What was your relationship to coffee growing up?
I would say that when I was little, there was zero relationship with coffee. Like most kids, I didn’t really have a relationship to coffee.
The relationship was always with the cafe—that’s still the reality.
And that's what keeps me here.
Growing up, I would go to the cafe with my mom. At Rancho [Cucamonga], we’d go to open really early and I would have a pillow behind me at a table and I’d watch cartoons.
The shop is where I learned how to play checkers and shuffle cards. I would hang out with customers; Klatch was my home away from home. It was my daycare, it was kind of everything growing up.
You stepped away and came back. How did you decide to go into the family business?
Most people know this about my story, but part of why I left was because I was so young. Right before my parents opened Klatch, my mom was a stay-at-home mom, and I was homeschooled for pre-k and kindergarten. So I went from being at home with my mom and some of my friends and enjoying crafts to my parents opening the business, and suddenly everything became about work.
I had to go to work with my mom, so Klatch became my daycare. And then when I was in school, because my parents were busy, I would go to daycare. It was just a really big shock going from parents being around all of the time to—they’re building this business, and they’re working.
So I resented the business for a really long time, because of just how much it took up time in our family. And I was little. Now, I totally understand and respect it and how hard they worked. But obviously when I was little, I just wanted to hang out with my parents.
Growing up, I thought, I don’t want anything to do with this––I mean I grew up in it and worked, but I always wanted to do my own thing. And I also think that was a tribute to seeing what they did and what they built. It made me want to do something similar, like build my own business.
So I moved to San Diego for college [to get a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management], and funny enough ended up working in a coffee shop.
And then, life brought me back. When I came back to Klatch, I did five jobs. I worked in our office for a little while. I was kind of working among the stores, and ended up doing random things. And I realized, ok, I’m going to be here for a little while, let me get back into it. So I took over the San Dimas store, decided to manage that. I actually took over for my mom, she was managing that store at that point.
And once I was actually a part of the store and managing it, I think I just realized that I missed that environment. I missed that environment where you know people. I just thoroughly enjoyed it. And so it made me realize, ok I really love what this business provides. I love that cafe environment, and I think this is what I want to do.
Interviewer: So it was stepping away from the business that kind of made you realize that it felt like home?
Holly: Yeah, and it wasn’t just home. It was, I love this business. And nothing about being in the family business was convenient. Because as you can imagine, it is extremely difficult to work with family–specifically our family–so it was never, this is just an easy thing to do. I mean, I think there are aspects of it that were at certain points.
But deciding to actually be involved was because I loved Klatch. I never even loved coffee, it was Klatch that I loved.
Maybe a boring question, feel free to take a more creative approach, but, what does your day-to-day look like as the Director of Retail?
Well, if you have seen any of Heather’s and my TikToks…it literally is that random, and that boring, and that exciting, all at the same time.
Some days are really boring and it’s just at a computer, looking at schedules, talking to managers, having meetings, looking at numbers, trying to forecast.
Some of it is super exciting, like when we get to create new items for venues, and some of it is fixing, like literally snaking a drain—so there’s less glamorous parts.
Honestly, that’s part of what I love about the job. Every day is totally different. It can be exhausting, because some days you have a ton of things to do, and there’s always something more important that can take up your time.
But I think my favorite part is when I’m working at a store and I get to actually sit down with a customer or one of the team members and actually have a Klatch. Unfortunately, that’s fewer and farther in between, but when it happens, it’s really special.
What do you enjoy most about working in the coffee industry?
What I love is that most of the people who work in the coffee industry do it because they enjoy being around people. You have to love the product, that’s kind of a given of being in the coffee industry. But some people really love the science of coffee, and that’s less of what it is for me, for me it’s the people side [of the industry].
And you see a lot of like-minded people in the coffee industry, so it’s just really good people that you get to hang out with and converse with. And that’s what I Iike about the industry, it’s really diverse—coffee is what brings people together, it can bring together so many people. And you see that in a cafe, but you also see that in the coffee industry, and that’s something that I really enjoy about it.
Do you have any advice for fellow women entrepreneurs who are going into the coffee industry?
I mean it’s not necessarily women, it can be anybody, because I’m constantly interviewing people who just want a job in a cafe, or want to be in coffee. But I think a lot of people underestimate just how much hard work it is. So my advice would be: you have to know going into it that it is going to be hard work, and you have to be willing to put in the work.
When things are good, enjoy it; when things are hard, push through. It’s always worth it in the end because of what we get to do.
So persevere, keep going, you got it—it’ll get better, and then it’ll be bad again, and then it’ll get better again. Just get ready for the rollercoaster, hold on tight.
What’s your favorite Summer Seasonal drink?
Cooling Coconut Lime is what I’ve been drinking the most. It kind of depends on what kind of mood I’m in, but I've been ordering that one a lot.
What’s your go-to drink, on and off the clock? Or does it always change, depending on your mood and the day?
It’s always changing, I do have some regular go-tos. Typically every morning I start with black coffee. Always changing between varietals, I don’t necessarily have a favorite one but I just always bring home a different bag of coffee.
And then in the afternoon, I’ll either do a cold brew or a traditional cappuccino, definitely one of my go-tos. If you ask my staff, that’s my favorite thing to order from our team members, because it’s definitely a way of getting to show off your skills as a barista, if you can make a really good traditional cappuccino. Also, our Cap on Tap is really good.
