Frother’s Daughter has quickly become a sensation among Florida State students, with a line stretching down the street whenever they’re parked somewhere new. This week I got the chance to chat with Rosalyn Wilsey, the creator of the unique mobile coffee shop, and find out how she created the amazing business.
Her Campus (HC): What inspired you to open up Frother’s Daughter?
Rosalyn Wilsey (RW): To me, coffee is so much more than just a drink but rather a symbol that represents family, comfort, passion, love, community and an overall feeling of the warm and fuzzies. When I was laid off from my first corporate job at the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, it took me applying to over 200 jobs and an afternoon chat with my dad to figure out what I wanted to do with my life moving forward. I sat in his office one afternoon in defeat, just preaching about how I cannot wait to be thirty, financially stable and able to have a coffee shop of my own one day. Knowing finances would play a lot into opening up a store, along with the current state of the world due to COVID-19, he was beyond excited to find this guy online that had a coffee trailer. He informed me that the start-up costs of a coffee trailer were within my budget and since restaurants are also not allowing seated guests, this would be the perfect option to accommodate customers. Seven months later, I was open in business with The Frother’s Daughter.
HC: Is there an inspiration behind the name?
RW: Since the main concept of the mobile trailer was inspired by my dad, I thought it would be important to pay an ode to him in some way or another. Not to mention, he helped me build out the inside of the trailer and lived with me in Tallahassee for five months to do so. Since frothing milk is a popular technique in the world of coffee and “Frother” also happened to sound a lot like father, I thought the name would be perfect. The best part? My dad, ironically, hates coffee. On the menu, you will even see a drink named after him, “The Frother,” which is a Diet Mountain Dew on the rocks— his preferred method of caffeine.
HC: What were your biggest challenges when getting started?
RW: Quite frankly, everything. Once I got the idea, I created a timeline that forced me to learn a lot in very little time. I had never run a business before, and running one alone, you end up learning how to wear all the hats. Acquiring the name was the easiest. But I also had to acquire all of the different permits, where to find a trailer, how to build out a trailer, my living situation, find a coffee wholesale provider, how to keep everything within my budget, and the list goes on. I also had to keep in mind that it was a “trust the process” scenario and that I just had to keep going if I truly wanted to make this vision come to life.
HC: What does the future of Frother’s Daughter look like to you?
RW: This is the one that I am still trying to figure out. We have explored many options, such as opening another trailer, acquiring a storefront, franchising, etc. We have not landed on any decisions quite yet so definitely get used to seeing the trailer around for a while!
HC: How do you manage a work-life balance?
RW: Unfortunately, as an entrepreneur, work-life balance is something that you have to work toward and is not achieved immediately. When you start a business, it needs a lot of attention, and you will have to sacrifice a lot of your time figuring out how to keep it going for the first year or two. I do make sure to take a few days off every now and then to spend time with loved ones. I also make sure to sometimes socialize even after a long work day. Work-life balance is definitely one of the trickier things about being an entrepreneur.
HC: What are some tips you would give young women hoping to open up a successful business?
RW: Open and pursue a business that you’re truly and infinitely passionate about. You will spend so much of your time during the first couple of years of business on the business, so it is important that you are doing something that you truly believe in. Surround yourself with love and support, whether it be from family, friends, other entrepreneurs or all of the above. Ask questions and follow other businesses that may have a similar industry as you. This can help you develop your vision and see what a live business in your industry looks like. Make sure you also budget before diving into the business officially. Create an excel and try to come up with a number that will be the total cost of your business – then increase that number by 10% so you can anticipate going over budget and be able to save up the correct amount of money as well as cushion money. Most importantly, once you have made up your mind that you want to start a business, just keep going. It’s going to be hard, but it’ll be worth it.
HC: What are you most excited about at work right now?
RW: October! Bi-Annually, we do a drink challenge for our specialty menu for a whole month. If a customer can finish all of the specials on the monthly menu, they will receive a t-shirt. Typically, these challenges happen in October and February. I take Halloween very seriously and love everything about the holiday! We have a “Frother’s Spooky Sips” drink challenge that takes place in October and is themed with all the Halloween goodness! We release the t-shirt design for this challenge on Sep. 15, and I could not be more excited to share our October creations!