Brewing Dreams into Success: Black by Demand Specialty Coffee & Catering

Written by Itzel Martinez Garcia

November 29, 2023

Tiera Aighewi, the visionary behind Black by Demand Specialty Coffee & Catering LLC, has transformed the coffee experience, turning it into a mobile sensation that caters to various events. From corporate conferences to weddings, Black by Demand brings a full-service café experience wherever it goes. Additionally, commuters and the community can indulge in high-quality specialty coffee and light bites at their grab-and-go cafe kiosk in the South Norwalk Metro North station.

 “Our motto is to reenergize the vibes and create lasting memories at events by bringing the cafe to you, wherever you are. We offer full service cafe shop catering services including food add-ons, essentially a cafe on wheels! We specialize in corporate conferences, weddings, and various types of events. We also have opened a grab and go cafe kiosk in the South Norwalk Metro North station in Norwalk, CT, where commuters and the community can experience high quality specialty coffee and light bites in a speedy, welcoming, and convenient setting,” says Tiera Aighewi.

From Barista to Entrepreneur

Tiera’s journey began almost a decade ago as a barista. Climbing the ranks to consulting, she found herself setting up coffee stations across state lines. The desire for something more fueled her ambition, and after contemplating the idea for a while, she took the plunge into entrepreneurship. Despite the challenges, the decision to go all-in on her passion paid off in less than two years.

“I’ve been in the coffee industry for almost 10 years. I started as a barista and worked my way up to consulting. Eventually, I was being sent out of state to open coffee stations for other companies. It got to a point where I was thinking: What’s next? I felt like I couldn’t expand my business or focus on growing my brand. I thought: You know what? I’m just going to take the risk. I’m going to do this full-time,” says Tiera Aighewi.

Financial Boost: HEDCO’s Support

To turn her dream into reality, Tiera sought financial assistance, and HEDCO became a crucial partner. A direct business loan from HEDCO provided the necessary capital with a low-interest rate, making her startup costs manageable. The funds were allocated for redesigning the space, purchasing essential equipment, and covering fixed and variable costs like rental security deposits and inventory purchases.

“I received a direct business loan. This has been immensely helpful as the interest rate is quite low and my monthly payments are very reasonable. Essentially almost all of my startup costs including but not limited to redesigning the space, purchasing necessary equipment such as my 3 group head espresso machine, and working capital for fixed and variable costs such as a rental security deposit and coffee/inventory purchases,” says Tiera Aighewi.

Overcoming Hurdles: Navigating the Startup Process

The startup process presented its own set of challenges for Tiera. Capital and funding were significant hurdles, and the lack of knowledge in areas like bookkeeping and general business practices posed additional obstacles. HEDCO’s support not only provided financial aid but also guidance in navigating these complexities, enabling Tiera to focus on building her business.

Words of Wisdom: Putting Yourself Out There

Reflecting on her journey, Tiera encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to put themselves out there. Despite uncertainties and the fear of the unknown, seeking assistance and being open to support is crucial. As a woman of color in the business world, she emphasizes the importance of breaking free from the tendency to do everything alone and embracing the help that’s available.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t know what you don’t know. So, just put yourself out there.

 For the most part, people do want to help you. You may feel like it’s just my little silly business or I’m just new. Often, especially as women of color, we shrink ourselves or feel like we have to do everything ourselves and no one is going to help us. But if you put yourself out there and you’re passionate and you’re open and you’re grateful for the assistance, doors and windows open,” says Tiera Aighewi. 

Gratitude and Growth: HEDCO as a Catalyst

For Tiera, HEDCO played a pivotal role in making her dream a reality. After developing a solid business plan and researching the cafe kiosk concept, HEDCO’s support was instrumental in Black by Demand’s growth. Tiera encourages anyone serious about business growth to reach out to HEDCO, highlighting the impact they had in turning her entrepreneurial dreams into a thriving reality.

Sipping Success, One Cup at a Time

Black by Demand Specialty Coffee & Catering LLC stands as a testament to Tiera Aighewi’s perseverance, HEDCO’s support, and the power of turning passion into a successful business venture. With a mobile cafe that re-energizes events and a grab-and-go kiosk that serves the community, Black by Demand continues to brew success in Norwalk, CT, and beyond. For a firsthand taste of their exceptional offerings, be sure to visit their grab-and-go kiosk at the South Norwalk Metro North Station in Norwalk, CT

HEDCO Inc. is dedicated to fueling the growth of small businesses in Connecticut. If you’re seeking guidance and resources to nurture or expand your venture, reach out to us today. HEDCO’s loans and grants offer the capital you need to start or grow your business. Contact us today to learn more and get started on your path to success.