We sat down with one of our recent Ice House Graduates, to ask about his experience as a new business owner...
Located in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver, Rebel Bread is a startup bakery with a unique spin on traditional pastries. Owner, Zach Martinucci, challenges the relationship people have with their food. What does this mean exactly? Rebel Bread brings artisanal bread and thoughtful conversations into the community, one loaf or class at a time.
Zach, with Co-Founder Rene Hosman, opened the doors of Rebel Bread in October of 2018. With a storefront and wholesale operations, this non-traditional bakery thinks outside the box when it comes to their culinary style, serving items like family-style bagels for sharing, and pastries made from baguette dough. Zach’s journey began during Colorado Lending Source’s Ice House Entrepreneur Development Training. This course gave him the confidence needed to take his first steps as an entrepreneur.
Q: “What inspired you to start Rebel Bread?”
A: “Growing up in San Francisco, I started working for my cousin’s bakery and began to understand the process of making bread. With my love for community, story telling, and baking, I wanted to find a way to combine all of those elements. Rebel Bread seemed to be the perfect medium for making that happen.”
Q: “How did Ice House help you identify Rebel Bread’s business concept?”
A: “Ice House was most significant to help shift my mindset for becoming an entrepreneur. It gave me the tools to evaluate life as a business owner and allowed me to play around with different business concepts. After going through that process, when the opportunity to rent a storefront presented itself I knew it made perfect sense for my business model.”
Q: “What other iterations of Rebel Bread did you test before opening the storefront?”
A: “During the market research assignment of Ice House, I hosted pop-up bread shops where I would ask customers about their favorite places to dine. I then reached out to those suggestions inquiring if I could host my next pop-up there. That process allowed me to make new connections, understand customer needs, and ultimately led to the introduction of our current store’s landlord. I was competing with ten other applicants, but he wanted someone who could maintain the integrity of the community and believed that Rebel Bread was the best fit.”
Q: “Did you experience any roadblocks during your journey of opening Rebel Bread?”
A: “Yes, all the time. I can’t pinpoint one example in particular, but any challenge we faced ultimately led us to new opportunities and positioned us in a better situation. Viewing obstacles as opportunities really helped Rebel Bread push through.”
Q: “What has been your biggest success so far?”
A: “Aside from opening the storefront, finding a team who wanted to be part of Rebel Bread was serendipitous. I didn’t know what it would be like to hire employees, but they reached out to me wanting to be involved and had a genuine interest in Rebel Bread’s success. I now have two employees and one volunteer!”
Q: “How did you find the capital needed to open Rebel Bread?”
A: “I didn’t want to ask my friends and family for money, however this was the best opportunity for bootstrapping the business. They helped me with a line of credit that allowed me to purchase equipment and our initial ingredients.”
Q: “How does Rebel Bread support the community?”
A: “We bring people together by hosting different classes to teach intentional home baking. There’s something for everyone from full day intensive courses covering each step of bread making, to more simplistic classes giving people a taste of the process.”
Q: “What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?”
A: “Take the first step and start something, because you don’t know what’s out there until you get out there. Opportunities won’t come your way if you’re sitting at home thinking about your dreams. Go out and do it!”