Rachel Berry, co-owner of Barista Academy, discusses motivations for setting up a social enterprise and why she wants to help her community.
What does your business do?
Generosity Coffee is a social enterprise coffee company created to help New Zealanders generate much needed funds in their local community for a wide range of activities and causes. We give back 20 per cent of profits from every bag of coffee sold to fundraisers, organisations and charities who collaborate with us.
We wanted to help as many groups as possible so we collaborate with fundraisers of all shapes and sizes. The idea came about in April when we were on holiday and by June we had a coffee company. We sell the coffee online but also have a little roastery with a cafe espresso bar in Birkenhead in Auckland's North Shore.
What was the motivation for starting it?
After 25 years in the coffee industry, me and my husband Nic had a pretty good idea of what Kiwis appreciate in a great "cuppa". It kind of grew organically, and started with us teaching our micro roasting courses at The Barista Academy.
On the spur of the moment we bought our own roaster and then decided we'd better use it for more than just the odd course as it seemed a waste to have it sitting around. Like all of our businesses The Barista Academy, Cafe Start Up School and The Bartender Academy, we wanted our coffee brand to have a tangible purpose, to help others help themselves.
We always felt that hospitality had no resources available to it and you could never get enough people so we started down this road 15 years ago to set up the best training there could possibly be with the Barista Academy.
We've travelled all over the world teaching people how to make coffee, and have always wanted to do our own beans. We ruminated over it for a long time but wanted to do it differently so that we weren't just another producer of coffee beans in the market.
What's different about your coffee?
Because the Barista Academy is our main business, we don't need to be just another coffee company trying to be another company. The Generosity Coffee blend uses ethically-sourced beans from Guatemala, Columbia and Brazil resulting in a moreish cuppa which is rich and full bodied, with a hint of dark chocolate.
What are your long term plans?
I don't know at this stage, it's still a baby. I've learnt in business that it takes you a long by the hand - you think it's yours but really it is its own thing. I'm going with the flow and watching it develop. It's so good to see the good that it does, small stories to big stories, like helping the local play centre build a baby room to helping the North Shore water polo kids get to their world champs to helping organisations like KidsCan - it really excites me to be helping them all.
I'm a very practical business person when it comes down to it. I really want to see a well-run for profit 'do-awesome-stuff-in-this-space', ethical social enterprise.
How do you split time between Generosity Coffee and Barista Academy?
I work on strategy, sales and partnerships for both businesses - there is a never ending to-do or want-to-do list. Generosity Coffee is taking up much more time at the moment as it's in the initial start-up phase, which is kind of like jumping on a rollercoaster in the dark. Things flow really well for me if I take the time to set up my day gently but with intention.
My best days start with a dog walk on Long Bay beach after dropping the kids to school. I use the walk to prioritise, gain perspective over things that may be frustrating me and I love that inspiration or solutions often strike while I watch the dog zoom around the beach like an sand-covered idiot.
What's the hardest part about being in business?
It's all fun, there's always challenges but that's part of the rollercoaster. There's a curve-ball everyday but I've changed my mindset about it so it's not a problem.
What advice do you give to others thinking about starting their own business?
Everyday there's a problem - don't give into it, it's part of the fun.