Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michelle and Justin Kester, owners of Two Daughters’ Coffee, located in Lake Mills, IA, USA.

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

Two Daughters' Coffee is a small-batch coffee roaster located in Lake Mills, IA. Here at Two Daughters' Coffee, we strive to give our customers the freshest coffee around to enjoy and crave their cup of coffee every day.

Tell us about yourself

It was very random, actually. Justin sent me a text while he was on break at work and asked if we wanted to roast our own coffee. I didn't respond right away because I just assumed it was just one of his silly ideas. Well, I finally responded and said ok. We do like our coffee, so why not, right?

We roasted our first batch and failed! Then we tried again but failed! After many trials and errors, we finally got the perfect roast. It was fun learning all about the different beans and how to use the equipment. Once we got the hang of it, we had a few of our friends test out some of the beans we roasted. They were sold! Then, of course, Justin got another crazy idea and asked if we wanted to start up a roasting business. Again, why not? We had to upgrade our roaster and turn our second-stall garage into our roasting room, and we were ready to roast!

It's been a lot of fun getting to know our customers and the support from our community and surrounding areas! Hearing our customer's positive feedback about how much they love our coffee really makes us feel good and gives us the motivation to keep going.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our biggest accomplishment so far, I would say having our coffee in some local coffee shops and businesses! The Daily Grind, located in Clear Lake, IA, and Java 18 that's located in Garner, IA, was the first two shops that tried our coffee in their shop! It's been a hit since!

Another local in the Garner area is The Olde Creamery in Garner, which is an ice cream shop that now serves our coffee along with their other shop in Mason City, IA. They have a great family, and their ice cream is delicious!

Then there's Fertile Beans in Fertile, IA. It's the cutest little coffee shop! We also have our coffee for sale at the Third Street Market located in Garner, IA. Joyce brings in many different kinds of vendors, and you can always find something either for yourself or as a gift. Always changing, which makes it fun to stop in.

Another place we have our coffee is Three Oaks Greenhouse Floral & Gifts, located in Lake Mills, IA. They have an awesome gift shop, and their greenhouse is probably one of the best out there. I don't have a green thumb, but they take really good care of their greens!

Brit Food Center, located in Brit, IA, is a local grocery store that also carries our coffee! And last but not least, Sister's At Heart Boutique, located in Buffalo Center, IA, that just recently opened up, has our coffee for sale as well!

I hope I did not forget anyone! We have the best relationships with the businesses that we are partnered with, and the support has been incredible.

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

There will always be ups and downs when owning a business. Knock on wood, but so far, we haven't had too bad of an experience or anything that we couldn't figure out yet.

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

  1. Do your research.
  2. Ask yourself why you want to start your own business. How and what will you gain from this?
  3. You will have a lot of slow weeks/months but don't give up. If you're doing something just to make money, then you're going to have fun. Do something that makes you happy as well. Just keep working at it and be you.

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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