The third wave of coffee has definitely arrived in the UK, and it is glorious.
People are expecting a higher calibre of cuppa, and the market is responding accordingly.
Working with our wholesale clients and helping new entrepreneurs up their coffee game, I have had the chance to meet the most wonderful, passionate and inquisitive coffee enthusiasts. And there’s been one thing I’ve noticed of late: the very welcome influx of women as owners and managers of exciting new venues.
During my own personal coffee journey, working in all sorts of different venues, I have worked with a great number of fantastic and inspirational female baristas. Though rarely have they been in the position of higher management or ownership. This seems to be changing.
We value all of our brilliant community and the push towards coffee excellence on all fronts, but I would like to just take the opportunity to celebrate (in the words of Destiny’s Child) “All the mommas who profit dollas”, and the rise of the female coffee shop owner.
Sian Griffiths – Pippin’s Corner
Originally known for the café Moon and Pea, Sian has been a strong part of Liverpool’s Lark Lane’s bohemian community for the best part of a decade. After Moon and Pea’s journey came to an end there was still no stopping this doyenne from continuing to add to this lovely part of our city.
Pippin’s Corner flourishes in the same space once occupied by Moon and Pea, but has undergone a complete transformation, with a completely new look, feel and fresh start. Sian has taken the lessons from her previous venture and set out with a clear vision for her latest project. Laughing, she modestly tells me that now she “Actually had a fraction of a clue,” when starting out and recalled the challenges she faced the first-time opening a new venue.
The stresses of dealing with tradesmen and knowing in what order tasks need to be dealt with, is something she tells me she “Really enjoyed …this time round.”
Sian got an early start in hospitality. Her family owned hotels in Llandudno and Sian would often be found helping out in the kitchen and other areas, making sure she gained experience in every department.
Her affinity with people is proven by the fact that many of her regular Moon and Pea customers have returned and are now continuing to support Sian in Pippin’s Corner. A fact that humbles Sian immensely.
Pip to the post
It is no wonder that Pippin’s customers are so loyal, Sian’s obvious joy at knowing that someone has enjoyed their experience leaves you unable to respond in any other way than reciprocated smiles and positivity: “The ‘Ooohing’ when you deliver an order to the table just makes your day!” This feeling obviously also translates to the people working for her, and Sian celebrates their enthusiasm, receiving lovely messages from her customers..
As we were talking, Sian paused to help someone who was looking for an address and offered names and directions to other venues on the Lane. She told me of the great sense of community shared by local business owners – something which Sian wants to further still with initiatives such as a trader’s association.
She has clear respect for her peers, calling Keith (of long-standing wine bar Keith’s) the ‘Yoda’ of Lark Lane’. If this is the case, then I would venture that Sian is a clear matriarch in this little community. Not only an established presence, but a current and contemporary businesswoman with enough savvy to notice the change in the way people spend money when socialising, but also possessing the integrity to not be swept up in trends that may not last.
In her words, her aim is for Pippin’s to be a mainstay in the area. Her vision, however, is anything but limited. Keep an eye on the movements of this awesome lady, for it doesn’t stop here. There is more to come…
Favourite coffee? A latte (but it has to be made by her…)
Favourite Destiny’s Child song? “I’m more of a prodigy girl, really…”
Angela Wilkes – Diamonds and Rust
We don’t have to go far to find another stand up dame. Angela Wilkes has opened another gem of a venue to nestle in to the ranks of Lark lane. A new café bar, Diamonds and Rust.
After a successful, yet challenging career in law, Angela made a considerable life change in leaving her previously secure situation to strike out on her own and be her own boss. Whilst she tells me that this was quite the adjustment after being part of such a structured hierarchy, and that she found herself looking around for approval on decisions, just to answer herself, “Oh, yeah. It’s my decision…” Angela also says she is greatly looking forward to the much more casual and social aspect of her role in Diamonds and Rust.
Already being welcomed into the community with open arms, Angela was visibly overwhelmed when telling me of the support she has already received in people coming forward to help her ready the site, from scrubbing surfaces to sourcing stock, to advice and encouragement. This common feeling of good will has helped her to do, in her own words, “Something brave, when I wasn’t sure I had the guts.”
Angela is obviously grateful of all of this support and wants to give back through Diamonds and Rust. by giving Lark lane somewhere to come and feel welcome, meet new people as well as to introduce to her clientele some of her own favourite discoveries from spending time in quality bars, restaurants and cafes.
On top of that, she will be having live musicians, so it will be a place to kick back and relax with a coffee or a cocktail (after a big lunch in Pippin’s Corner!) and enjoy some excellent music.
Favourite coffee? A nice Brazilian espresso, “Something to give you a good kick!”
Favourite Destiny’s Child Song? “I don’t know them… various humming and singing bits of songs …Oh, I know ‘Survivor’! I like that one!”