I am so excited to bring you this interview with Biz Foxworth, a new mom and the owner of Brown Fox Coffee Co. Since opening for business in 2015 as a mobile coffee truck, Brown Fox now operates a brick and mortar cafe in Mt. Pleasant. Biz and her staff have built a loyal following of customers, many of whom have become close friends (full disclosure: myself included).
Biz opens up in the interview about how her dream of motherhood through adoption became a reality, through much support of the Brown Fox community. She also shares her advice for managing her time between being a mom and a business owner.
Good things happen over good coffee.
Brown Fox’s motto is, “Good things happen over good coffee.” These words ring true for many of us, who often look forward to coffee (or tea) dates with friends to re-connect and find emotional support amid the demanding days being a mom. Good coffee not only gives you that boost of energy to keep up with the little ones running around, but for many of us there is something just so comforting about a mug of coffee in the morning or mid-afternoon that makes our days brighter. But “good things” to the team behind Brown Fox goes even deeper than that. Biz has created a culture of community and giving through her business that sets an example for us all.
Meeting Biz in person will no doubt also leave you feeling a bit brighter, coffee or no coffee. She is friendly, sweet, and genuine. Her journey to becoming a successful business owner, and later a mother, is simply inspiring.
Now, let’s get to the interview!
Charleston Moms Blog (CMB): Tell me a little bit about your background and your current family life.
Biz: I grew up in Mt. Pleasant and our family moved to James Island when I was in high school. I graduated in 2007 from College of Charleston with my degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. My husband Shawn and I got married in 2012, and we now live on James Island with our six-month-old baby boy Jack and our two dogs.
CMB: How did you get started in the coffee business?
Biz: It’s a long story! I have always been entrepreneurial minded, but I had plans of returning to school to pursue a nursing degree. Shawn and I moved with his job during the first year and half of our marriage and lived right outside of Bluffton, SC. We weren’t going to be there for very long, so I put nursing on hold and got a job at a coffee shop for fun. I loved the entire business, but mostly meeting and serving people. When we moved back to Charleston, I got a job as a tech at MUSC on the pediatric hematology/oncology unit to gain experience before starting nursing school. But after having worked at the coffee shop in Bluffton, I couldn’t get the idea of owning a coffee shop of my own out of my mind. I came up with the idea of a mobile coffee shop, like a food truck that specializes in great coffee. From there, it only took just a few months before we opened Brown Fox Coffee Co. as a mobile coffee business. Our first location, off Coleman Blvd. in Mt. Pleasant, is what would become our future brick and mortar cafe.
CMB: What do you love most about selling coffee?
Biz: The people, our customers. Coffee is such a normal, even essential, part of people’s day and I feel like we get to be a small positive in their lives on a daily basis. Engaging with people and their daily lives is by far the best part of my job. People just love the whole experience and we love providing it.
CMB: What has been the biggest unexpected outcome of having your own business?
Biz: Well, a few things. First, the friendships that have developed with our customers. Many of which have become some of my closest friends over the last four years. I didn’t expect that.
Also, our son’s adoption happening simultaneously with the growth of the business has been the biggest surprise. In my original vision cast, the idea was for Brown Fox to be a business I was passionate about, as well as a staple in the community where people knew one another. But even more so, I dreamt of the business being something that would be able to support my husband and me growing our family through adoption. I am honestly shocked it actually happened that way. I am shocked at the success of the business, but also at the community we built, which allowed us to pursue adoption both financially and time-wise. The dream and vision for Brown Fox and our adoption actually came into fruition! I’m not sure I expected it to happen the way it did, even though that was my idea from the beginning.
When we were able to start selling Brown Fox mugs to raise additional adoption funding, I would estimate 85% of our customers purchased those mugs. And some customers even made additional contributions to support us. This was an unbelievable outcome to me that I would credit to the relationships we have built on a personal level over our four years of business.
CMB: How have things changed with your role in the business since welcoming your little boy home 6 months ago?
Biz: Luckily we have developed an incredible team who had been there as we were going through the process of adopting. They were prepared once Jack came along and I was able to take a two month maternity leave. I am now in the cafe part-time, but the team really has allowed me to be a full-time mom. They cover everything from day-to-day operations, social media, and correspondence, which allows me to focus on the books.
CMB: Do you have any tips or things that have worked well for you to manage your time between running a small business and being a mom?
Biz: It’s a constant balancing act. I know that sounds so cliche, but it’s true. I have started waking up two hours earlier in the morning, so I can get a few tasks done and get my mind focused on the day ahead. I have also started writing out a schedule for each separate day, so I can better see the blocks of time I will be able to get certain things done. Time management has been so important.
CMB: Brown Fox supports several community initiatives. Tell me about those and why you enjoy engaging with the community in this way.
Biz: The most recent community initiative we did was a toy collection for Wright Walk Foundation, which is led by a Brown Fox neighbor in the Old Village. They handed out 400 toys to the kids in our immediate community. We have also been a collection location for the Period Project. And we support our former employee Alicia and her husband Todd who work for a Christian ministry in Costa Rica.
I feel like God has blessed our business through no merit of our own. Starting out, I knew I wanted a portion of our business to be used for giving back for the good of others. And I wanted our business to not just be about us. We try to do this is many ways both by sharing our resources, our space on Simmons St., and our time.
CMB: There are so many coffee shops around town. From your perspective, what makes Brown Fox unique?
Biz: Our location being a walk-up style cafe allows us to move coffee quickly and get people on their way. Our patio is perfect for outdoor gathering and meetings. Ultimately the community and loyalty that we’ve built over the last four years are what is really unique. The personal relationships we have formed are special and can be hard to come by in business.
Visit Brown Fox Coffee Co. at 307 Simmons St., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
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