We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Koral and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind the success of my brand is that I both see and understand what needs to be done to make this business work. I know I have a great product and need to get it in front of as many people as possible whether that means going across to the Western Slope or North to Jackson Hole. I believe that if people have the opportunity to taste Seven Barrels and interact with either myself or my employees they will have an experience that makes them feel good about supporting a small business. Providing a tasting experience that allows people to feel comfortable with tasting any combination of EVOO and Balsamic is something we take pride in. We want everyone to at least taste the best balsamic they will ever have.
What should our readers know about your business?
One of the most frequently asked questions I have is “How did you get into this?” I always start with “Well I am also a teacher.” Which then leads people to then understand how I came about this side hustle. My Parent’s good friend Mark (Owner of the Seven Barrels Label) presented me with this opportunity to try to supplement some extra income and make it easier to continue my teaching career with a little more stability in my life. My top priority is educating students and helping them prepare for the future. I take extra pride in my teaching as I teach Elementary Physical Education. Healthcare and obesity is a major concern in our country and I feel like I have so much love for physical fitness and healthy eating that I have to do all that I can to share what I can with kids. My goal is always to make an impact on at least one student a year as I know if I do that then the world is at least a little bit healthier. Getting to this point with Seven Barrels was not easy in the slightest. There was a phase of acceptance that teaching may not be the solution for the life I want to live so I had to decide if I wanted to give it up or not and I could not bring myself to that point. There was also the realization that starting your own branch of a business is extremely hard and requires a lot of initial cost which got very interesting for a few months. Finally, my biggest hurdle was and still is time management. I want this business to be the best it can be and see the potential which requires a lot of time invested on top of being a teacher so there are many 7 day work weeks which I am starting to learn how to manage a little better with the help of my employee Karen. She has been out of this world for the progression of Seven Barrels of Colorado and amazing to work with. We have had some funny moments together and she always knows how to make it work. That ultimately brings me to where I am today as we prepare for the Holiday season
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well this all depends of the friend. Regardless we always go for a hike because that is what I am about. My family and friends visit with the expectation of physical fitness being involved. Usually we go to Lair of the Bear or Staunton State Park as those provide excellent views and various degrees of difficulty. It is always fun to check out restaurants in my neighborhood such a Himchuli, Chili Verde, or drive into the mountains for the super fun Gold Hill Inn. We always finish with some Ice Cream from Sweet Cow or Littleman. Can never go wrong with that.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are two major support systems in my life. One being my fiance Kerri. She gets to see the business run on the home front and the ups and downs. But more importantly she never hesitates to offer a helping hand whether it is set up for a show or helping write thank you cards for customers. Also, every home cooked meal I have eaten over the past 2 months has been due to Kerri. This business has grown way faster then I expected over the past two months and a lot more time and effort has gone in. We take pride in healthy eating so she is doing the best that she can to make sure that is incorporated into our lives as much as possible. There are many days where I think about how much she does and realize how lucky I am. Second is my parents. My mother is the best listener on the planet. Not every day is the best day and she is always there to listen and provide feedback. Many little things that occur in my booth have happened because of my Mom. My Dad is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen. Growing up he would have dinner with us and go back out to work when we were done. He took pride in being with his family and trying to support us as much as possible. I definitely feel that this is part of my genetics because when I look at signing up for shows I often think that I may not want to do it but there is an intrinsic factor that pushes me because I know it will help me grow the business. That is something that has come from my Dad. As a teacher, in Jefferson County, we do not always have the best income and he has always been there to try and help me find ways to supplement income. When Seven Barrels of Colorado started becoming more successful it was a great feeling for both of us.