A few years ago, Jeff and Abby were looking for cheap ideas for date night. They found out that a local roaster was hosting weekly coffee tastings (called “cuppings”). They had a great time and the rest is history. Angels’ Cup is a coffee subscription designed to bring the cupping experience home and to help people learn about coffee. In this interview, Jeff offers a little insight into the journey so far.
What skill or ability is most important for an entrepreneur and why?
There’s a few. I think one really important one is to be flexible. You’re gonna start out with an idea and you’re going to get feedback from people, and you’re going to have to be able to understand what they mean when they give you feedback and make changes to your product. You have to be open minded and accept that feedback as best you can.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned?
We’ve learned a lot of lessons. I was very surprised at how difficult some things could be that I thought would be simple. It’s pretty obvious when you start a business that if you’re not a developer you’re not going to be able to code the website. But there are softer skills like copywriting.
I thought ‘I speak English, I can write a coherent sentence, I should be able to write copy well’ but I was surprised at how terrible a copywriter I was so I had to get a lot of advice from people, and read a few books on copywriting. That’s one skill in particular that I struggled to do well at the beginning.
Which books have helped?
I read ‘Pour Your Heart Into It’ by Howard Schultz the CEO of Starbucks. This was before I had any idea that I was going to do a coffee business, I actually found the book on the side of a street.
This book stuck with me in particular because when Howard Schultz started working for Starbucks, one thing he did differently was that he took a lot of time to care about his employees. He actually viewed his employees as just a different type of customer.
They come into Starbucks in the morning and they’re looking for something more important than just a cup of coffee, they’re looking for a livelihood a way to provide for their families, a way to pay for college and so he recognised those employees as just a different type of customer. It was important for him to satisfy those people, satisfy their needs and make sure they were happy working at Starbucks.
When you compare that to other fast food chains, I don’t think they treat their employees the same way as Howard Schultz did, so that was very inspirational and I think I learned a lot from that.
Do you enjoy hearing from coffee entrepreneurs? Check out our Q&A with cold brew coffee entrepreneur Hugh, from Sandows London.