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How a Woman-Focused Coffee Brand is Breaking the Mold

Buffy Maguire is the founder of the new Lady Falcon Coffee Club, a women-focused coffee brand with a mobile coffee bar in a vintage 1948 truck and line of craft-roasted beans. She’s also the owner of Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen and the two Java Beaches in the Outer Sunset.

But Lady Falcon Coffee Club takes it one step deeper—in addition to serving up a seriously great cup of ‘jo, LFCC employees female baristas, roasters, and buyers, and is working to elevate women in the coffee industry. They're still getting started, but Buffy and the team have been hitting coffee conventions, collaborating on all-female coffee panels, and will be the ones out in the field going on sourcing trips.

Image Courtesy of Simone Anne for Lady Falcon Coffee Club.

Learn more about how Buffy is sharing her years of coffee know-how with other women interested in the business—and bringing them up alongside her—to build this new female-centric coffee brand:

What was your “aha moment” with your business? How did you know this was something you should devote yourself to?

In retrospect, I have a series of aha moments, but in the moment, I was not aware of all its magnitude. I do know that I was probably always destined to be an entrepreneur. By the time I was 11 years old, I had already started two homespun businesses: a kid’s newspaper where I ran an advice column and had local merchants buy ad space and a Girl Friday company where I would come in and help—gardening, filing, organizing. People actually hired me.  

For a long time, I thought of my first café as a hobby of mine and I always had another job and I had some amazing, fantastic jobs teaching, writing, filmmaking and investigating. None of them satisfied me and I grew restless—but I never grew tired of the richness of café culture.

I also know that when I started roasting coffee, I did not tire of it. I did not get to the stage where it was boring or I lost my curiosity. I think that my love of travel and different ways of looking at the world gave me an appreciation for the endless knowledge to be experienced in coffee.

Image Courtesy of Simone Anne for Lady Falcon Coffee Club.

What is the hardest part of running a company?

I find that face to face communication is the most fruitful means to get things done and to really connect, but I find that when I do that effectively, I don’t have as much time to follow up with my emails. Can I say that keeping up with my email is the hardest part of my job?!

What’s your method for work-life balance?

My method towards finding a balance between work and life is always a work in progress. Sometimes, I succeed by my own standards and sometimes I disappoint myself. It is a tug of war. But, I find that really looking at my calendar and carving out time in blocks helps and understanding that there are different seasons for “work” and seasons for “life.”

For instance, when I was getting ready to launch Lady Falcon Coffee Club, I called a family meeting. My sons (10 years old and 7 years old) thought I was pretty ridiculous since this is not our norm. But, I explained to them that it had been awhile since I launched a new project and they were very young when I did so they may not remember that it is all consuming in the beginning. I asked them to pick two days and two activities each so that we could spend some good time together before this launch. Looking at time holistically and seeing the bigger picture helps me prioritize and sometimes making time in blocks instead of hours gives me the ability to really be present.

Image Courtesy of Simone Anne for Lady Falcon Coffee Club.

Besides running your business, what’s another way that you #BreakTheMold and stray away from the conventional?

As the first born child of hippies in San Francisco, being conventional isn’t even part of my consciousness. But, most importantly, looking at life as a creative process is the most literal way that I stray away from convention. I am hungry to experience a range of people and places and to collaborate. In particular, I find I am drawn to unconventional people and I want to know their stories and what makes up their perspective. I want to see what moves them and what they are working on.

Ocean Beach is a lot like a Steinbeck story with its wild characters and freethinkers. I am drawn towards people who look at the world differently because I learn so much about what I take as a given. And in my creative process, I want to question it all. I think this is where the creative in me thrives and being part of an eclectic urban beach culture delivers over and over again with incredible people. I tend to find the people who are doing creative, innovative things and I love to work on projects with them.

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I have been working on a piece of fiction set in Sunset District, Ocean Beach. But, perhaps this isn’t surprising?

What piece of advice do you have for women just starting out in their career?

Speed date careers. Don’t be afraid to quit a job that isn’t a good match for you on the inside even if the outside fits correctly. I did this often. It actually drove my grandmother crazy because she was from an era where you were lucky to get a job and especially lucky to be a woman getting a great job. I had many great, coveted jobs, but they didn’t fit me.

Be honest with yourself. Be open to different paths towards success as well as different definitions of success. The world can quickly become very prescriptive and before you know it, you are in a box. That’s fine if that’s what you want, but if you are craving something different, something still unknown, I encourage to see it through and approach it creatively.

Image Courtesy of Simone Anne for Lady Falcon Coffee Club.

What quotation or saying inspires and motivates you to be yourself and #BreakTheMold?

"It is a waste time hating a mirror or its reflection without stopping the hand that makes glass with distortions." —Audre Lorde.

Toward the end of my junior year of undergrad at Smith College in western Massachusetts, I was craving a break from school, a break from the East Coast, and a break from the path I was on. I could feel the full trajectory of where my life was headed and it wasn’t going where I wanted but I felt helpless to its pull. I was stuck.

In the midst of this ambivalence, I day tripped into Boston and went to Museum of Fine Arts. I love museums and art and sometimes museums can be like churches for me. That day at the MFA, I stumbled into this amazing Degas exhibit paired with this Audre Lorde quote everywhere. I was walking through the museum feeling that I was being spoken to directly. The message I heard is: Don’t waste time waiting for everyone else’s approval, seek your own inner approval. I wrote this quotation down there and then and I put it up on my wall in my dorm room while finished the semester and made a new plan.

I changed course and because of that, my life is very different. I took time off of school against everyone’s advice and in my first weeks back in San Francisco from my extended break from college, I met the man that would become my husband and Java Beach entered my life and infused it with all of its color and character. I am so, so grateful I took that time off and this quote inspired me and still inspires me to check-in with myself if my course is not feeling authentic to me. It also inspired me to go back to Smith and graduate, but with a renewed sense of purpose and self and on my own terms. It’s much better that way.

What’s next for your company?

So much excitement on the horizon for Lady Falcon! In time for holidays, we are designing additional colorful packaging to complement our signature pink bags and we are looking forward to building our maker shop (aka coffee roastery) at the beach. I look forward to sharing our Lady Falcon Coffee Club process.

Extra Credit

What is the most-used app on your phone, and why?

Instagram. Thank God for Instagram as it is the perfect vehicle to share the dreamy Lady Falcon story.   

What’s the first thing you do every morning?

I make myself a ceremonial pour-over coffee of whichever coffee I am profiling or most excited about. I was actually interviewed about perfecting the pour over for Sunset magazine!

What book could you reread over and over?

Steinbeck’s East of Eden—it reveals something new to me over and over again and I am always in awe that I missed it the first several reads; in particular, I love his creative treatment of Salinas Valley as a character in the novel and it reminds me and inspires me to look the Ocean Beach as my muse.

What is your go-to bra style?

Black Lace Balconette Bra.

Finish the sentence: I #BreakTheMold by: being a creative entrepreneur.

This post is part of our #BreakTheMold series, where we celebrate the lives and work of trailblazing women. Check out the rest of the series here.

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