Iowa’s West Coast Initiative Feature
- Short description of your business:
Lovechatas LLC is a beverage company that specializes in traditionally flavored waters (Aguas frescas).
- What motivated you to start your own business? What drives you each day?
I was motivated to start my business when I realized I was about to build a product that was not on the market. I had a good idea, and I knew this was my chance to use my creativity and past work experiences to turn it into a reality.
Here are a couple of things that drive me each day:
- I want to provide a better future for my son.
- I have no other option. I’m 100% all-in and really want to see how big I can make Lovechatas.
- What’s unique about your business?
My business uniqueness is in its potential to go nationwide and compete against the big beverage brands. Lovechatas will be introducing new products to the market that will have people talking and creating viral social posts. I was lucky to get a little glimpse of what is considered good branding. I’m excited to see Lovechatas go viral one state at a time.
- What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as you’ve grown your business?
I’ve had to learn to be patient because everything takes time when creating a business. It took me six months to make the recipe, two months to build my brand, another six months to figure out my processes in the kitchen and keep up with demand. I’m currently entering the second month out of the six months in the product development plan. After the product development plan, I’ll have to figure out my distribution plan and learn to make that work. That’s easily another six months of just learning what works and what doesn’t.
- What has been your greatest reward?
My greatest reward is seeing my horchata idea grow into a brand that people love and support.
- How have you benefited from the startup community in Sioux City and the region? What resources did you use?
Sioux City is lucky to have a non-profit organization like Iowa’s West Coast Initiative (IWCI). This group in particular hosts awesome networking events and workshops that caters towards new startups and local business owners. Every first Friday of the month IWCI hosts a networking event called “First Friday”. It’s an event where local entrepreneurs get together and listen to a business testimonial from someone local. You’ll usually catch me at those events. I’ve taken advantage of two resources that benefited me. I was a recent finalist for “The Big Idea” competition that was sponsored by Northwest Iowa Development and hosted by IWCI. The funds I got from this competition are going towards my product development plan to help increase my shelf life on my horchatas. My business was also chosen by The University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center Business Consultant Program for free business consulting. This program was a semester long and the students I was assigned with couldn’t have been any better. We have been working together these past ten weeks to better understand the markets, competition, and so on. The knowledge I have gained from this program will help guide the distribution plan.
- Are there any experiences that were particularly influential in that regard?
After using these resources and attending networking events, I realized I’m not alone on this crazy rollercoaster ride. It’s awesome to meet others that are chasing the same dream and riding the same ride.
- Why is it important for the community to support startups and small businesses? What more can be done to help them?
It’s important for Siouxland to support local and startups because the community has the power to create brand awareness. Their support not only benefits the businesses but also helps support families and helps create jobs for our local economy.
- What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when starting your business?
I wish I would have known how lonely and stressful the journey can be. Lonely because you’ll be going through problems that most people don’t care about or are even able to comprehend. It’s also stressful because you start wearing a lot of hats in business, and having to tend to so many responsibilities.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business?
1. Make sure you always have a plan. Start with a 30/60/90 day plan.
2. Celebrate your wins but most importantly celebrate your losses, too, because losses are learning experiences.
3. You will need to be willing to adapt to changes both good and bad.
4. Network. I’ve created some awesome relationships here locally and have some awesome ideas in the works.
5. Be patient.
6. Start building an in-house digital media team. The world is only going further into the digital world. It’s best to get someone on the team that knows basic video editing and Photoshop.
- How can the community continue to help your business?
Continuous support in all aspects of my business; all from advice, buying my product, and interacting on social media.
- What are some future goals for your company?
I have a lot of goals in mind for the company. Right now, I only want to focus on two as we are going into a new year, and they are:
1. Start giving back to the community. I grew up in foster care, so I really want to help and give back to foster families.
2. Get Lovechatas ready to distribute. I am going to have a lot of new learning curves so that is going to require a lot of my attention.