Happy Sunday lovely people!
I hope you have been enjoying your weekend! Today concludes our final part of our 'Confessions of a small business owner' and todays featured business is Coach house coffee owned and run by the wonderful Emily in the beautiful Cotswold town ( and my home town!) of Stow-on-the-Wold. Coach house is my favourite coffee shop in the Cotswolds, serving my all time favourite RAVE signature blend coffee and lots of Gluten free treats which is the way to my heart after finding out I was gluten intolerant over 7 years ago. So let's see what Emily has to share about the wonderful world of running an independent coffee shop in a bustling town...
Tell us a little about yourself and how your business came about...
Long story short, I did my five years as a teacher and then decided a coffee shop would be more me!!! I knew I wanted to own my own business but wasn't sure what until I went on honeymoon to Vietnam ( of all places) and was genuinely inspired by the coffee shops we visited in Hoi An. I came home and created a mood board of all the things I had seen that I'd include in my own coffee shop and showed it to my colleague at the school I was working in. It was actually just a laughable pipe dream at that point and we both took the mick out of me, it was supposedly just an odd case of holiday blues! However low and behold ... it happened, here I am and there are snippets of that mood board in my business today.
What would your best piece of advice be to someone setting up their own business for the first time?
Get a good accountant straight away!!! Oh and find a good balance between listening to other peoples advice and listening to your gut instinct.
What has been your biggest challenge/s running your own business?
I don't think anyone can prepare you for how much work you have to put into it. Even when you take a day off to rest you are never fully switched off from your business! Also ... HMRC ... come on guys, maybe make life a little easier for us small fry?!
What has been the best part/s about running your own business?
The people I have met along the way...the customers, suppliers and colleagues I now call friends. Also the sense of really knowing what I am doing! I'm terrible for putting off tasks that I am not sure how to conquer. For me a lot of that was the accounting side of the business (hence find an accountant straight away!) I also absolutely love being innovative which I think is super important in every industry to drive your business forward. I spend hours and hours researching trends in the coffee industry and actually trends in small businesses in general so creating seasonal menus and stocking the latest trends on our shelves has been really fun. It's really satisfying coming up with a new idea, putting it on the menu and seeing customers enjoy it!
The proudest moment I have had so far was hitting our one year business birthday and throwing a party that actual customers, suppliers and employees came to. I allowed myself to feel proud of what I had achieved for the first time that night.
As mentioned Coach house coffee is my favourite Coffee spot for a catch up with friends or an on the go coffee fix. You can't miss this impressive three story building in the main square of Stow-on-the-Wold going back into the entrance of Talbot court. Emily is so creative with her offerings whilst still keeping all the classic coffee and cakes if that's more your thing. I actually went to school with Emily (different years) but i didn't know her properly until she asked if I would like to continue working for her when she took over the building that I used to work in. So those of you local to Stow will actually normally find me on the other side of the counter on weekends! A big challenge for me running RedMeg is that I find it quite lonely at times as I often spend most working days by myself with only studio pup Milo for company and emails being my main form of customer conversation! I have always kept a weekend job since launching my business to escape my hectic head space of RedMeg and be in amongst lots of lovely chatty customers. It can be quite a juggle but it really works wonders for my creativity and I much prefer working weekends as I like being busy ( mad I know!) Plus anyone that knows me , knows that I really love coffee so it's a perfect match!
Much like Emily I have known ( probably since i was an early teen!) that I wanted to run my own business but at the time i didn't know what. That all just seems to fall into place if your passion is within business. I also totally relate to Emily's comment about not really knowing how much work there is involved in running your own business until you are actually doing it! No matter how hectic previous jobs have felt, running my own business has been the most hard work and tiring but nothing I have ever done has ever felt so rewarding!
That sums up our final 'Confessions of a small business owner' blog.
I have really enjoyed chatting to these local businesses all about their best and worst bits! Hopefully you have enjoyed reading it ( especially if you made it all the way through all three parts!) Thank you to Tara, Meg and Emily for entertaining my questions, I may just find some more lovely small business owners to get involved as you guys seemed to really enjoy this series!
Anyway until next time, have a lovely Sunday !