023: Chris Nolte (Co-Founder, Per’La Coffee)

Chris Nolte on Innovation City

“Entrepreneurship has been a little glamorized… there’s a lot of grit and inconvenience in it. You’re delaying pleasure and tolerating pain. I think people need to understand that.” —Chris Nolte

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is evolving in the modern world.

Innovation City gives you a behind-the-scenes look into the next generation of world-changing organizations. As business and culture continue to change at an extraordinary pace—thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, greater connectivity, and heightened creativity—you can stay ahead of the curve, find out what’s coming next, and who’s going to bring it to market.

On today’s episode, Tyler and Michael are at the eMerge Americas conference, recording at the University of Miami booth. Their guest today is Chris Nolte of Per’La Coffee. Chris is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Per’La Specialty Roasters, which just celebrated its 2nd anniversary and currently serves over 40 wholesalers. Chris’s background in business development, branding, and marketing made him a perfect fit when his friend Paul was looking for a partner on a new specialty coffee venture. Paul sent Chris a text to see if he was interested (on Chris’s birthday, no less!), Chris said yes, and Per’La Specialty Roasters was off and running. Find Per’La on Instagram @DrinkPerLa.

They discuss:

  • Per’La’s delicious coldbrew coffee
  • How Chris got into specialty coffee
  • Chris’ business partner and college classmate, Paul Massard
  • Paul’s background in coffee farming, roasting and
  • Paul’s coffee sommelier status; he is a Q Grader, only about 300 people have this certification in the U.S.
  • Self-funding
  • Jumping into entrepreneurship feet-first
  • Actively marketing the brand
  • The joys and sacrifices of entrepreneurship
  • Refining branding in the specialty coffee space
  • Building a great customer experience
  • SBA’s funding process
  • Having the freedom to make decisions quickly
  • The Sales Problem; how to get in the door
  • 69% of successful entrepreneurs worked for a corporate entity for at least 10 years
  • Offering concierge-level service; employee training, branding, café layout, coffee blending
  • Big companies’ investments in their sale teams
  • The best way to approach the sales process
  • Bringing all the equipment to client meetings to make sure they show their coffee at its best
  • Working with clients to help them sell more products