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.

Published

12th November 2021

Author

Paul Beach

Category

Lauren Le Franc

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.

 

The little coffee company at Selfridges
Lauren has been able to expand internationally too, which has been sailing.
“It was tough to try and get all of the documents to be able to export and ship from the UK to the Middle East. Then I found out the documents they wanted in the Middle East didn’t actually exist in the UK - and they were needed in Arabic. But everyone was so helpful and people sent photos and videos of shipments and documents so I could check with the client that the translation was right. It’s been an amazing experience.”
Lauren even had the UK Secretary of Trade in Doha get involved and meet with her client for coffee.

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.

Inspiring Innovator 2021 will take place in November. For more information, please get in touch.

The little coffee company tin

Becoming a client

Take control of your finances today by completing our enquiry form. Alternatively, you can call us on the number below and one of our team will be more than happy to talk about your future.

+44 (0)20 7012 2500

Enquiry Form

This is required

Services of interest

This is required

This is required

Our clients typically lodge assets with us or borrow from us over £500,000. This level qualifies clients to enjoy banking services at Arbuthnot Latham without fees.

This is required

Our clients value a highly personal relationship banking service. Commercial customers are usually running businesses with a turnover of greater than £1m per annum.

This is required

This is required

This is required

This is required

This is required

This is required

This is required

How did you hear about Arbuthnot Latham?

This is required

This is required

This is required

This is required

This is required

This is required

This is required

This is required

This is required

View our Privacy Notice

This is required

Author -

Paul Beach

Paul Beach

Director, Head of Executives and Entrepreneurs, Arbuthnot Latham

Paul is passionate about the entrepreneurial eco-system in UK and is proud to lead the Executives & Entrepreneurs Team at Arbuthnot Latham. He is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs at all stages from start-up to exit and beyond. Paul joined the bank in 2010 from Barclays Wealth and during the last decade the team has grown considerably in terms of headcount, experience and clients. Paul has established many partnerships and is the founder of the Inspiring Innovator programme.