Hey there! I’m Jim. I started my own ready-to-drink iced coffee company just over 5 years ago. Right now, I’m having the time of my life. Just for the record, I’m not cruising around in a Ferrari every day just living off my iced coffee dolla. Aside from running the business (with help from my sister!), I’m pretty busy talking about a subject close to my heart. It is one which has driven our businesses success: our story.
What is the brand’s ethos?
Having a ‘purpose’, other than just making money, has been the focus of endless business books, social media blogs, LinkedIn posts, talks, and conferences. This purpose is told through a company’s story. Regardless of a company’s size, it is the people behind the scenes that drive it. You need ‘real people’ to ‘keep it real’. Our iced coffee company ethos has, by default, become a business about the people behind it: they are the basis of our brand.
Why is a brand story so important?
I have been asked (please don’t think I’m showing off), on a number of occasions to tell our company’s story to a range of audiences: from year 8 students at a local school to Microsoft’s marketing department. But why are people so bothered? A story has immense power, unparalleled by most try hard marketing campaigns. When someone is buying your product or service you’re essentially asking them to believe in you, and a story gives them a reason to. I wholeheartedly believe that telling someone your story of how you got to where you are, will not only build your customer’s trust, but also help in achieving your end goal: for them to buy into you.
What is the brand story?
Basically, I got fed up of endlessly moving bricks on a building site during the UK’s harsh winter, so I decided to elope to Oz. When I was there, I found a new vice: iced coffee. But on returning home I found nothing that matched up. Everything was too sweet and sickly. So I decided to make my own, with help from my sister Sooz. She owns her own award-winning cafe and knows her coffee stuff. With our iced coffee, we wanted to replicate the feeling of total satisfaction I got every time I gulped a particular brand of iced coffee in Australia. The feeling of holding an ice cold carton in your hand, and the perfect combination of ingredients racing down your gullet. But more than anything we wanted to make people feel part of our family.
How did the company grow?
We sold our first carton in Selfridges, and are now stocked in Waitrose, Ocado, Welcome Break, Sainsbury, Budgens, Tesco, and loads of other cool places: it’s awesome. The excitement of knowing we could pick up one of our iced coffees up at the next petrol station or at our local supermarket was a brilliant feeling.
We enjoy telling our story everywhere…
Be it on our packaging, through our social channels, on our website or, dare I say it, actually face-to-face. Our business is called ‘Jimmy’s Iced Coffee’ because there happens to be a guy called Jimmy (me) who runs it. It was my dream to create it, so it makes sense for my name to be on it. Adding your own name adds the personal touch, making those who see it on their shelves ask “who is this Jimmy guy?”. Is it some made up name from the Unilever family as some sort of marketing stunt? Jamie Oliver’s mate? Maybe Batman’s third alter ego? Sadly not. It’s just a guy from Dorset riding high on his own supply (of coffee) while others are also doing the same: result!
Why do people love Jimmy’s Iced Coffee?
For me, part of the reason why I loved Aussie iced coffee was my mission to get hold of it and the experiences I associated it with. I drank iced coffee on long road trips, I drank it after surfing, feeling salty and crispy after being in the sea for 3 hours, and it was also the greatest hangover cure: all such fond memories. It was these feelings that I wanted to encapsulate in my brand and product, and I think we’ve done it.
What was your ‘wow’ moment?
I had a great remark from someone on Instagram recently saying “Jimmy, thanks for bringing Bournemouth beach to London, I need this in my life right now”. It’s a great example of someone who’s not buying because we’re the cheapest, or that it was all that was left on the shelf, but because it triggered a positive feeling within them. Our brand resonated with them and they felt happier having our products around them. That was a wow moment. We’re so lucky to be able to do that for people!
I’ll leave this post with a little statement. If you’re thinking of starting a business, don’t do it with dollar signs in your eyes. Do it with purpose. Do it for the people around you. If you’re really a big thinker, do it for the planet too. Regardless of whether you stick your name on your business or not, you should be proud enough to put your name to it. Starting a business takes passion, blood, sweat, and tears, but it will be the best adventure you’ve ever embarked upon. And it’s the story of that adventure which could propel you and your business to new heights: so tell it!