I suppose it's easy for me to say now because I feel that I finally have it. If I knew my vision earlier, I would have allocated my resources a bit differently. However,maybe I needed to have the experiences I ended up having to come to the conclusion I had for my vision of the company. Time will tell, I only just started working on the vision a few days ago!
4. Where do you go in Miami when you’re looking for inspiration?
It's hard to pick one place because there are so many beautiful locations in Miami to draw creativity from. The Wolfsonian in South Beach is a pretty great place with a lot of inspiring pieces of art and history. Much of my inspiration is also drawn from driving around random parts of Miami, when I am in my own head and just enjoying the silence in my car while cruising through the city.
5. What local group or business do you look up to?
The Salty Donut. They started off as a pop-up and moved to a brick and mortar quickly because they have such a great product and marketed it really well. They also give back, as evidenced from their recent Style Saves and Autism Awareness campaigns. I got the opportunity to speak with Andy Rodriguez, one of the co-founders, and he offered a lot of great advice. Lemon City Tea is another example of a great local business. Gail was kind enough to meet with me as well to learn more about my company and provide some feedback. Both are very smart and driven people and I am really lucky to have gotten the opportunity to get some business insight from them.