Bean & Bread
Following her time living in New Zealand, Jessica Fletcher decided to fulfil her dream and open a café with an unusual twist – a ‘Toast and Toppings’ coffee shop, a concept that is very popular in New Zealand and is starting to make its way to the UK.
Jessica started Bean & Bread in 2018 in Abergavenny, bringing South Pacific flavours and ideas to Wales and offering excellent coffee and high-quality food, sourced locally wherever possible.
What they did
"Living in New Zealand for a few years was all the inspiration we needed to come home to Wales and set up our own hub: a place where the local community could experience something totally different.
Catering for a variety of diets was always on the cards, but we wanted to introduce something bigger: a space where people feel transported, can practice yoga, listen to acoustic music or simply soak up the atmosphere in the company of family and friends." – Jessica Fletcher, owner at Bean & Bread.
Jessica got in touch with the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service and after attending a number of workshops, she received advisory support, enabling her to start her coffee shop.
What would they do differently?
"We're currently just two months into trading so I'd say at this point it's too early to gauge. However, if I’d had more time before finding the right premises, I would have undertaken more market research."
Their proudest moment in business
"It's hard to pinpoint my proudest moment but one that stands out was my first Saturday trading. I took a moment out and watched everyone enjoying their time in the coffee shop. It was amazing to see Bean & Bread full of people. It made me realise how worth the 8 months of writing my business plan, researching prior to opening and planning my business had been."
Do they use Welsh in their business? If so, how has this helped them
"I have met with Welsh in Business numerous times to discuss how I could introduce the Welsh language into my business. They have been extremely supportive in offering to translate the menu/signs etc. to encourage Welsh speakers to visit us. We are yet to move forward with this, however, I believe that when we do, it will make a huge difference to the business, especially where we're located in Abergavenny."
Describe the type of support (financial / non-financial) they’ve received from Business Wales / Welsh Government
As she’d never run her own business before, Jessica contacted Business Wales for help with starting her coffee shop, Bean & Bread. She attended a start-up workshop, as well as a number of marketing and recruitment courses, before receiving further support from a Business Wales adviser, Mel Phipps.
Mel was able to help Jess with her business plan, cashflow forecasting, market research, marketing, pricing, tendering, insurance, tax and NI. As a result, Jess was able to secure a £20,000 start-up loan, as well as Monmouthshire County Council’s grant of £1,000.
This, alongside further Business Wales support with recruiting staff, gave Jess the confidence to get her new venture off to a flying start and launch it in August 2018, creating three jobs. She is already looking to work in partnership with a local yoga instructor to offer early morning yoga sessions, together with live music events with local musicians, and will be exploring further Business Wales growth support including HR and training.
Additionally, in line with her commitment to the Business Wales Green Growth Pledge, Jessica is planning to market her coffee shop to the local community, including cyclists, to ensure that everyone feels included. She will also be using biodegradable packaging where possible and placing an emphasis on reducing food waste.
Jessica said: "Business Wales has been the catalyst for me starting my business. From the get-go at the 'Taking the Plunge' workshop, I was supported and encouraged to pursue my dream business. I couldn’t be more thankful to my adviser who has been by my side the whole way and to this day still offers me tips and advice. I would encourage anybody who is thinking about starting their own business or already has one to get in touch with Business Wales. Whether a month or 2 years in. Their advice is professional, relatable and you'll always take something away that you wouldn't have necessarily thought of yourself."
Here are Bean & Bread’s top tips for anyone else looking to start or grow their own business:
- seek help from Business Wales and attend as many workshops as possible
- conduct as much market research as you can before taking your idea to the next step
- look into hidden costs such as rates, electrics and plumbing and ensure this is factored into your cashflow
- underestimate your cashflow rather than overestimate it
- keep your ideas flowing after you've started trading, ensure the business keeps evolving