Farmer's Market to Market Street: Erika Brown

Erika Brown


Age 27

One weekend Erika Brown set up a booth selling hummus at a local Farmer's Market as something fun to do. Watching her product disappear from the table, she realized she had a real business on her hands. 

Two exciting years later, Erika distributes her products to five local retailers, and owns & operates Hippy Chick Hummus - a plant-based cafe and kombucha bar located in the heart of Downtown Frederick.

Here's what Erika had to say of the whirlwind journey ... 


Young Age: Advantage or Disadvantage?

Everything just fell into place at the right time. I think if I knew what I was getting into, I wouldn’t have thought that I was ready. I would have delayed it until I was older and wiser, but I just learned it all as I went. I ended up taking a lot of risks that I wouldn’t have taken if I had more to lose. I’ve been able to fully follow my passion and that’s what’s made the business successful.


Taking it One Step at a Time


At the beginning, I didn’t think I was going to create a cafe. I was just setting up a booth at a farmer’s market as something fun to do on the weekends. Then, I was just making more to sell wholesale to some local businesses.

When the opportunity of the café did come along, I just looked at each little mark in the process: Health Department. Permits. Getting the floors done.  Getting the glassware. Everything was one thing at a time. 


On the Flexibility of Businesses

What continues to surprise me the most about my business is - it’s limitless. The business will go wherever and however far I want to take it. I could take this business and turn it into a wholesale factory to mass produce for grocery stores. Or, I could open a bunch of other little cafes to offer people good food made with love that way. Or, if I wanted to, I could just stop growing and stay here at a comfortable place.  Everything in my business depends on how hard I work and which way I want to go. I have total flexibility in what I want to do. 


Latest project

I’ve been working hard to fine tune this space -- We actually just opened a new backyard patio for customers to enjoy! 

And, eventually I will open a second location. It’s hard to believe, but we’re already outgrowing this space. Another location is definitely on its way. 



Do it because you’re passionate about it --- not because of the money you think you can make. Looking at it from a money-making perspective will scare you off when it gets hard. But if you genuinely love what you do, you'll find yourself coming back every day, even on the hard ones.