Tiff’s Treats founders to share struggles, successes at Tejas Coffees

Jordyn Zitman

Every Thursday, students pack the small living room at the Tejas Club for Tejas Coffees, where they hear entrepreneurs, politicians and other influential speakers discuss their journey. 

On Sept. 5, students will hear from husband and wife duo Leon and Tiffany Chen, who founded the cookie delivery company Tiff’s Treats in their sophomore year. Tejas Coffees has previously hosted speakers such as Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and actor Matthew McConaughey. 

Daily Texan: How did you decide to speak at Tejas Coffees? 

Leon: (Tejas) was very well organized and reached out to us before we got a slew of requests. We saw, looking at their list of speakers they’ve had, that our investor and brand ambassador, Andy Roddick, was one of them. We then found out a little bit more about the organization, and it looked like a really solid one, so we decided to do it. 

DT: Tiff’s is a big part of the UT experience. You both went here, so what role do you believe the University played in how you approach business? 

Tiffany: When we started, we were students at UT serving the UT community almost exclusively. So everything that we did to start out was centered around UT, and it was our biggest customer base. Besides UT, Austin as a whole we found to be extremely welcoming to new ideas as a really small mom and pop. The students at UT were willing to try something new, something that didn’t have a lot of backing. A really big key to our success was having those kinds of people available as customers. 

DT: Tiff’s has grown so much since you began. How did you adapt from running a “mom and pop” to a large business?

Tiffany: I think everything is just a learning curve. You can’t ever set out and say, “We operate this way now.” What we do is lay a plan and then just get going and see where life takes you, see where the business takes you, and adapt as you go. That’s always how we’ve done it. Things are far different from how they were when we first started, but it’s not like it happened overnight. 

Leon: At the same time, we could be a lot bigger than we are now and could have double the amount of stores. But we’ve always been focused on responsible growth and building the brand as a whole and worrying about store count second. That’s led us to slower growth than you would think we could do. We’re not going to expand faster until we’re sure that the brand is just as strong as it’s always been. 

DT: What do you hope attendees gain from your Tejas Coffees talk on Thursday?

Tiffany: We would hope they come out of there energized about all the opportunities they have ahead of them. Also, you can jump on something when you see an opportunity. You don’t have to wait and plan it out so meticulously that you wait forever to get started. If you see something, seize it, and there’s no better time than right now. Everything is ahead of them. I hope they just come out inspired to make a change.