A SELF-PROCLAIMED “ACCIDENTAL ENTREPRENEUR,” VICTORIA LYNDEN, FOUNDER OF KOHANA COFFEE, TRANSFORMED A FUN SIDE PROJECT INTO A COMPANY VALUED AT $100 MILLION. HERE, SHE SHARES HER SECRET TO SUCCESS.
“DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOUR EYES ARE TELLING YOU. ALL THEY SHOW IS LIMITATION.”
Almost all great businesses begin with solving a problem—you want something; it doesn’t exist, so you create it.
That something for Victoria Lynden was great-tasting coffee. “I was running a restaurant and wine bar in Austin, Texas, but what I really wanted to offer my customers was great coffee,” she says. “This was more than 10 years ago before coffee was in its prime.”
While on a serendipitous trip to Hawaii, Lynden stumbled into a little coffee shack on a rainy afternoon. “The coffee there was like an elixir to my soul,” says Lynden, who worked with the shop owner to bring the slowroasted concoction back to Austin, where it quickly developed a cult following. Her first big break came when Whole Foods started selling the product. So how did she make the leap from a small idea to big business? Her life motto can be summed up in a quote from writer Richard Bach: “Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation.” In other words, don’t feel stymied just by what seems realistic.
To envision your maximum potential, you have to think big and bold, Lynden says: “Then, work backwards from that dream. My vision was that Kohana would be second only to Starbucks, and that we’d own this new category of cold-brewed coffee.” And that’s exactly what she’s done with her multi-million dollar enterprise that’s expanded nationwide.
But Lynden is quick to add that it wasn’t easy. “Everyone wants to be an overnight success, but in many cases it takes five to eight years just to break even. I’m living proof that persistence pays off. And as you’re reaching the peak—and this is really what takes mastery—you have to remember to keep pushing for your next big goal.”
We’ll drink to that.
Jihan Thompson is a writer and editor in New York City. Connect with her on Instagram: @jnthomps1.