small business

Carlos Paradinha—The Conservatory

carlos paradinha

From Ernest Hemingway to GERTURDE STEIN the great coffee houses of the world have served as intellectual incubators for some of the world's most beloved authors, artists and thinkers.

In modern times we've seen many of the Most sacred aspects of the Cafe be slowly stripped away. KPMG SPark client and co-owner of the Conservatory Carlos Paradinha is here to change All of that.

For those who aren’t familiar, could you describe The Conservatory Seattle…?

A cafe, a center of learning, an artist community. Inspired by the European coffee houses of the 1800’s. We aim to foster a place for artists to learn, share, create and enjoy an espresso.

The Conservatory merges espresso and the art world to allow the general public a peek into how figurative illustration and fine art is honed and developed.

Home to a diverse group of creatives with multi faceted talents and areas of expertise. As a family, our aim is to create an atmosphere for our patrons in ways that are different, imaginative, memorable and entertaining.

Where did the idea come from and what pushed you past the point of “idea” to turning it into a full-fledged coffee shop?

The idea came from one of the partners, Kieran Yanner, who loved the aesthetic of a simpler time where art was king, and those who created it were celebrated for their creations. Both Kieran and I are artists in our own way. Kieran is an established concept and fantasy fiction artist with many published works under his belt. I am a newcomer to the art scene as a photographer. We merged our talents along the way by creating photographic reference for his digital creations. So, at first, The Conservatory was simply an art and photography studio, artist’s salon, and a place to create commercial art pieces. Eventually, after some struggle with the city, and overcoming the lack of plumbing in the location that was over 113 years old, we were able to extend the creative vision into what we have progressed to now, and that’s a art space that also serves the “non artist” by way of locally sourced, delicious coffee beverages and pastries. 

The Conservatory Seattle definitely shares some heritage with the old Parisian cafés where artists, authors, and other intellectuals used to meet. Are there any specific shops that inspired you?... stories?... artists?

There are quite a few artists and shops that have been a bit of an inspiration to the way we set up The Conservatory. Tim Burton comes to mind, as well as Brom, Geiger, Steampunk aesthetics, our love of things antique, and our background in the fantasy fiction world.

the conservatory seattle

What is it about a coffee shop that makes it such an ideal place for creation? How do you try and make The Conservatory Seattle an inviting atmosphere for the arts?

The ritual. It’s definitely the ritual. We all know there’s a Japanese tea ritual - it’s well established and has been performed for centuries. The coffee ritual is less celebrated, but just as well known, established, and has been part of civilized life for those of us who ‘worship’ coffee for its bitter, black, magical properties. There’ definitely something to be said for the way people react to coffee. The cafe has been a great place to sit down, take a few moments to relax at the end (or sometimes as a break in the middle) of the day, and reflect. From those reflective moments, people have come to celebrate that time with others - friends, colleagues, or acquaintances - and from those meetings, great ideas have been launched. We have been polishing The Conservatory to be another gem in the Emerald City’s crown by creating an atmosphere that is not only inviting, but inspirational and cozy. When people are comfortable they feel free to create.

You’ve got a lot of interesting performers and artists—how do you find them? Are you an artist? 

Some are more “interesting” than others, I can assure you :D

As far as finding them, we have friends that are artists and they also have other friends, so our network is pretty broad and diverse. We also go through online forums like Model Mayhem and even Craigslist to find models for our life drawing sessions (Most of those are “open” sessions, which means that they are costumed. “Closed” sessions are nude session, and what is typically thought of when “life drawing” is mentioned). We also have a network of musical friends who also have a network of musical friends, who also know other varied performers, so we can almost literally swing a dead cat and hit an artist.

I don’t consider myself an artist, although I do have a BFA in photography. Quite a bit of my work is online, and all you’d have to do is Google my name to see it. I do have a website out there, as does my business partner, Kieran Yanner - his is much more impressive :)

seattle coffee shop

How has the local community responded to what you’re trying to do?

The local community is in awe -seriously, I have no other way to describe it. They come into the shop and usually look around like a kid finding a previously undiscovered cave, or room, or some other ‘wondrous’ thing. We’ve gotten quite a bit of new return business, and some of our regulars are now bringing friends, family and co-workers in to show them their discovery. As we bring in musicians and other entertainment, we’re just adding to the appeal.

