Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kayla Lamberson, Founder of Homegrown Smoker, located in Portland, OR, USA.

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

Homegrown Smoker (HGS) is a restaurant that has been known as the world's first vegan BBQ joint! Our customers range from everyone from vegans to meat eaters.

Tell us about yourself

I have a tremendous passion for animals and the environment, and that is the constant motivation that fuels and inspires me. Prior to moving to OR, I studied Marine Biology in Hawaii, and it was during my studies that my true passions really elevated and surfaced when I decided to go plant-based. This is such a heavy topic, and hard for me not to write an entire novel on (haha) but being able to live and advocate my lifestyle with my passions through not only my personal life but through a business outlet gives me so much gratitude, and that is what motivates me day after day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

At first glance, looking at it from a "business" perspective, my greatest accomplishment is the recent completion of franchising my company. On a more personal level, though, my biggest accomplishment is knowing how much of a positive impact I have made and continue to make for animals and our planet with not only my personal choices but many different business choices over the years and knowing that it's not slowing down.

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

Uncertainty. There's no doubt that owning a business has many ups and downs. Rewind back to 5 years ago, and I can guarantee that none of us could have ever imagined the obstacles faced in the business world in relation to COVID, directly followed by inflation. Learning to adapt and re-evaluate systems when it's needed is crucial.

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

If you're looking to start, run, and grow a business.

  1. My very first tip is to definitely start a business that you're passionate about while also giving back. There's so much to say on that topic, but as I mentioned above, passion is the best motivation, and it will really reflect within your business. Giving back is a great way to strengthen the community and gives you that further depth of purpose; plus, it feels great to give back!
  2. The second tip is to always stay true to yourself and stay authentic. This also speaks on a lot of levels; it's important, no matter how much you grow (or don't grow)- that you always believe in yourself and always stay true to your values and again-yourself!
  3. The third tip is to take the time to draw out a business plan and really understand what you're getting yourself into financially, physically, and emotionally. This is your strategic tool! Passion is very crucial, but it's still important to take time to organize your thoughts and research what you need to not only start but continue to grow and succeed with your vision.

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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