Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nicole Markarian, President of Queen Bean Coffee Company, located in Seekonk, MA, USA.

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

The Queen Bean Coffee Company is the exclusive online retailer for Mills Coffee Roasting Co., founded in 1860. Mills Coffee is one of the nation's oldest family-run roasters and is presently run by 4th generation Mills', Susan and David. I am Susan's daughter, and I founded Queen Bean Coffee Company in 2017. I joined forces with Cindy, a fellow coffee-loving friend, and together, we are on a mission to not only share the Mills family beans but to expand and enhance the way consumers experience coffee. We ship Queen Bean Coffee worldwide, and our customers range from first-time coffee drinkers to coffee aficionados and roasters to senior citizens who just want a great cup.

Tell us about yourself

As a fifth-generation family member, I grew up working in the roastery -- helping pack coffee, answering the phone, and preparing gift baskets during the holidays. I actually started selling coffee baskets in high school and loved it. After working in corporate for a few years, I started selling coffee to my grad school friends and colleagues and realized I loved everything about coffee. A few years after that, I started Queen Bean Coffee Company. It has been great! I still get excited with each new order and love sharing our coffee, products, and history with our customers. In terms of motivation, it is the full package that motivates. I love sharing my family's work/art, I love helping customers find their perfect coffee, I love learning about coffee, and I love creating new coffee products.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment so far is definitely convincing my mother that people will buy coffee online! After that, it is creating meaningful connections with our customers.

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

The hardest thing is recognizing and accepting that you cannot do everything and that you have to be 'off work' at least some of the time.

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

  1. Be brave in your ideas.
  2. Remember that criticism is just poorly phrased constructive feedback.
  3. Operate with integrity, and remember that your employees and customers are just as important to your business as your products.

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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