Why it’s great to meet like minded people
We have just got back from the great Caffé Culture event in Olympia and it always reminds me of how nice it is to meet like minded people. Before we set up Artisan we used to live in Uganda setting up long term development projects; and life over there was amazing, challenging and very rewarding. These days we hardly ever talk about our time over there to others, as we find it very hard to explain and convey the actual difficulties and feelings that you experience when living in such a remote place. This does completely change however, as soon as we find people who have been there and even if they are complete strangers, we can talk for hours and hours about the beauty of Uganda and everything about it.
This is also true for coffee shop owners and managers and it’s something we have noticed at these lovely trade events. You can chat for hours to others that are going through the exact same challenges as you. I spoke at length to a lovely lady about how you can get the all-rounders (floor staff) to care as much as you do about cleaning tables. We talked to others about how hard it is to find great staff and completely sympathised with another lady who said that they had been cleaning their tea towels at home for four years and wondered if we had any solutions. I could see the relief on her face when we mentioned that we too had cleaned all of Artisan’s tea towels at home for the last two or so years.
So what’s nice to know is that it isn’t just you out there trying to make your dream work – it’s reassuring in itself to know that others are also going through the same things and this makes you realise you’re not alone. However take this a step further and add dialogue and thought processes and you can envision that collectively we can actually begin to solve problems together. Independent coffee shops from around England can help each other out by sharing their ideas at places like Caffé Culture and everyone can improve their business and the customer’s experience, which must be a step in the right direction.