A slowly brewing revolution
Name: Heather Barrie
Name of the business: Harrie’s Coffee
Years of operation: 4
Location: West Sussex (headquarters in Arundel)
Reach: National (via online platform)
Services: Works with independent coffee shops and hospitality outlets to help them serve great coffee every time by providing coffee beans, machines, training and coffee business consultations.
Biggest successes: Partnership with a local artisan baker to release Harrie’s Mocha Choca marshmallows and setting up a café within two weeks (from the initial phone call, through training the staff to installation and opening day)
I met Heather on the first day of a business accelerator programme. I came early, saw a room full of round tables, with six seats each and was trying to figure out where I wanted to park myself for the day. When I first saw her… let me start over: what I first saw, was a hat. Then I looked closer at a person underneath and thought ‘yes, I definitely want to meet her’. So, I sat at the same table. My decision was definitely as good as her coffee.
The story so far
Harrie’s Coffee is an example of how a business can find its focus by making the most of an opportunity. This is how it began.
Not too long ago in picturesque Arundel, a mobile coffee bar was making commuters’ very early mornings a little brighter by serving good coffee. Quality product and personal service was at the centre of operations even then. They sourced their coffee carefully – taste, origin, production process – all had to be ethically managed by the suppliers. When the supplier decided to sell, Heather was the first person he came to. Harrie’s Coffee was ready to make that next step and introduce new services to their offering and become more than an award winning mobile coffee bar… and so they did.
Three hats, one designer
The business has three strands now:
– mobile coffee shop
– wholesale and online distribution
– training and consultancy
Harrie’s Coffee provides coffee, machines and training to independent hospitality outlets – and also delivering great coffee to offices and homes alike.
However, Heather’s personality shines through every one of them. Even the name encapsulates creator’s spirit; it’s easy to remember and unique, so there was no conflict with existing brands when developing the business up and moving online. Heather’s hat is the brand symbol – a personal item became an icon for the business. “They remember me.” – says Heather. I know I do.
Strong, honest, straight-forward. That’s Heather and that’s Harrie’s Coffee. She serves great coffee and works with her clients to enable them to do the same (weservegreatcoffee.com – coming soon). Why? Because Heather knows both ends of the business, and knows them well. The understanding of the customer service side of the beverage and what it takes to stand in the snow at the break of dawn to serve coffee. She also knows the disappointment when you need a pick-me-up cuppa between meetings and you get a brown liquid of an unspeakable quality instead. She says no to that and no to poor customer service.
“I want consumers, wherever they go, to expect great coffee.” – says Heather. “I want them to know that they don’t have to settle anymore. No more shit coffee.”
It does not end with coffee – it starts there. When you work with her, when it comes to purchasing products or training, you get the best thing on offer. No compromises. She keeps in touch with her customers, creating a group of businesses offering great coffee.
Make your brand the strongest it can be:
Heather’s business idea could be franchised. There’s just one little thing – it’s such a strong brand because it has Heather in it. And if you want to start a coffee business, it will need her in it. Heather can show you how to make it work for you. She wants hers and your brand to grow together, so you can count on her support and carefully designed processes that will help you grow – obviously, as long as you’re prepared to give it your full attention as well.
“I will give you the product, the systems, the training. I will show you how to do it and how to do it well.”
That’s what the Harrie’s Coffee System is designed to do – to share a great coffee experience.
It is a slowly brewing revolution.
Let’s crank up the heat.
Why Harrie’s Coffee is my brand hero
Bringing back boutique coffee outlets to the high street is a quest I applaud. Getting rid of shit coffee is a quest I applaud. Creating strong coffee brands is a quest I applaud.
How great it is to see a business so comfortable with themselves that they are ready to champion variety and help others grow stronger as well. That’s a definition of a strong brand.
Heather, I take my hat off to you.
My lesson from this conversation:
- helping others achieve can bring not only pleasure but strengthen your own position on the market
- have a personality and character and don’t be afraid to show them
- say no to bad product and service, say no to shit coffee
Elements of a strong brand:
going the extra mile (customer service ethics)
If you like what Heather’s up to, you may want to find out more about:
Gandys Flip Flops
Be passionate (it will allow you to find people who love what you do and allow your idea take off).
Find out more about Heather and her coffee:
- visit her website harries-coffee.com
- Facebook page: Harrie’s Coffee
- follow the brand on Twitter @harriescoffee
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