Meet Gacia Tachejian, Owner Of Laidrey Coffee Roasters

SO YOU’VE FOCUSED YOUR LIFE ON A SINGLE CAREER ROUTE. YOU REALIZE THAT YOU WON’T FIND FULFILLMENT IN THAT ENDEAVOR AS YOU GET OLDER. OR PERHAPS YOU JUST FEEL LIKE DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOU WERE STUDYING IN SCHOOL. IF THIS IS THE CASE FOR YOU, I’M SURE YOU CAN IDENTIFY WITH THIS WEEK’S GUEST ON MEET BRIDGET.

GACIA TACHEJIAN IS A SELF-MADE, FIRST-GENERATION AMERICAN WHO CHOSE A DIFFERENT PATH FROM WHAT SHE WENT TO SCHOOL FOR. SHE HOLDS A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY FROM UCLA AND A MASTER’S IN SCIENCE, SOCIAL WORK/SOCIAL ENTERPRISE ADMINISTRATION FROM COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

BEFORE FOUNDING LAIDREY COFFEE ROASTERS IN HER GARAGE, GACIA TACHEJIAN BEGAN HER CAREER IN MEDICAL RESEARCH AS A CLINICAL RESEARCH DIRECTOR AT UCLA. SHE THEN OPENED LAIDREY AS A MODEST ONE-WOMAN BUSINESS IN HER HOMETOWN, TARZANA, CALIFORNIA, AND TRANSFORMED IT INTO A STUNNING BRICK-AND-MORTAR COFFEE ROASTERY. SHE IS THE ONLY FEMALE ROASTER IN THE VALLEY, AND ORGANIZES MANY ACTIVITIES TO FOSTER COMMUNITY AND EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT THE FUNDAMENTALS OF GOOD COFFEE.

IN THIS EPISODE, GACIA TALKS ABOUT HER STRUGGLES OF MOVING AND SETTLING IN AMERICA AT FOUR YEARS OLD. SHE SHARES HER STORY FROM EARLY CHILDHOOD, TEEN YEARS, SCHOOL, RELATIONSHIPS, AND WORK. THROUGH HER STORY, YOU WILL LEARN TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, KNOW THAT YOU HAVE MANY SKILL SETS, AND THE VALUE OF NEVER GIVING UP.

EVEN IF YOU CAN’T SEE A FUTURE FOR YOURSELF, JUST KNOW THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT PATHS YOU COULD TAKE. AND YOU, AS A HUMAN BEING, HAVE SO MANY ABILITIES AND SKILLS THAT YOU CAN DEVELOP. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE JUST GOOD AT ONE THING. – GACIA

in this episode:

[03:18] GACIA TALKS ABOUT HER ARMENIAN ETHNICITY, FAMILY BACKGROUND AND MOVE TO AMERICA AT FOUR.

[05:28] GACIA’S EARLY SCHOOL EXPERIENCES: LEARNING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, BEING BULLIED, SCHOOL TRANSITIONS, AND MORE.

[10:04] THE CHALLENGE OF KEEPING ARMENIAN CULTURE AND TRADITIONS WITH THE MOVE TO AMERICA.

[16:03] GACIA’S TEENAGE YEARS, EXPERIENCES, AND LOVE OF DANCE.

[22:50] GACIA’S YOUNG ADULT YEARS, COLLEGE, MOVING OUT OF HOME, AND CAREER DECISIONS.

[25:54] HER FIRST BOYFRIEND EXPERIENCE.

[28:54] AT UCLA, SHE NEVER DID SORORITY AND FRATERNITY THINGS. SHE WONDERED HOW THAT WOULD BETTER HER AND WAS MORE WORRIED ABOUT GETTING A JOB. UNLIKE HER PEERS, SHE ALWAYS WORRIED ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN NEXT.

[30:30] AFTER THRIVING AT COLLEGE, SHE BECAME A PROJECT COORDINATOR AND RESEARCH ASSISTANT FOR CLINICAL TRIALS BASED ON BEHAVIORAL HEALTH, SPECIFICALLY ADDICTION.

[31:10] BY 2011, SHE WENT TO A PRIVATE WOMEN’S PRISON IN SACRAMENTO EVERY TWO WEEKS TO EVALUATE THE TRAUMA-INFORMED SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAM.

[32:30] FOR CAREER ADVANCEMENT, SHE APPLIED TO GRAD SCHOOL. AT THAT TIME, SHE WAS IN A BAD RELATIONSHIP THAT WAS HARD TO GET OUT OF. SO SHE CONSIDERED MOVING OUT OF STATE.

