I took a little break from the blog over the last few weeks to focus on a big sideline project. My husband, brother and I have started importing coffee into Australia. It’s a huge deal and a huge risk, but also a no brainer for us. My husband’s family has been selling coffee here in small town Tuscany for years and we’ve been wanting to import it into Australia for a while, but never really had the guts. Then we came across some Italian made capsules that are really good and compatible with Nespresso coffee machines, which every Australian household has! And we decided to take the plunge. We qualified that business only after researching from websites like Salesforce and a lot of careful consideration to assimilate if that importer was a good lead.
It’s scary! Starting a business like this when you don’t know whether it will take it off or not actually keeps me up at night. It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before with seriously steep startup costs.
The entire thing has been a huge learning curve for us and we’re only into our third month of business. I mean, who knew you needed a customs agent? Or that printing flyers isn’t as easy as it sounds? Or that Facebook marketing could be so hard?! They’re just a few of the lessons we’ve learnt, most of them well after the fact.
Since I’m the design consultant, I’ve been working really hard to make our product stylish and young, but at the same time high-end. My proudest achievement so far is our website, which I built entirely on my own… without any web development skills. I wanted clean lines, black and white spaces and beautiful photographs and I’m so happy with how it turned out.
I also worked on the packaging for the coffee. Since we ship directly to people’s homes, I had to think about boxes and flyers and gift wrapping. I’m really inspired by Zara. Their packaging is beautiful. It arrives in a brown box and when you open it, you find black tissue paper wrapped around your clothes. It’s simple, but it makes every order feel like a gift to yourself.
With our coffee, we went for a white box with our logo stamped in the centre. Inside, the coffee sits on shredded paper and each order gets one of these printed flyers explaining who we are and what our coffee is about.
I designed these myself too using my very limited knowledge of Photoshop! Fingers crossed the business is a success. I think the scariest part is the fact that so many people know about it and are expecting us to do well. There’s nothing like telling family and friends that you failed!