Every day, people use Square tools to help start, run, and grow their business — here’s one of their stories.
Allison DeVane is the founder and owner of Teaspressa. She launched her coffee-inspired tea company from a bicycle-mounted tea cart in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2015. Within her first year of business, Allison opened her first brick-and-mortar location, appeared on Shark Tank, and was selected as a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow.
Today, she owns three brick-and-mortar locations in Arizona and Michigan, and sells products wholesale, through licensing, and online. “I didn’t want to throw my eggs in one basket — I always have a contingency plan,” she says.
Here’s how she spends the day, managing four different businesses across the country, as told to Square editor Alise Bailey.
8:00 a.m.: First thing in the morning, I check my phone. I want to make sure that there’s nothing urgent, or something that I missed overnight. I’ll check Dashboard, to see who is in the store, look at the sales numbers from yesterday. Dashboard is my best friend — I’ll check it throughout the day, to see what’s selling, what’s working. I’ll also usually do a bit of social media and respond to comments on Instagram.
8:30 a.m.: If I have time, I’ll pop by the store, grab myself a drink, and say hi, but by 9:00, I have phone calls set up. Mostly those are new business, interviews, or just follow-up with current customers.
When I first started out, I would wake up at 7:00 a.m. and dress up like I was going to work, head into the living room, and start calling people — brands I wanted to work with, publications — anything to get the word out. Today, those calls are still an important part of my morning ritual.
I prefer calls instead of going back and forth over email (you can always get a better understanding of what your customer is looking for).
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11:00 a.m.: After calls, I’ll touch base with my managers. I’ll also check in with my contractor — we’re in the midst of building a fourth location in downtown Phoenix — to make sure everything is going smoothly.
I’ll go through finances before lunchtime. I use QuickBooks, but I keep my own spreadsheet for weekly cash flow.
To this day, I don’t have any outside investors. Loans have definitely helped with this in a pinch, for inventory and cash flow management. I’ve also learned to always plan for the worst. When times are good, prepare for the bad times coming. The [Tory Burch] Foundation taught me that I should secure outside capital to be prepared for the future.
12:00 noon: Around lunch time, I’m posting on Instagram, then I’m thinking about what comes next, and problem solving. For the rest of the afternoon, I’ll work on creative work, like product and food development. Then I’ll hop on a call and bounce ideas off of my business consultant.
4:00 p.m.: In the evenings, my brain isn’t able to do detail-oriented work, so I’ll have in-person meetings. When I have a free moment, I’ll check sales on Dashboard, tally everything up, see how everything is going. I’ll check in on social once again.
7:00 p.m.: Lately, I’m really trying not to work at home — but if I do, usually I’ll have something mindless on, like The Bachelor. I’ll work on smaller projects, like fixing things online, editing photography. Usually I’m in bed by midnight, then it starts over again the next day. It takes a little bit of luck and a lot of hustle.
You can find Teaspressa in Arizona and Michigan, at a local retailer near you, or online.
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