61: After a Starbucks Rejection, This Entrepreneur Raised $2.5 Million to Start a Mobile Cafe

Jun 29, 2016
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I recently came across a story about Maria De La Croix who was treated unfairly at a job interview purely based on her appearance. What she did next is nothing short of inspirational. I don’t want to spoil anything about this fantastic story so I’d like to get her right on the show.

I read that you were turned down by Starbucks because you had blue hair. You used that negative experience to create your own 100 percent organic café which is completely solar powered and on wheels called Wheelys Café. You now have locations in 60 countries. Can you tell my listeners a little about that journey from the beginning?

I was turned down but I still wanted to do something. I came up with this idea of selling coffee on the street from a friend who had been doing it. We started selling it on a bike, added a brand and tested how we could be effective during the day to move from one location to another. At the end, I was glad I didn’t get a job at Starbucks because we made a lot of money from that bike.

We put the café bike out on Indigogo and people bought our bikes from several countries.

Maria De La Croix, CEO of Wheelys

Maria De La Croix, CEO of Wheelys

Was it that negative experience when you went for that job interview that spurred you on?

At that point, I had to do something and if I had gotten a job at Starbucks then maybe I wouldn’t have done this.

What I also love about what you created is it has lowered the threshold for young people to start their own café. Can you explain to the listeners how you did this and was that one of your motivations as well?

Yes. I had quite a few projects in my life and I know it’s hard when you don’t have any money and want to do something. Also, everything about starting your own business can be complicated. You’re alone first of all which is quite hard. You need money to start, you need branding and everything. So yes it was very important to us to make it easier for people to start their own business.

For anyone listening who might be interested in running a Wheely’s Café what would they need to get started?

They can email me right now and book a Skype meeting with me. And basically they should just do it I would say. You only have one life so do what you want to do. If they would like to start a Wheely’s they would need to pay around $5,000 U.S dollars to get the full equipped bike and everything needed to start a business. But of course, there are other things to take into consideration like where you will be operating the café and who you will be doing it with (I recommend doing it with someone, but you can do it alone). If you’re bored with the job you have now you should do something about it.

I love the fact that you have shattered the myth that has held people back for so many years and proven you can start a business with minimal funds and materials and sell high-quality goods at the same time. You don’t have to be limited by corporate constraints. Was this another one of your intentions from the beginning?

I think there is no point in selling things that are not good. Selling high-quality goods is fundamental for the business, that’s just how it needs to be done. You want to sell good things. You want to sell organic goods to people. You want to sell things you can stand for. And yes I’m bored of big corporations earning a lot of money so that was part of why we started it and part of why we are doing this.

What’s next for yourself and Wheely’s Café?

Yes. We have quite a full schedule of things we will be releasing. Since we have no released it yet I can’t tell you that much about it. We have a fun project coming out soon and we will have some fun new additional things to add to Wheely’s that we will launch in autumn.

What’s the best way to contact you?

They can email info@wheelyscafe.com or reach out to us on Facebook (also Wheelys Café) or contact us on Twitter. If you need a really quick response email us. If you go to our website at www.wheelyscafe.com you will find all the contact information.

Check Out Neil’s Posts At The Huffington Post – Here 

Please also see check out the Huffington Post related article from my column: After a Starbucks Rejection, This Entrepreneur Raised $2.5 Million to Start a Mobile Cafe

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