Liz Fuentes, Lizzy Latte

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  • “I am addicted to coffee and I was not happy with the coffee options available in this area. I thought it could be better. I also wanted to invest my savings in a way that would be wise and fun at the same time. My decision to open a coffee shop was probably based 70% on market research and 30% on intuition. Coffee is a billion dollar industry in the Philippines and everyone loves coffee. Even those with little money find a way to buy coffee; it’s almost something you can’t live without. So I thought ‘why not get into that?’ And this way I can finally get coffee that I am happy with.”
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  • “People come to us because we offer them something different and we put a lot of care into each cup of coffee. Our best sellers are the Blueberry Latte, which is a latte with real pureed blueberry inside, and the Green Tea Grandeur, which is a green tea latte with an extra shot of espresso. It’s not your usual latte and many people try it here for the first time. Some coffee shops focus on the aroma to attract customers. You go in and it smells really nice but sometimes they compromise on flavor. We focus on the taste. I want Filipinos to experience great quality coffee.”
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“My steepest learning curve has been dealing with suppliers. Making sure that they deliver what they have promised, on time, and that the quality is consistent over time. You have to pay attention to every small detail and closely monitor everything so it’s quite stressful at the beginning. Once you know whom to trust and what works, it gets easier. As I scale, I might also be able to get better prices. Coffee shops are a bit expensive to start because of the minimum orders that some suppliers require. The minimum order for cups was 10,000 pieces.”
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  • “My biggest challenge has been the location. This place became available and I thought it would be a good spot but it turns out that the market here is more B and C while my products are perceived as premium. There is a limit to how much I can grow in this area so now my priority is to move to a better location. I am looking at all options – inside and outside malls – and I am being very careful about studying each potential location, what is their the foot traffic, what type of customer they attract, what are the parking options, everything.”                            
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  “If you are going to run you own business, there is no way out of working your tail off. You are going to work through the flu, when you are upset, with no sleep and no rest. Make sure you are ready for it because you are marrying your business. So if you are a person that doesn’t like stress or just wants to take it easy, then business is not for you. It’s really difficult and it takes a lot of guts and a lot of strength but if you really want something, you can make it happen. And when you do, it’s so incredibly rewarding. It’s worth all the pain.”

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