[35:21] GACIA GOT ACCEPTED BY BOTH NYU AND COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, AND DECIDED TO GO WITH COLUMBIA.

[38:39] DRIVING FACTORS FOR GACIA’S DECISION TO PURSUE CLINICAL RESEARCH AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM ON HER CAREER.

[40:07] GACIA’S WORK AND EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE IN THE MOST POVERTY-STRICKEN CITY IN AMERICA.

[41:00] HER WORK WITH NON-PROFITS, HOW TO GROW THEM AND RAISE MONEY.

[41:30] HOW SHE NAVIGATED LIVING WITH HER FIANCÉ, GIVEN THAT LIVING TOGETHER BEFORE MARRIAGE WAS TABOO IN HER FAMILY CULTURE.

[42:40] NAVIGATING UNEMPLOYMENT, LOW-PAYING JOBS, AND JOB HUNTING IN 2013, A TIME WHEN JOBS WERE DIFFICULT TO COME BY.

[43:15] SHE FINALLY GOT A JOB AS A COORDINATOR AT A CLINIC IN HOLLYWOOD FOR UCLA, WHERE SHE THRIVED AND STAYED FOR EIGHT YEARS.

[44:53] YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO GO ABOVE AND BEYOND, AND I WAS ALWAYS TRYING TO GO ABOVE AND BEYOND.  – GACIA

[45:15] GACIA’S LOVE OF COFFEE, HOW THE LAIDREY COFFEE ROASTERS IDEA WAS BORN, AND ITS GROWTH FROM BEING A COFFEE CART.

[51:24] HOW COVID CHALLENGED GACIA AND HER BUSINESS. SHE FELT DEFEATED AND UNHAPPY.

[53:10] DURING THE PANDEMIC, GACIA GOT AN OFFER FROM ANOTHER COFFEE ROASTER, BUT SOUND ADVICE FROM HER FRIEND AND ENTREPRENEUR, PAUL, MADE HER TURN DOWN THE OFFER.

[54:05] GACIA GOT DOWN TO THE NITTY-GRITTY OF HER BUSINESS AND THE COST OF A SINGLE COFFEE CUP AND PARTNERED WITH PAUL AND MARISSA.

[1:02:13] AFTER SEVEN MONTHS OF OPERATION, GACIA TALKS THROUGH WHAT’S NEXT FOR LAIDREY COFFEE ROASTERS AND HER HOPES AND DREAMS FOR HER BUSINESS.

[1:04:39] EVEN IF YOU CAN’T SEE A FUTURE FOR YOURSELF, JUST KNOW THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT PATHS YOU COULD TAKE. AND YOU, AS A HUMAN BEING, HAVE SO MANY ABILITIES AND SKILLS THAT YOU CAN DEVELOP. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE JUST GOOD AT ONE THING. – GACIA

[1:06:43] YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND KNOW THAT YOU HAVE MANY SKILL SETS. AND DON’T EVER GIVE UP. – GACIA

[1:08:12] THE FAST FIVE QUESTIONS.

[1:12:30] AS A YOUNG WOMAN, GACIA WAS TIMID IN SHOWING HER STRENGTHS, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT SHE WAS GOOD AS A DANCER. AS AN ADULT, SHE APPRECIATES HOW GROUNDED IT’S MADE HER.

about Gacia Tachejian

GACIA TACHEJIAN IS A SELF-MADE, FIRST-GENERATION AMERICAN. SHE STARTED HER CAREER IN MEDICAL RESEARCH AS A CLINICAL RESEARCH DIRECTOR AT UCLA, AMONG MANY OTHER THINGS, BEFORE STARTING LAIDREY COFFEE ROASTERS OUT OF HER OWN GARAGE. FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS AND A LEAP OF FAITH, GACIA WAS ABLE TO TAKE A SMALL ONE-WOMAN OPERATION AND TURN IT INTO A BEAUTIFUL BRICK-AND-MORTAR COFFEE ROASTERY IN HER HOMETOWN OF TARZANA, CALIFORNIA. SHE IS THE ONLY FEMALE ROASTER IN THE VALLEY. SHE HOSTS MANY EVENTS THAT SEEK TO CREATE AND FOSTER COMMUNITY WHILE TEACHING FOLKS THE INS AND OUTS OF QUALITY COFFEE, FROM SELECTION TO ROASTING TO STEAMING DECADENCE.

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