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Does it seem like you’d have to give up everything to build your business? Are you scared people will look at you like your crazy if you uprooted your life for your dream? Despite the sacrifices, is your drive still there?
Today’s guest Jill Minton was that woman a few years ago as she and her husband built t. Loft, a gluten-free café, and she know those fears and questions all too well. She and her husband really had to grind it out to get t.Loft off the ground, but they believed in their dream, and stopped at nothing to make it a reality!
Her story begins in 2010, when she worked for KPMG as an IT consultant. She loved her job, but when she had kids it became hard to dedicate her life to such a constant work schedule. Her heath started to degrade, and she said she felt so depleted that during a family zoo trip, she had to keep putting her head on her child’s shoulder just to snatch a few seconds of rest. As her health continued to deteriorate, so did her sister’s, her daughter’s, and her dad’s. Her 5-year old daughter began waking up in the middle of the night because of headaches and stomach aches, and her sister began getting mouth sores and stomach cramps, and her dad had struggled with health problems his whole life. She said they all started to realize that something may be seriously wrong, and her sister’s doctor suggested that they get tested for Celiac disease, which is an immune reaction to eating gluten. They all tested positive, and they learned that it could’ve been triggered by trauma to the immune system, or stressful situations.
Now that they finally had answers, they started to change the way they were eating, and juicing became a huge part of their lives. They were so inflamed before, and juicing was the only way their bodies could get nutrients, and digest them easily. She said she became very passionate about eating right, healing, and wanted to make juicing and clean eating a part of her career. She decided to create a place that offered truly healthy food, but was fast and convenient, and wanted to create an environment that people wanted to hang out in, like a friend’s house.
Before she completely jumped the corporate America ship, she tested out her concept at a farmer’s market on the weekends. She said she refers to that summer of 2012 as the summer from hell, because she would fly in on Friday, stay up all night prepping, and get to the market at 5am, and be there for 12 hours Saturday and Sunday. On the bright side, her and her husband were able to talk to interested people, get some feedback, and develop a following.
By the end of the summer, they had enough of a clientele to start looking at physical spaces, but faced some push back from developers. A lot of development companies didn’t look at her concept as a serious business, and didn’t want to take the risk of her idea failing, and her not being able to pay the rent. They finally found a space in a half empty strip center, with a rickety building next door, and were determined to make it work. Everything needed to be gutted and renovated, so to expand their budget, they sold their big house in the suburbs and moved to a tiny house in the city, and sold both of their cars to get a cheaper one to share. Jill had to leave her job as an IT consultant to run the store, but her husband kept his job; and after traveling 45 minutes to work and back, he would come to the shop to help with renovations until 2 or 3am. After 60 days of construction, the store was complete, and they were able to do it 50% under budget!
They opened their first location April of 2013, and just opened their 5th store last week! Since their official opening she said it’s been a rough and crazy ride, but the community has been amazingly supportive, and they’ve been fortunate to feed the Kansas City Royals during home games!
Listen in and learn more about their grind to bring t.Loft to life!
In this episode you will…
- See what to sacrifice to make your business a reality
- Gain the courage to build your business
- Know how to deal with a perishable product if you’re in the food business
- Figure out your inventory flow
- Decide whether to keep your business private or turn it into a franchise
- Start to pay attention to the things that inspire you
- Learn to be patient with your process
“I can’t tell you how many times I called my sister crying [asking] if I’m doing the right thing… [But] I had gotten to the point where I told [my husband] I would rather live in a box than to not try…You’re never going to get another chance here on earth, why not try?” -Jill Minton
“If you want to do what most people don’t do, your life is going to different. You’re going to look weird. You are. You aren’t doing what society is doing, most people don’t get this opportunity, or they don’t take it…As crazy as it is, and as hard as it is, at least you tried!” -Jill Minton
“Pay attention to those things that inspire you. I get inspired when I go to another city, and go through other concepts, I get inspired by looking at beautiful designs online…all of those things inspire me. I think when I go back to that place I get re-inspired and reinvigorated, and just remembering that I got to take time to refuel, because if you’re always giving…you do just end up depleted…and you can’t be creative if you’re completely spent.” -Jill Minton
t. Loft Website
Jill Minton LinkedIn
t. Loft Facebook
t. Loft Instagram
t. Loft Twitter
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