-Hi David, how are you?
-Good, thanks. A little bit hot today!
Yes, it’s really hot. Do you have ice-coffee?
We do have ice-coffee. When it’s hot people love our iced coffee! I’m looking forward to being able to use our outdoor space in this hot weather too.
Yeah, that’s what I’ll definitely be asking you about because I’ve always been curious about that. Ok, could you tell us what’s your business in Shoreditch about?
A year ago my partner Kaz and myself founded Shoreditch Grind – an independent espresso bar, along the lines of the so called ‘third wave’ in the coffee movement… very Aussie inspired… Kaz is Australian. Basically we wanted to make amazing coffee in a really cool space and also bring it together with music. We’ve got a recording studio upstairs as well. We’re both very into music, and Kaz is a musician… so really it was a space to bring coffee, music and soon alcohol together as one.
Great stuff. What is the kind of music that Kaz is working on?
Kaz used to be one-half of the group called The Body Rockers, had a worldwide smash hit ‘I like the way you move’, but other than that he’s a DJ and about to put a new album out. Kaz has got two passions: music and coffee.
What would you say was the biggest challenge when setting up the business here in Shoreditch?
Definitely getting the place right in terms of how it looks and the brand. We took on the space as an office block, and had to completely gut it, which was a big job. Then we started and built walls inside here and started with a completely different layout, but then we realized it wasn’t right and we had to rip it all down again! It had to be perfect. I guess the biggest challenge was the whole process of getting open, it was a huge challenge and it took as twice as much time and money as we imagined it would. But it was absolutely worth it.
I remember the night before opening we were here all night… until about 6am and we were due to open at 7! We went home, got changed, and then came back to open with no sleep! Once we were open I went home for a sleep and by the time we came back a few hundred people had come through the door and bought coffee and some food. All of a sudden there was some money in the till and people saying what a great coffee they’d had and how much they liked what we had done. It was so nice to see that’s it’s actually going to work. From there it kind of exploded.
Did you have an idea for design before or it just came up while you were working on it?
We kind of knew the vibe we wanted: quite minimal, stripped back, lots of exposed brick and industrial finishes… very ‘Shoreditch’ I guess. We had an Australian designer, who is amazing, to do some drawings, then we interpreted it on site. We’re really pleased with it. People come in here photographing the space all the time…. and someone’s shooting an advert or film or something pretty much every week, so I guess that suggests we got it right. We’re really lucky with the building itself.
Yeah, it’s definitely a unique landmark in the area. So what would you say was the best part of setting up your business?
The nice thing about business like this is that you make a decision about something, you implement it really fast and you’re then judged purely on that decision. You can introduce a new product overnight and quickly measure if it works or not, you can tweak it, change and play with it. It’s a great project and you get to continuously work at it and if you’ve got the kind of passion to strive for it to be perfect it will just keep getting better and better.
Ok David, what would you say are the DO’s and DON’Ts for running a business, especially in Shoreditch?
The general tips would be to do your numbers and plan, plan, plan… especially in a recession, you have to be conservative. Be prepared that whatever kind of business you open there’s a ton of stuff you have to do and learn about, which is not at all related to your business. Say you open a clothes shop and you think: ‘I need to know about clothes’ but you don’t just need to know about clothes…. you just need to know about sales, HR, accounting and twenty other things you never even thought about. And be prepared to work hard. In terms of setting up a business in Shoreditch.. I love that you can be quite quirky and creative here. For example, some of the stuff we write on our cinema sign has the right vibe for this area. If you want to do something creative, Shoreditch is a great place.
What are your favorite businesses in Shoreditch?
There’s so many! I love Shoreditch House, I think it’s an amazing space. I really like The Boundary, everything on Brick Lane and all the great little bars like Callooh Callay. Wherever I go I just find myself drawn back here.
What do you think is needed in Shoreditch for the new businesses to flourish faster?
I think starting any new business in London is not easy, it’ll always be expensive. I do think it’s a good environment for opening businesses though. Things like a better internet connection would be good, especially since we’re in Silicon Roundabout! But overall, it’s a great place to start a business.
And of course I have to ask… what’s your favorite coffee?
It has to be the flat white. It’s the classic and our specialty…. It’s the coffee that defines the third wave movement that we’re a part of because it didn’t really exist in this country before the Aussie independents started to pop up.
What do you see coming for Shoreditch Grind in few years’ time?
We’ve just opened a professional recording studio upstairs. We’ve started to have people recording in there which is great. We got our alcohol license about two weeks ago, so within next couple of weeks we’ll be opening much later and serving some amazing wines and cocktails. Also we’ve got our large area outside… we’re going to fence that off and make an amazing back door space back there. I can’t say too much… it’s a bit of surprise but it’s going to be great.
Beyond that we’re looking at other sites to roll out Shoreditch Grind to a couple more maybe. We’d like to do one more in the heart of Shoreditch and maybe then think about Soho or Islington. We’ll see how it goes! Right now we’re focusing on making this place absolutely perfect because I think what we’ve done here has really served us well…. We’ve done one thing at a time and done each thing really well and so we need now to build on that. I want to focus on keeping it consistently really amazing here.
That’s the thing. Since I’ve come here I’m always coming back because I find it cool, different, friendly and I love your playlist as well as coffee! It’s more than just having a coffee, it’s the whole experience. Thanks David, looking forward to all that’s in store for Shoreditch Grind.
Great, thanks a lot.