In many ways it is hard to believe that we’ve been in business for two whole months. But in other ways, it feels like it has been much longer. So far, both months have brought their own challenges and rewards. January was mostly focused on, well, starting the business. We did the prep work of filling out the paperwork, applying for licenses, getting an inventory of product ready, and once opening, January was all about starting to get the word out that “Hey, we are Koi Coffee! Check us out!” As far as February goes, I still feel like this was still one of the main goals- getting the word out. We have confidence in our coffee and know that we have something good- now we just need people to know we exist. How does one do this on a limited budget? What is a good balance as far as posting on social media platforms- we don’t want to spam, but we want to stay in the minds of people as well- I’m hoping that I’m able to find that balance soon.
Ok, so February specifics: we have had (in my opinion) a good month!
- We have seen new customers
- We have seen return customers
- We have added 9 states to our shipping map
- We attended our first vendor fair
- We put together a coffee bar for a private event
- We continued to sell bags of coffee, both locally and shipped within the US
- We successfully shipped a bag of our coffee to Japan
That’s a lot going on for our small business! I could keep going, but I wanted to stop here and mention why the points listed feel so significant.
We have seen new customers: This is fantastic- we are growing!
We have seen repeat customers: This feels SO GOOD. We think our coffee tastes delicious- and having someone purchase a second and third time shows that someone else thinks so too!
We added 9 States to our shipping map: We were able to add South Dakota, Virginia, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Michigan, Washington, Missouri, New Mexico, and South Carolina thanks to friends, family, and some random people from the internet!
We attended our first vendor fair: This was significant because it was our first time packing up our tables, commercial coffee brewer, cups, stock for sale, and other equipment, to make ourselves a little “booth”. It actually worked out really well that this event was one of the smaller ones that was less attended (according to the people who organized it) because it gave us a chance to “get our feet wet” so to speak, without immediately becoming overwhelmed and unable to keep up. –Which is also something that we were told as a coffee company would most likely happen at a busier event.
We put together a coffee bar for a private event: This was way out of our comfort zone, but ended up being really fun. Talk about not being able to keep up with demand! We had a line (seemingly) a mile long and orders backed up across the counter. The commercial brewer went constantly and still couldn’t keep up. Our personal espresso machine turned out drinks constantly and we still had a line. It was so fun and so rewarding hearing positive reviews of our drinks though! And we are so glad that we got the opportunity. We are even considering looking into what it takes to get a commercial catering license so that the business itself could do coffee bars at weddings or other gatherings- if there would be interest in such a service.
We continued to sell bags of coffee: This is essential- we’ve got to sell coffee to continue operating :)
We successfully shipped coffee to Japan: This was something we were supposed to get done last month, but failed to do so. I don’t know if you know this, but shipping to Japan is expensive. I don’t know that we will do international shipping anytime soon. But it’s still cool to mention that our coffee is officially in another country.
The only real negative that I have to say at this point: Shipping stinks. I hate that we have to charge $6.99 for 1 bag, $7.99 for 2, $8.99 for 3, and $9.99 for 4 or more bags. No one likes to pay shipping, we’ve all been spoiled by Amazon and I think that having to charge shipping deters some people from ordering. However, we have to. It costs us between $8-9 to ship a bag of coffee domestically. We take a loss on shipping because it’s already so inflated, and unfortunately there isn’t anything we can do about it.
But- other than shipping costs, I’m really excited with how the first two months have gone, and we are hoping that, if things continue the way they have, that we will be able to make a profit our first year in business. This is hard to do, but we have had amazing support from friends and family who have either purchased, shared our social media posts, or both. THANK YOU, from our entire hearts for helping make this dream a reality for our family. We have big plans for our small business!