For Ruben Trujillo, coffee isn’t just a drink, it’s his passion.
Trujillo spent several years working as an English teacher in South Korea, where he immersed himself in coffee culture, including overworms and the art of latte. Upon his return to the United States, he decided to start his own business, Cafe Emporos, selling custom pre-filled coffee filters.
“So I wanted to introduce a coffee experience because I couldn’t have my own coffee. It’s like coffee in a small envelope – you provide an experience, ”he says.
Trujillo sells personalized coffee filters, where customers can order photos and messages printed directly on the packages. In each package are coffee grounds. They work the same as an overflow filter, where customers can place them on the rim of the mug and pour hot water to infuse the grounds.
Trujillo told us that the filters were invented in Japan, but he first discovered filters while living in South Korea.
Then, when he returned to the United States, starting his coffee business was much more difficult than he had expected.
“I didn’t have any capital, I didn’t have connections here. I had been away for five years, “he said.” So it was that dream I had, but that’s about all it was. ”
Trujillo said he continued to work on Cafe Emporos by selling in person at farmers’ markets. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, that opportunity was gone. He also stepped in to take care of his grandmother for five months.
“So not only was my business not performing as I had hoped over the years, but now I had this other responsibility,” he said.
Trujillo said he was hesitant to switch to e-commerce because he “never really had a chance” with social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest, especially because he didn’t know how to use hashtags. or other marketing tactics. When it comes to using TikTok, Trujillo went through a process of downloading and removing the app on several occasions because he didn’t think it would be a good fit for his business. He had made a few videos and had about twenty subscribers.
“And one night I walked into my office and I had this little red background, Christmas lights on. And all I did was, pretty much, showcase my product, and I got it. just posted because I had nothing to lose at the time, ”Trujillo said.
In the TikTok, Trujillo explains how to use the product.
“Hello, my name is Ruben and I own a small business at Café Emporos. I make grams of coffee,” Trujillo explains in the TikTok. “And you can go to my website and download a holiday post. and a photo, and you can send it to anyone. “
Trujillo said the next morning he woke up to around 300 likes on his video. Then, he said, people started commenting on the video with tips for his business like switching to a business account and adding his e-commerce website link in his bio. He said the experience was “really strange”.
“And I remember I put my website in the bio right before I got in my car, and my speaker was connected to bluetooth. When I started driving my phone started ringing with these sounds. Like when you make a sale on Shopify, “cha-ching”. And my car speakers went crazy, ”he said.
Trujillo said he was crying with joy. In total, it made 300 sales in several hours and received over 14,000 likes on the video itself.
“And the days when I was weak, I still remember that – that I had nothing. I had 20 subscribers, I didn’t have a job, and look what happened and I still got through it, ”he said.
Ruben now has 21,000 subscribers on TikTok, hundreds of thousands of views, and Cafe Emporos has thousands of dollars in sales.
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Here is a link to Ruben’s TikTok.
And, if you’ve been a TikTok user for some time, you probably got a message last week asking for your part of a legal settlement. It is not a scam. About 89 million TikTok users in the United States are eligible for a very small portion of a $ 92 million payment the company makes to settle several privacy class actions. Here is a link to the February NPR report on the settlement.
And an NBC News article on how to file a claim – it’s worth noting here that up to a third of that settlement goes towards attorney fees and other legal costs. So, NBC estimates that if all eligible people actually submit a request, each user would receive around 96 cents.