Inspiring Innovators -
Wake up and smell the inspiration
Three years after winning Inspiring Innovator of the Year 2018, Paul Beach, Head of Executives and Entrepreneurs, caught up with founder of the Little Coffee Company Lauren Le Franc to discuss going global and launching her range in Selfridges.
The past 18 months have brought challenges and opportunities to the Little Coffee Company. Lauren explains.
“It’s been very strange as usually I would have been travelling every three months or so, but I’ve been in one place the whole time. I’ve had to rely on people to liaise with farmers locally, but I have built a strong network and relationships. Different countries are experiencing Covid differently without the same access to vaccines and healthcare; the unpredictable weather has also meant stronger hurricanes, fires and landslides. It’s been hard for farmers to navigate such turbulent times.”
“But it has also brought focus. While I’ve missed the travelling, lockdown gave me a chance to really focus on some elements I’d not been able to give the time to, such as packaging, making overseas connections and building the team.”
The Little Coffee Company was awarded a kickstarter grant which has allowed Lauren to create new roles for her business.
“It’s really rewarding being able to grow the team and create jobs for people.”
Evolving the packaging was something Lauren knew she needed to tackle. Having been in touch with Adrian Boswell of Selfridges years ago, Lauren knew her product and her story were right for the fashionable department store, but the packaging did not match the product inside.
“It was really important to me the that the packaging told our story and included key elements of the brand. I found an up-and-coming Nigerian artist who hand drew the designs. We included key elements including the hummingbird, the national bird of Jamaica, banana leaves as a nod to the Caribbean, and because I work with female farmers, a fashionable, modern businesswoman to represent modern coffee farming. The tin itself is reusable which was important to me; it has an in-built degassing value so you can refill and your coffee will stay airtight.”
So how does it feel to be on sale in Selfridges?
“I didn’t know exactly when we’d be on the shelves, so I’ve been popping in to check, and when I saw the tins there, they looked so good. It felt amazing to see my brand on the shelves.”
And if Lauren has one piece of advice for this year’s Inspiring Innovator finalists?
“Speak to everyone. I found an amazing mentor at Inspiring Innovator and he has helped me so much; I can call him for advice, and he’s introduced me to loads of contacts. You never know who you might meet.”
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