Rachel Pace, CEO of Penny Brew Coffee shop puts a shot of happy into every pot of coffee she brews. This successful entrepreneur spends her weekends creating a quaint and cozy atmosphere for D.C. residents, while serving up the most exotic and colorful coffee blends—and she is loving every minute of it! I had a blast talking to Rachel about her journey so far as a female business owner, and about life. Check out a bit of our conversation below:
Susan: How did you come up with the concept of Penny Brew?
Rachel: Wow! So, when I purchased my first home in D.C. about 3 or 4 years ago, I wanted to find a way to make a meaningful contribution to my community—you know, a way to build it up and maybe bring people together. I thought to myself, “nothing brings people of different races, cultures, and backgrounds together like a cup of coffee.” So, I merged my love for coffee with my love for community, and that’s how Penny Brew was born. I’ve been running with it ever since!
Susan: What made you decide to follow your dream?
Rachel: When I have an idea I typically follow through, but more importantly when the Holy Spirit places something on my heart, it’s like shame on me if I don’t do it. And the support system was amazing! There were so many people invested in me, who donated their time, and believed in me.
Susan: Do you still have a 9-5 job?
Rachel: I sure do!
Susan: How do you balance your job and building your dream?
Rachel: Well, fortunately, my job is flexible in the sense that I know what my monthly goals are. As long as I’m meeting my deadlines, I am able to invest a good amount of time into building Penny Brew. Found a way to use my resources to work through difficulties, I’ve used them in the corporate setting so I would hope it would translate to my personal business.
Susan: You’ve been in the entrepreneurial game for a while now. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced (if any) as a female entrepreneur?
Rachel: I’ve been blessed in the sense that so far, I haven’t experienced any discrimination for being a woman. My two biggest challenges right now have more to do with finding funding, and choosing vendors who will fit into the vision that I have for my growing community of coffee lovers. Funding is challenging, because I want to go the non-traditional route to raise money. Trying to find grants and using crowd funding is ideal, but it comes with its own set of challenges. Finding the right vendors is also challenging, because I want to work with people who will help me tell my story. I want my coffee to tell a story.
Susan: It’s interesting that you want your coffee to tell a story. If you had the chance to grow a coffee bean that told your story, what would it look like?
Rachel: Let’s see…My coffee bean would have been grown in Africa, then imported to the states. It would be roasted lightly, allowing its unique characteristics to be exposed. When brewed, it would have a lighter hue. Its flavor would be slightly citrus, so that anyone who drinks it would see light, and receive it.
Susan: I absolutely love that! How do you see yourself being a light to someone else?
Rachel: Well, I think it would be cool to mentor another woman who is interested in entrepreneurship. I would love to help someone in that way.
Susan: Has owning your own business influenced the way you date, or maybe the things you look for in a potential partner? How do you balance business and dating?
Rachel: Owning my own business has really helped me to understand what real partnership is all about. Now, when I’m on the dating scene, I know that I want a guy who can give constructive criticism, good feedback, and is supportive. In my opinion, having a partner like that will only make my business stronger. As far as finding balance, I’m open to dating, but I’m not going out of my way to do it. So, my dating connections are usually made at networking events, and things like that.
Susan: How often is your pop-up open?
Rachel: Right now, Penny Brew is open on any given Sunday of the month between 10 am-3pm.
Looking for a cozy place to grab a cup of coffee on a Sunday afternoon? You’re always welcome to stop by Penny Brew!
Here’s how you can keep up with Penny Brew
Facebook: Penny Brew LLC