Saturday, 10 November 2012

Chapter 1...... The Start of a Dream

Chapter 1......
The Start of a Dream

The Start of the Dream
It all started one spring morning in September 2010.
I was out walking with a girlfriend, William was just over 1, crawling around everywhere and wanting to get into everything, not sitting still for more than a minute.

A girlfriend called.... she was heading to my place and would see me soon.  Panic set in... I had left my house like a bomb had gone off.  I suddenly really wished that there were somewhere local that mums with young children could go to relax and have lunch with friends.

Research Begins
Research Begins
After brainstorming Ruth and I realised that there really wasn't anywhere locally that catered for mums with young children.

We walked our local shopping strip and came across one building that was up for lease. It was a reasonable size, relatively cheap but in need of LOTS of work and was just out of the high foot traffic area... not to mention that I don't have any money or experience in running a business let alone a cafe.

Was I wrong.....?

Was I wrong....?
I walked past this building many times over the next 2 months & it haunted me.

But the risk was just too large and one day it broke my heart, a LEASED sign hung in the window.  It felt like my dream was dead before it had begun; it hurts now just thinking about it.  Yes I cried and felt sick for weeks, I was totally at a loss.

Was it just US?
Was it just US?
The question was..... were we the only mums feeling this way?

I knew that before starting a small business you must know your target market... 
hell I was the target market, but I needed to know more.

Ruth got her fingers typing and created an online survey which we sent to everyone we could think of that had children and of course asked them to forward it on.

The Answer
The Answer
The feedback was simply awesome!!!!

As it turns out it wasn't just us (no surprise there). 
The feedback from our survey was spot on with what we would have answered ourselves (with the odd couple of exceptions.)
We were very careful in the way we worded our survey.... 
no point having a survey if you ask leading questions to get the answer you want.

Finding the Right Name.
Finding the Right Name
Simple enough yes? must be kidding, this was so amazingly frustrating.

The name needed to directly connect with our target market.
It had to be easy to say, spell & remember.

Then we had to check to make sure it wasn't already taken on ASIC, that the domain name was available, not to mention Facebook and Twitter.

and I had to LOVE IT!..... of course :-D

TXT in the MIDDLE of the Night
TXT in the MIDDLE of the Night
I'm not fantastic at waiting....there had been so many names and they were all sounding like mush, I was more than a little frustrated.

A simple message on my phone in the middle of the night promised to put an end to my hunt.....
I only had to wait ..... UNTIL THE MORNING!!!!

Our Name
Our Name
"The name of your business is.... The Coffee Apple!

Sounds like Toffee Apple so it’s easy to remember.
Coffee for the Mums and Apple is for the Kids"

Now to tell you the truth.... I wasn't so sure to start with.... 
but after 2 days I couldn't think of my dream as being anything else, 
every name I came up with, I compared with
The Coffee Apple.


the start of our online journey

Before this business I never knew that there were such things as  "Facebook pages"...
I thought Facebook was just for friends connecting.

While I was working full time I might have checked Facebook every couple of days... 
if I was lucky.

When William arrived, that changed completely ... suddenly I wasn't surrounded by friends and work colleagues but a small child.  I would hang for mothers group and the day that my mum would come to visit.  All the meals were cooked in advance and for the first time I understood what it meant to be lonely but still busy.

Don't get me wrong I LOVE BEING A MUM... I wasn't at all prepared for the complete and total change in my life.

It was again Ruth's idea that I should start up a Facebook page for The Coffee Apple.  I decided from the start that I would work the page as an online story of sorts, a ‘warts and all’ approach to starting a small business and to really test my dream idea and help generate not only interest, but also ideas.

The first 20 likers was very exciting... the next 12 were a little harder and then it happened... someone liked The Coffee Apple that neither Ruth or I knew.

STAY TUNED..... for Chapter 2
Our Sales
Our Sales 
         This time last year $11,747.87Sales this year $17,081.94
We are growing, but we are not yet covering costs.

The current mission is to build the shop so that it can stand on its own two feet and every sale makes a huge difference.

Word of Mouth...

We are growing our dream from scratch and sharing our journey along the way with you.

So how can you help?....

Actually it’s really easy, simply share this blog with a friend, a family member, someone at work.

Find us on Facebook, share your favourite products and recommend our little dream.

Don't forget (of course) to SHOP IN OUR SHOP.... either in Ringwood East or online.

Stay tuned for the NEXT CHAPTER in another month...  :-)
Word of Mouth is everything to
small business.   


  1. wow! what a ride. thanks for sharing your journey. i look forward to your next blog post!!

    1. WOW.... thank you sooo much. You are my very very very first person to comment on my blog... I really have my training wheels on for this one. :-D