Fridays with Flea Style: Alfred Founder Josh Zad

Fridays with Flea Style: Alfred Founder Josh Zad

Over the past seven years, 37-year old Josh Zad has built a coffee and tea empire with a dozen locations and 180 employees spanning from LA to Japan. He’s also the brilliant creator/owner of popular trademark "But first, coffee.”

Another cool accolade? He was my former landlord. Yes, it’s true: Josh and I used to live in the same 10-unit apartment complex in our 20's!

Do not miss this episode where I powwow with my old pal and dish how Josh went from landlord to budding commercial realtor to culinary genius cashing in on both good bites and good vibes.

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Crazy story, but you were my landlord in Dallas years ago. How did you end up in Dallas: I’m LA born and raised, went to Yale for a few years… came back to LA. I ended up going to business school which led to me working with my family. I became disillusioned working so closely with family and was ready for a change. A friend of mine lived in Dallas and had always talked it up. So I went and visited, enjoyed the slower pace of the city and made the crazy decision to move there on a whim.



Walk us through how you went from managing and owning a property in Dallas to opening up Alfred. I love Dallas and it changed me a lot – especially creatively – but I had to move back home. I always knew I’d end up back in LA. So in 2010 I moved back and had the family biz job waiting for me. I worked there for a couple of years and something was really tugging at me. I wanted to make my own mark and I had a design itch – I wanted to put that together and see what that would look like in real life. I hatched the idea to open a space where people could come and have community and a coffee shop was the perfect opportunity.



What are your hardships and challenges? Always being asked by people what are the next steps for the business. I’m not a future person, I’m a today and a tomorrow person.



Why do you think you’re successful doing what you are doing? I break it down by the 5 “C’s” of Alfred: Coffee, community, charity, culture, and cool vibes.



General best business advice? Take the leap – you are never going to have all the questions answered. Quality of product is paramount. It’s great to have a cool aesthetic, a cool backstory... but does the product work (or in my case, taste good)? You gotta have a good product to keep people coming back. And at the end of the day – trust your instincts. Trust your gut.

  Photo courtesy of Alisha Goldstein at Jane Smith Agency[/caption]



Coffee or tea: Drip coffee or cold brew.

Dream travel destination: Australia

Hall pass: Ha – come back to me on that one…

Last meal on earth: Chicken parmesan

Dream mentorship session: Howard Schultz

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Don’t miss Josh’s podcast. It’s so good! Check it out along with other Fridays with Flea Style episodes on iTunes here. Want to nominate somebody to be a guest on our show or have a question for Brittany to answer? Email us at!

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