Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Natalie Ma, co-founder and CEO of Hangover Coffee LLC., located in San Francisco, CA, USA.

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

Hangover Coffee is a women-owned specialty coffee brand that makes Portable Pour Over Pouches that ‘hang over’ any mug, providing fresh brews with no equipment needed. Hangover Coffee is made for busy coffee-loving urbanites, from working professionals needing a quick cup between meetings to fueling a weekend outdoor adventure! As coffee nerds, we are committed to sourcing only high-quality, single-origin, specialty coffee to provide customers a convenient but elevated brewing experience.

Tell us about yourself

We got the idea to start Hangover Coffee when we both took trips to visit family in Hong Kong and Taiwan and saw these coffee pouches everywhere. We loved them so much that when we flew back home to San Francisco, we each packed a suitcase full of them because we’ve never seen them in the States. And that was our lightbulb moment. We knew we wanted to bring this simple but clever way to brew coffee to everyone here!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We are still a very young brand, and we still have a ways ahead of us, but building a brand from the ground up as first-time founders has been our biggest accomplishment. We’ve had many things to celebrate in just a year - from ideation to a real business, from a passion project to a full-time venture, from selling 2000 pouches in the first week of launch to being invited to be a part of Adobe’s Small Business initiative - and we look forward to more celebrations to come!

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

There’s a never-ending list of things we need to take care of as business owners, and we find more areas we want to grow in every day. While it's exciting to constantly find ways to improve, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of ideas. One of the biggest challenges as a business owner is knowing what is most important to focus on at that moment and knowing when to hit pause on a project, even if it IS a good idea.

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

  1. Make sure your goals and intentions are clear.
  2. There will be many setbacks and challenges along the way - fail fast and learn fast!
  3. Two heads are better than one! In this digital era, it’s easy to sit behind the screens and work away, but conversations always spark new thoughts and ideas.

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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