Aris Kourkakis - &Kaffe
Aris Kourkakis - &Kaffe
I am a (very-soon-to-be) 24 years old newly graduated marketing student from Lund. I am, among many things, a coffee enthusiast and am very interested in running a business that deals with coffee in some way and that has a good-for-society-thinking built into the nature of the business. My project is to create my own organic coffee brand and sell it through café bikes and through a subscription-based model.
Having completed 4.5 years of business studies at Lund University, I am a proud owner of a Master’s degree in marketing. During my studies I did an exchange semester in Vienna, Austria. I have experience working in Germany as an online marketing intern for a company called Trivago. I have also co-founded a business, Wheely’s café, that is centered around selling coffee from bicycles. I have worked other jobs such as telesales, telemarketing and waiter.
I plan to learn as much as possible about the premium coffee business. I want to learn about roasting, marketing, packaging and selling, tasting, preparing and distributing coffee by doing all of it to some extent. I want to set myself up to be able to run a business in the growing premium-coffee industry. I also plan to participate in some fairs and markets in July and August.
I want to have a product that I can be proud of. I also hope to add many valuable contacts to my network, people that can help me on my journey to become the coffee entrepreneur that I want to be. I hope to apply what I’ve learnt in school and turn all that knowledge into marketable skills that I can use in the future.
Aris Kourkakis - &Kaffe #2
I have met with the roaster and decided how our partnership will work. I have tried roasting at home and have read a lot about roasting and about coffee in general. I have tried a lot of different coffees to decide how I would like mine to taste and I’ve learnt a little about cupping coffee (it’s like wine tasting, but for coffee). I have had to prepare a lot for the first market (Kiviks marknad) I’m going to be selling coffee at.
There have been a few bumps on the road. Everything has not gone according to plan with the roaster, which has delayed certain aspects of the project. I have had to change my plans accordingly and that’s why I started learning how to roast at home. Roasting is harder than I expected since it requires a lot of experimentation and a lot of trial and error but it is a very rewarding process.
I will try to focus on getting the coffee out there and start selling it and then the rest will follow. I have two big events where I will be selling coffee and I will also figure out more ways to promote it through my coffee bike. I need to get help in building the website as I do not have the skills to make a great webpage.
Aris Kourkakis - &Kaffe # 3
The time so far has passed by really quickly. The best thing is that I have been able to focus on something I think is fun without having the pressure of making ends meet at the end of the month. It has been nice to shift the focus to learning experiences and trying to develop the idea instead of getting started with sales as fast as possible. I have also encountered moments of frustrations when things haven’t gone as planned.
I think it’s been hard to know exactly what needs to be done and focus on just that. It’s harder when you’re alone working on a project because you need to figure out solutions by yourself most of the time. The most enjoyable times of the project have been when I got to work with coffee, for example when roasting or when serving coffee. There’s nothing that beats being around the smell of fresh coffee all day.
I think the project went as expected in some aspects and not at all as expected in other aspects. I expected to learn a lot about coffee and that went well. I also expected that somehow I would have a finished product and that was probably me being too optimistic. I would like to continue with my project at some point but I’m afraid I won’t be able to due to financial reasons. I need to start working when summer’s over.
Make sure to have a list of things that need to be done and rank them by priority. That way, when you can’t work on something, it’s easy to just look further down on the list and do something that can be done at that moment. Also, you’ll get the satisfaction of crossing something off a list, which is a nice reward. It will also force you to decide what’s important in your project.
A tip for new entrepreneurs (cliché warning!): Don’t get into a project just because the idea sounds good or has earning potential. Make sure that the new venture is about an industry or problem that you are interested in. That way, it’s easier to stay positive. Otherwise, you’ll give up as soon as things don’t go as you want them to. It’ll also be easier to motivate yourself to do something for free (which is how you normally start out) if you think it’s fun.