Little Sister Coffee Maker

Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?

When deciding to open a specialty coffee shop, we knew our product needed to be the highest quality we could get our hands on. We also wanted to choose from within the Canadian market. So we got to work! We started tasting coffees from all of the specialty coffee roasters in the country. From there we figured out who we got along with. If we were going to be corresponding with and working closely with a roaster - we really wanted to see eye to eye and get each other's jokes.

After deciding on coffee, we needed pastries so naturally we went with the most reputable bakery in the city who also happen to be lovely people! To us relationships are just as important as quality, we like to work with people who are likeminded. Coffee is our thing. We wanted to and continue to focus on making coffee to the best of our ability. We bought top of the line equipment and source incredible coffee and then brew our hearts out. Coffee pairs well, and classically, with pastries. We wanted to leave that part to the baking experts so we source our pastries from a local bakery that does a bang-up job. They deliver them fresh every morning and we are confident that they are made with as much care as we make our coffee with.

How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?

We opened our coffee shop with a budget of $0 on marketing and promotions. With a big community of people, a strong Instagram and Twitter, we opened our doors and were flooded with friendly faces. Since then we have advertised twice in a small art publication and the rest has been word of mouth. We are lucky to live in a medium sized city with a small town feel - people talk and spread the word. This works in your favour when you've got something people like! 

Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?

We run our shop using the Shopify POS - through which we process all of our transactions. We use Instagram and Twitter religiously, both of which have helped spread our good news tremendously. We use Dropbox for sharing files, Quip for shared ongoing daily to do lists, and Spotify for music. The great thing about coffee is that you can't ship it :)

What are your top recommendations for new store owners?

Make a plan of where you want to go and how you want to get there. Listen to you - you're the only one who knows what the right thing for you, your lifestyle, and your family is. Collaborate! Share ideas and work with other small business owners - they are not your competition, they are your kin. Most of all - don't stop having fun.

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