Let’s talk about your coffee. What constitutes a perfect espresso in your opinion?

A perfect espresso?? Wow… What a loaded question!! That completely varies - but you asked *my* opinion, so, okay. In *my* opinion a perfect espresso is rich, smooth, with complex notes of chocolate and fruit. No bitter aftertaste, and a nice, clean finish. We recently went to a cupping in the SODO district of Seattle were we were introduced to a Costa Rican coffee that is part of the Silver Cup competition of coffees that smelled and tasted like blueberries!! We have some really great coffee that’s roasted locally. Very locally. One of the blends we use at the shop is roasted no more than five blocks away, and the other is within a half mile of the shop. To say ‘it’s fresh’ is an understatement. Fresh roasted beans are essential for a great espresso. Beans should be used within a week of roasting, or they go stale and lose flavor. Always check the roasted date when purchasing your own beans, or ask the barista when their beans were roasted - it makes a difference!

conservatory restaurant seattle

It seems like tea has been trending back up again. Do you agree? 

We’ve seen a few more people asking for a ‘tea menu’ from us since we’ve opened the cafe portion of the business. We had some teas available - the standard fare: English Breakfast, Earl Grey (for London Fogs), Peppermint, varied green teas… But now we are trying to ensure we have some locally blended teas for our customers. We’ve found an organic tea blender that is within four blocks of the shop - yes, again, VERY local. They pride themselves on quality and sustainability. That’s impressive, and it’s what we would like to support and promote. We currently have a few of their products, and will be adding more as we go on. 

I know you offer some loose leaf teas—what are some of your more popular offerings? What about Matcha and Yerba Mate (those definitely seem to be gaining more momentum.)

We are trending away from the loose leafs for convenience sake. As I mentioned earlier, we’ve found a local tea shop that blends its own teas and also packages them in convenient pouches. This saves us time, and also a little bit of money. They have loose leaf products as well, but those same products come in pre-packaged form, which is much more pleasing to the eye, less waste for us (since they are all pre-measured), saves time, and is more convenient. Our more popular offering has to be our London Smog. It’s the traditional London Fog with a shot or two of espresso. We also sell quite a bit of jasmine blossom. Very aromatic! We don’t sell Yerba Mate at our shop, but we do have a toasted Brazilian mate that is very, very good. It doesn’t taste as if someone mowed their lawn and brewed it in a tea for you. The Brazilian mate is aromatic, robust, and quite flavorful! We are the only shop in Seattle that serves it, and it makes one heck of an awesome latte...

How’d you come across KPMG Spark and what made you pull the trigger on our services?

I did an extensive search online for companies that would suit our needs, and KPMG Spark fit hand in glove. So far we have not been disappointed with our choice! Thank you for being so approachable and human!

 

Kelly Ryan—San Juan Huts

CEO of San Juan Huts Kelly Ryan and her father Joe

CEO of San Juan Huts Kelly Ryan and her father Joe

Located in Colorado, San Juan Huts is a trans-generational business that offers "hut-to-hut" backcountry tours in some of the most remote spots in along the Rocky Mountains. Their network of singletrack trails and routes is dotted with 16 isolated huts that makes for more enjoyable adventures. They also happen to be one of our favorite clients. 

Their site description reads, "We empower groups & individuals to travel lightweight, enjoy new landscapes and comfortably retreat to wild places. – An experience of a lifetime! If you are into the outdoors, you have got to get your arse to the San Juan Mountains!"

We had the fortune of interviewing Kelly about the business, her relationship with Bookly, and some of her favorite adventures. Here's what we found out:

How did you hear about Bookly?

I found it while looking online for Accountants that where compatible with Xero.

What made you pull the trigger on our services?

The friendly services, predictable monthly payments, and compatibility with Xero.

Have you noticed any differences in your business since using our service?

We have had an increase in business. I would say the most notable difference though is our ability to now use an online reservation system. We live in a small town and our local options were limited. Finding Bookly was an important step for us in modernizing our reservation and accounting system. This allows us to spend more time talking with our clients about our products and make sure they have a great experience with us and less time taking and entering reservations.