Later in the day, wine. One of my favorite cocktails is a Negroni. I don’t have it very often, but if I could only have one, that would be it.
You currently curate blends for the Klatch Club Subscription Do you have a current favorite?
Our Mocha Java is one that my team loves, and their excitement for it always makes me like it. And as far as blends, it’s also one of the most popular ones.
Our NEW Vino Blend is also a really nice one. I don’t always want a coffee that tastes like wine (because I would prefer to just have a glass of wine!) but they did a really nice job with this blend.
When you travel, what are some of your favorite coffee shops and restaurants to visit?
It depends on where I’m going. I’ll always research if there’s any specialty coffee shops in that area. I always try somewhere new, and make a point to visit. Usually we know someone in different areas.
Restaurants—anyone that is known for good cocktails.
How do you spend your days off outside of the coffee world?
So, I have three boys (laughs). And so, we like to hang out outside. We go hiking, exploring, and there’s some outdoor garden areas around us that are really nice. Because, also, there’s a pretty big age gap between the boys. Our oldest is 16, our youngest is not even two. So those areas are great, because they get to explore and keep themselves busy.
We have a boat, and we like to do anything in the water, whether that’s swimming in a pool or going to the lake, the older boys are really into water sports—I mean, as am I—so we’ll wakeboard, that’s always fun, that’s something that we can all enjoy together.
Also, just going to wineries, going to breweries. Because I work in coffee and have access to some of the best, I don’t typically visit coffee shops on my days off, but I definitely visit local restaurants and breweries and wineries.
Interviewer: And you’re a certified sommelier, right? That makes so much sense—I mean, a good drink is the best, but also because there’s so many great wineries around and you have that training.
Holly: Yeah, anytime we go to a winery or funny enough, even a brewery sometimes—right, because it’s all about tasting different things— we call it palate training. It’s always been a thing in our family, like oh we’re going palate training!
It improves flavor in what we taste, it improves what we do in coffee; we’re always tasting coffee. Learning what flavors taste like in other beverages, honestly it’s very transferable. It’s work, see, I’m bringing work into it again.
Klatch’s 30th Anniversary is coming up next year. What's been the most fun favorite anniversary event so far, in your opinion?
Probably the Klatch Coffee Con that we did. That one was at our old warehouse in Upland. And it stands out because I think it was right around the time that I came back to Klatch and was like, this is what I’m going to do. That one was special because I feel like it was more of a celebration and something that I was part of and chose to be a part of rather than, I’m here because this is what my parents do.
So for Coffee Con, I was definitely more involved and really got to make my mark. I felt proud and excited and definitely more a part of what we’re doing at Klatch. So I think that’s why that one stands out for me.
Do you have a favorite Klatch community event?
One of my favorite events—we’ve done a few of them—it’s a fun event meets a coffee tasting. So basically it’s a private event, 30 to 40 people. And so, rather than a cupping, or just like a free event, we would have a cover and then have horderves, beverages, coffee tastings, but specifically certain coffees on different brewing devices.
We’ve done coffee cocktails, as we plan these events, we just try to infuse coffee into what we do. Some of the horderves have coffee in them, tying everything in. I think those events have been the most fun because we really get to be creative with the drinks and the food.
With these events, we get to do fancy food, and create pairings and do things that are more labor-intensive that aren’t necessarily conducive to the cafe environment. You really get to focus on the details. One that comes to mind was something like A Night To Remember. We had a jazz band playing and horderves and dessert, and it was just a really fun night focused around coffee and community.
What’s something you wish people knew about Klatch Coffee?
I think just how passionate all of us are. Not a lot of people get to talk to Mike one-on-one, and once you do, his passion just pours out of him. And it’s funny because he’s always saying, “I’m not a people person”, but he is, and when it’s about Klatch and coffee, it just pours out of him. With Heather, it’s the same thing—her love of coffee shines through.
Mike is passionate about Klatch as the business, Heather is passionate about coffee, and for me, I’m passionate about people. I think a lot of people know that we’re a family business, that we’re family owned and operated, but I think they don’t always know the scale of how involved we are, just because we’re so passionate and we love what we do.
What are you looking forward to?
As we’ve grown, and we’ve opened more stores, we’ve grown a really great team. And we have really great people that we think and they say are in it for the long haul.
As we’ve been able to grow a team, something that Heather and I have talked about is yearly retreats for our management team.
It’s a little bit of a combination of work and play, another time where I am really able to focus on those details. So we would focus on serving them at dinner, and how we can live out our core values in that small setting. We can add in a little bit of coffee or a local item with an origin story. It’s something that we know that our management would appreciate, and it’s one of those things where we get to be a little more creative, and spend a little bit more time on those personal, local food and drink elements.
And then again, just constantly aligning ourselves on what our goals are for this next year. For Klatch stores, how can we be there for our customers? It’s different from the question of how we can grow as a company. We’re divided into so many areas—wholesale, online sales, and cafes. The cafe has always been my area, so now, I’m really relying on my team, and asking, what are some of their goals? How can we really hear their ideas and passions and infuse them into what we do? on a regular basis. We’ve grown a really great team, and that’s what I’m excited about.