Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mark Guerino, Owner of 2nd Ground, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

2nd Ground is an upcycling coffee business. We take coffee and espresso grounds from local coffee shops after they've been brewed and use them to make exfoliating soap. Every product is handmade in Brooklyn with sustainable packaging, practices, and ingredients.

Our customers range from the beauty conscious to coffee lovers to the sustainability-minded. We combine and cross the three worlds into one upcycled product.

Tell us about yourself

I have always been a fan of recycling and being environmentally conscious. One day I was looking up ways to recycle coffee, and I came across an article about how coffee was being used in skincare. I thought to myself, "why not use the old grounds?" With a little experimentation, one month later, I filed for my LLC.

My motivation is to spread the idea of upcycling. Our current single-use economy is nowhere close to sustainable. We need more companies with environmental ethics and less waste, especially plastics.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I'm currently starting my biggest accomplishment. I'm about to start international distribution, which is amazing because I'll be the flagship brand in other countries as well as the U.S.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The roller coaster is real. There are good days and bad days. Keeping the motivation going before the company is profitable is incredibly mentally draining. There are days when you question why you even started, and you want to just abandon it. But all it takes is one bit of good news to get the snowball rolling.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't stop. As long as you keep going, it's going to work. It may, actually, it will DEFINITELY take longer than you want for your business to succeed. But as long as you keep at it, success will come.
  2. Stay humble. When I got my first "big" vendor, I celebrated the victory by spending more money than I actually made off the deal. The bottom line should always be to keep the company around and to run. This is going to take a lot of sacrifices. But when the momentum starts to build, the sacrifice is no longer an issue.
  3. Educate yourself and network. Keep learning. There's no way for us to know everything, so don't shy away from educating yourself. With technology, we know you can educate yourself deeply in almost any subject for free. Network constantly because once you find a like-minded person who is a member of your like-minded community, the results can be amazing.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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