Thursday, December 08, 2005

Recommended Book: Coffee Republic

Anyone Can Do It: Building Coffee Republic from our Kitchen Table
(Authors: Sahar and Bobby Hashemi)

This book is about an actual experience of a sister and brother building a business of coffee specialty outlets from just an idea into a real big business.

It started with an idea: One night in 1994 Sahar (the sister) said to her brother Bobby that she missed the experience of drinking coffee in the US, the taste, etc. At that time, to get coffee in London, you have to go to places selling sandwiches; coffees were merely additionals with poor taste, presentation (plastic cups and lids made from cheap materials). England was (and is) a tea drinking nation.

So Bobby thought building american style coffee outlet in London was a very brilliant idea.
With that idea in minds, they quit jobs. Sahar, formerly a lawyer, lost interest in the job, and Bobby, formerly an investment banker in the US, felt it's better for him to stay close with family in London (Sahar and his mother). They started the search and research for knowledge of coffee, the market, demand and supply, technology, potential places for outlets, financing alternatives, etc. This book gives so much valuable lessons in starting a business from zero.
About a year since idea (in 1995), they opened an initial outlet, the first Coffee Republic outlet.

Bobby almost gave up since it did not do well in several first months but eventually people spread the words of the great experience drinking coffee at Coffee Republic.
Coffee Republic expanded into 20 outlets a year after and became giant in 5 years and eventually publicly listed.

Sahar and Bobby did a great job, I admire their bro and sis relationships, their hardwork, dedication, courage, how they're so organized, and so smart as well. I enjoy reading the book.