These Entrepreneurs Prove There’s More Than One Way to Start a Business

StartupNation Radio is sponsored by Pappas Financial

On this episode of StartupNation Radio, Jeff interviews two entrepreneurs who are tackling the food industry in two very different ways, proving there is no right or wrong way to start a business. Featuring Nya Marshall, owner of Ivy Kitchen + Cocktails, and Abra Berens, New York Times bestselling author, chef and farmer.

First up, Jeff chats with Nya Marshall, an entrepreneur with an impressive background in engineering and finance. A former project manager with Ford, she started a property development company called DIOMO, short for “Doing It on My Own,” in 2009.

Nya’s restaurant, Ivy Kitchen + Cocktails, is entirely self-funded: once she purchased the building outright at 9205 E. Jefferson Ave., she began the brick-by-brick process of developing the space, managing her own construction and personally hiring every single crew member to build her business from the ground up.

Related: Jar Head Salsa and Old Woodward Cellar: Starting Up in Metro Detroit

During the interview, Nya shares some great advice for taking charge and starting up:

  • The importance of conducting community outreach and how it helped her to start her business
  • How she funded the business herself
  • The pitfalls of owning a business on your own
  • Her number one advice (hint: it’s about numbers!)
  • The importance of knowing your strengths and weaknesses
  • Tips for DIY marketing on a budget

For more information on Ivy Kitchen + Cocktails, follow the restaurant on Instagram and Facebook.

Next up, Jeff interviews Abra Berens, New York Times best-selling author, farmer and chef.

Abra started cooking at Zingerman’s Deli, then went on to train in the garden-focused kitchen at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland. In 2009, she co-founded Bare Knuckle Farm in Northport, MI, where she farmed and cooked for 8 years.

After years of farming, she returned to the kitchen full time, opening a café in Chicago. In 2017, she left her executive chef position and returned to Michigan to join the team at Granor Farm, where she is currently a chef.

During the show, Abra shares:

  • Her passion for food and how that led to her various projects in the food industry
  • The lessons she learned closing a business, and what she learned/brought with her to her next venture
  • How consumers can support small, local businesses
  • Tips for getting a book published

For more information on Abra, visit her official website.

Sign Up: Receive the StartupNation newsletter!

“Ruffage” is available now at fine booksellers and can be purchased via

Leave a Reply
Related Posts