Hut to Hut Mountain Biking

What was the impetus behind the creation of “San Juan Huts”?

My father, Joe Ryan, wanted to create an A to B backcountry ski route in rugged mountains. It has grown to include two additional A to B mountain bike routes as well as a hiking route. We wanted to create a means for backcountry travelers to plan a once in a lifetime adventure and have the fulfillment of doing it all self guided.

In an earlier conversation you mentioned that the company was originally started by your dad Joe. What’s it like running a trans-generational business? Are there any added challenges or pressure?

It is unlike any job I have previously held. We definitely have more investment in the success of the company and the quality of our services. I think it has been a growing experience for my dad and I and our relationship continues to evolve. 

One of your strengths as a business is word of mouth marketing. What is it about your product that makes people want to share it with others and how do you encourage clients to talk about your services?

The trips are really unique and often it is one of if not the hardest thing our clients have ever done. Most find it hugely rewarding and memorable. It is also a great shared experience so I think that lends people to talk about it. In 2015 mile of remote riding, you are bound to create a few good stories. Honestly we don't do much to encourage clients to talk about it and it is an area I think we could work on. 

You’ve mentioned that one of the things that makes you stand out most as a brand is the independence your travelers have vs. those who choose guided travel adventures—What made you choose this strategy and what kind of response have you received from clients and those in the outdoor community?

My father and I both guided professionally for many years before starting or working in our business. I think when we compared the adventures we were guiding with those we were doing on our own time, there was an authenticity of the unknown that we wanted to be able to share with our clients. We wanted them to be able to discover for themselves, rely on themselves, and shape their own memories. 

san juan huts colorado

Has there ever been an trip you couldn’t make happen that you’d like to—“the one that got away”?

Hmmm.... I have had some great trips from solo horse trips in Argentina, to climbing trips via sea kayak in greenland, to most recently bike-packing across Nepal. Of course there are endless adventures to scheme up. As far as the hut trips go, I think our next trip might be a road bike option. 

San Juan Huts offers a lot of different adventures, do you have a personal favorite?

I would have to say the Durango to Moab mountain bike trip probably takes the cake. Although the ski huts provide so much terrain that I am still exploring they would be a very close second. 

Do you have any last words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

It is worth putting time in to get your systems down to make the paper pushing aspects of your business as efficient as possible. Otherwise as you grow, it will sap all your time. Some great advice I received and am constantly trying to live by is to take time to work on your business not just in your business. This is harder done than said, but I think it is sound advice.  

 

Brady Anderson—Sales Rabbit

sales rabbit

Sales Rabbit is a software platform for face to face sales companies. They are located at the bottom of the Wasatch Mountains in Provo, UT.

Last week we sat down with Brady Anderson, Co-Founder of Sales Rabbit and one of our most innovative clients. We got to know what makes them tick, how they’ve integrated with Bookly, and their keys to startup success.

Why Did you start the company?

I’ve always been fascinated with business. In essence I wanted to combine my passion for technology with my sales background. It’s been a lot of fun.

What was the process like?

It was the classic "friends in a garage" type story. I was talking with a buddy from the BYU engineering department when we decided to start a company. From there it was just a matter of combining my business skill set with his programming acumen. It started as a consulting business but as we began to discover opportunities, it evolved into what it is today.

Were there any obstacles you had to overcome?

When I started the company, I was in school full-time and engaged to be married. As if that wasn’t hard enough, I had to find a way to support myself while growing the company.

What made you choose Bookly?

As a startup without an in-house financial team—we needed to find a professional accounting service that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. Remember, we started as a bootstrapped company, we didn’t have funds to throw at traditional accountants who charge hourly fees.

Favorite milestone?

Reaching 6,000 active users on the platform, and facilitating 20 million leads.

Any words of wisdom for other small business owners?

Don’t try and do more than you’re able to. Focus on key items, then nail them down and move on. If you try and be the best at everything, you’ll just be mediocre at everything. Time is a limited resource. Focus time on your areas of expertise, and trust your team to pull their weight.