Kayla Bellman and Jean Arnold serve coffee and their community
Running a business

Kayla Bellman and Jean Arnold serve coffee and their community

In honor of Pride Month, QuickBooks is spotlighting the LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who play a vital role in creating an inclusive and vibrant small business community.  

Name: Kayla Bellman and Jean Arnold

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Pronouns: She/Her

Business: FiNCA to FiLTER

What does your business do?

We are a specialty coffee business and shop, we serve specialty coffee drinks and curate inclusive community events. We partner with and showcase top in their class LGBTQ+ and BIPOC roasters from the southeast.

Why did you decide to start your own business?

Kayla spent significant time studying and working in Guatemala on a coffee farm, or “finca” as they’re known in Spanish. She became enamored with the specialty coffee industry and its potential in providing for and changing the way those in the industry make a living and contribute to ethical, sustainable farming up and down the sector. Kayla carried that love into her studies at Emory Laney’s MDP program. From there, she started small: hosting pop-ups in partnerships with a local roaster using whole beans. Then she started serving drip coffee. And now, FiNCA to FiLTER has a full-service specialty coffee menu with multiple locations and mobile options.

What was the most surprising thing about becoming a business owner? 

How fun it can be! We’ve built a team of talented, humble folks ready to work hard and create unforgettable moments for guests. 

What is an aspect of running a business that you needed to learn more about when you started? 

It is incredibly empowering to have good, professional help with money. 

How does running your own business make you feel? 

Um, imposter syndrome? Just kidding, it’s tantalizing and addictive–we have the autonomy and the power to do AWESOME things in the industry and in our community.

What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome or are working to overcome as a business owner? 

Time management. We love what we “do” and we also enjoy doing a million other things. We're working on it, but it’s a good problem to have.

What are your proudest moments? 

One that comes to mind is the first event we hosted as Georgia crept out of pandemic lockdown. It was open air, masked, etc… also sold out, energetic, and so damn JOYFUL. Another proud moment was when we were able to promote our first team member—creating pipelines for folks to do the things they love is awesome.

What are the next big plans you have for your business? 

We’re opening our coffee bar and partnership inside of CreateATL in Adair Park in the next few weeks. We’re over the moon excited for this and bursting at the seams to share what we have in store after that.

What are three things that you feel have contributed to your success as a business owner?

Fearlessness, perseverance, and patience. We’re trying to be loud and intentional, and joyfully purposeful. No decisions are made lightly, so factoring in the big picture is vital! 

What challenges do you feel are unique to small business owners in the LGBTQIA+ community? Have you come up against any bias? 

People, customers, neighbors, landlords… most people expect us to be small, contained, and almost perfect. We’re GAY WOMEN and we feel those pressures. Lines are tight, spending is meticulous, and our development practices are thought about, then thought about again.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs in the community? 

When you’re steadfast and educated in your project or passion, others will see it.  

When you’re having a tough day, who or what inspires you to keep going? 

We have a stellar community of supportive people, a lot of queer folks don’t. We can make a difference and do big things, it’s often exhausting but it’s an opportunity we can’t pass up.

What’s your “power song?” 

“Break My Soul” by Beyonce is doing it for me!

To learn more about FiNCA to FiLTER and support the business, visit their website or them out on Instagram.

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