Shopify recently featured an article, "Life Lessons from 9 Inspiring Entrepreneurs Over 50". Our very own, very talented, and above and beyond amazing Vice President, Renee Brown, was highlighted as one of those inspiring entrepreneurs. I am not just saying all that to get brownie points. I truly admire and appreciate Renee.
Renee Brown, Vice President, Weaver's Coffee & Tea
Renee, along with her husband and partners, run a hot beverage empire based in San Rafael, California. Weaver’s Coffee & Tea, founded under Wild Card Roasters in 2007 (in the middle of the financial crisis), now sells teas and hand-roasted, organic, fair trade coffee to customers across the world. They also operate two busy Bay Area cafés.
Renee stepped in to run operations in 2015, and has juggled sales, marketing, PR, social media, product development, and business development since the company’s inception.
Her wonderfully diverse resume combined over the years to give her the skills she needed to run a successful business:
“I Double Majored in Economics and Political Science, with a Concentration in French, which gave me a great foundation for entrepreneurship. I was supposed to go to law school but I backed out at the last minute and went to sea. I crewed on private yachts for three years. It was the slowest most expensive way to see the world. Travel opened my eyes to different cultures and ultimately gave me ideas about starting my own business.”
For Renee, running a business now in her fifties is an advantage at times:
“Age allows you to be able to say to people in the nicest way, ‘No, that is not going to work for me.’”
But she finds she’s also fighting against stereotypes:
“There are certain preconceived notions individuals have when they see a fifty year old woman working. They assume I am a Barista or a Bookkeeper. We are in the coffee roasting and tea blending business, with a solid ecommerce business, hundreds of wholesale accounts, and two very busy retail cafes in the Bay Area. There is still a preconceived notion that a man runs the company, and they never expect it to be me.”
What wisdom does she have to share with aspiring entrepreneurs at any age?
“Do something you love, have passion and commitment, but most importantly persistence. Hire slow and fire fast. Business is about people, and sales and marketing. If you have the right people and excellent sales and marketing then you will be successful.”
Learn from the other 8 entrepreneurs here: Life Lessons from 9 Inspiring Entrepreneurs Over 50