"I went home to San Diego the summer after my freshman year of college to work at a coffee shop. While working there, I met my husband Michael. Six years later up in San Francisco, we started Andytown.
Coffee has a tendency to bring people together. You sit down and you start a conversation, and for us, we were working together, drinking coffee all day and talking a lot.
We fell in love over coffee.
We come from very different backgrounds. I'm a California girl and Michael's from Belfast, Ireland and grew up during the Troubles, so he's had all these crazy life experiences.
The Outer Sunset is very different from the rest of San Francisco and for the longest time, it was the city's forgotten neighborhood. I couldn't even get a taxi here! I always wondered why there was no one roasting specialty coffee here and my husband was craving the soda breads and scones from his childhood in Ireland. There was no one making traditional soda farls or wheaton bread out here and we figured if we loved it, other people would too.
I was working at Blue Bottle and Michael had a set of recipes from his granny, by way of his aunts in Belfast. We saw a need for this and we wanted to benefit our community, the Outer Sunset, which we love.
When our local coffee shop went out of business, we just kind of called the real estate agent on a whim and signed the lease, which was crazy.
We didn't have any money, or a business plan, or anything.
We just found a spot in the middle of the avenues where the rent was super cheap and we thought, 'OK, we did it. Worst case scenario we have a new storage unit.'
My friends at Blue Bottle gave us a great deal on a beautiful espresso machine. Michael built out the whole space with his friend while I was writing for four different publications and working as a barista, just working my ass off.
Even with all that, we almost didn't open. The power company wouldn't hook up our power and that set us back six months, so we ran totally out of money. We had nothing.
There was that moment of despair where it was just, 'Well, this is never going to happen.'
It was just crazy, but we got through it and everything's worked out. Three locations and forty employees later, it's been amazing."
Best Advice I've Received
"We didn't have any money, so we were debating whether or not to sign the lease on our first location and my friend Lana, who owns the restaurant Outerlands, just said,
'Take the leap and you'll figure everything out. No one knows what they're doing in life, even people with MBAs and everything else.
They're always going to face challenges they're not prepared for, and they'll just figure it out.'"
My Advice for Others
"Take the leap of faith. I think a lot of people have hang-ups, like, 'I have to have a certain amount of qualifications or capital to be an entrepreneur.' For me, it was always, 'When I do this, then we'll start our own business,' or, 'When I reach that milestone, that's when I'll start a business.' I was just trying to come up with these qualifications that are totally imaginary and that you don't need.
If you have a passion and you have an idea, don't wait. If you want to do it, just don't wait."
What I Love Most about San Francisco
“It was love at first sight for me. San Francisco is urban, it's got art, the beach and tons of parks. It's a really fantastic city."