Can business and romance mix? For the owners of Honey + Moon Coffee Co, Jessica and Zac Parsons, the answer is yes. The two fell in love in the process of planning and founding Honey + Moon and are now married.
Before they opened Honey + Moon coffee (a third-wave coffee shop with curated drinks, unique food, and artisanal ice cream), their paths crossed through work. Jessica was doing accounting for Zac (a consultant at the time), and she opened up to him about her idea to someday open a coffee shop. Zac expressed his interest in helping her on this endeavor, and the two quickly became a team.
“Before Honey + Moon Coffee, I was working, and still work, at a CPA firm as an accountant. So I have that financial background. After working with clients for years, I started to realize the entrepreneurial dream I had, and I realized it was actually something I could do. I’d been a stay-at-home mom, and when I went back into the workplace I slowly gained that confidence. I am still working there, so I have to balance my day job with Honey + Moon.
When it came down to actually learning enough to be able to run a coffee shop, I took a job at Starbucks and worked there for several months just getting the hang of things.”
“I was a contract-based consultant and that’s actually how Jessica and I met. She was my first accountant when I got a contract up in Silicon Valley. I volunteer a lot in the community. I run the TedX Evansville initiative and serve on boards and stuff like that so when it was time to put full-time effort into Honey + Moon, I stopped taking on consulting contracts and focused on construction, hiring, and developing the team. My Master’s Degree is in organizational psychology so I got to use that toward building the culture in hiring.
When we were preparing and planning for Honey + Moon, Jessica had just been following coffee shops on Instagram and looking at people in coffee magazines getting ideas. There was a particular coffee shop – Scout Coffee in San Luis Obispo, California – that she really wanted to visit. I started to scheme about taking her out to California since that’s where my family is. I wanted to introduce her to my parents and my brother, and also take her to Scout. I talked to her sister and her boss and found people to watch her kids…I did everything I could to make this happen. It was this whole Valentine’s Day surprise thing. I proposed to Jessica during this trip…and now we’re married!”
Coming Together as a Partnership
Zac: “We definitely have identified that we play a balancing role in each other’s lives. She tends to lean towards the conservative, stable approach, and I tend to be the risk-taker. Jessica loves things that are beautiful, and she has a really good eye for design. She designed all of the aesthetics for our shop. We would run into tensions with each other because I tend to focus on functionality and she would focus more on how things look. But, we balance each other out well with that.”
Jessica: “A lot of people tell us that we’re very different and it actually works really well for us. Zac tends to think more big picture, and I tend to want to take care of the details. It works out because he has lots of ideas, and then we’ll talk about how we can actually implement them. Usually, it’s me figuring out the details of how his ideas will work.”
Coming Together as Employers
Zac: “We truly care about our customers, and we care about our team as well. I always go back to the joy of watching the members of our team flourish as individuals and as they come together as a team when things get hectic. Realizing early on that it’s not just our story and our shop, but it’s theirs as well. It’s really important to care about the people you’re hiring because you’re about to have meaningful experiences with them.
Jessica: “For me, the most rewarding thing is the interaction with customers and regulars in particular when I work a weekend shift. If I pick one specific highlight, we had a wedding shower a few weeks ago and it was so fun just to see a special event happen here. We’ve been open about a year and a half, and that day, in particular, was really nice.”
Zac: “As a company, our mission is to delight the customer. We don’t want to make people feel ignorant as they’re getting educated on different types of tea or coffee. You can’t do that if you’re making them feel dumb. We want to continue to provide a place where people feel comfortable.”
Jessica: “I definitely don’t see us just in this one location. I want Honey + Moon to expand but I don’t see us becoming a franchise or anything like that. This is definitely still our baby. Zac and I are married with six kids in between us, so we can’t throw out money without regard. We’ll just take it slow.”
Zac: “Even though I’m more of a risk-taker, I also don’t want to risk the gains we’ve had in the last few years. We’re being very careful moving forward, but we’re excited for what the future holds.”
We’re also looking forward to what the future of Honey + Moon Coffee Co. holds. It’s exciting to see local businesses start off here in the Evansville community and flourish over the years. There are so many ways you can support your local community and shopping with local businesses is one of those ways.