1 Feb 2017
Over a billion coffees are made all around the world every day. For many of us, coffee isn’t merely a hot drink; it’s woven into the fabric of daily life. We wake up to it, we work out on it, we socialise with it. In fact, more often than not we can’t get through the day without it! But coffee is so much more than a need for caffeine. It connects us.
Thirty-one year old entrepreneur and TAFE graduate Shane Hepburn has a close connection with coffee and with the Sunshine Coast. The Good Bean espresso bar owner said he loves the ‘perks’ of living on the Coast.
“I grew up on the beach; chasing early morning waves, fishing and surf lifesaving. Growing up, the Coast had it all… all except coffee,” he said.
According to Shane – who’s no mug – the Coast is fast becoming a hub for innovative small business.
“It’s a much safer environment to start a business. We’re lucky, there’s less commercialisation here than major cities,” Shane said.
“More importantly we’re a close knit community on the Coast. I had incredible support when I started the Good Been franchise all those years ago,” he said.
After finishing school, Shane had no real plans. “I was more focussed on music and surf lifesaving than anything else back then,” he recalls. He dabbled in music promotion and real estate for a few years before moving to America to work on the super yachts.
For 18 months Shane followed the seasons, taking guests on luxury cruises throughout France, the US, Mediterranean and Caribbean seas, chasing adventures around the world.
“The boat was 180 feet long and took me a good six hours to clean it every morning before guests woke up,” he said. “I’d start at 2am, clean it top to bottom, head back for a nap and then run water activities for the punters in the afternoon. It was good fun, but a lot of hard work.”
Returning home from his stint on the high seas, Shane was itching to start his own business and saw a niche in the Sunshine Coast market. An institution overseas, there was no well-established local coffee brand on the Coast.
Keen to learn more, he immersed himself in all that Melbourne had to offer. “I was intrigued by Melbourne’s coffee and customer service culture. Melbourne was leading the way and I saw an opportunity to bring elements of my experiences back home to people on the Coast,” he said.
In 2009, he gave it a ‘shot’ and opened the first Good Bean espresso bar in Mooloolaba and began the hard ‘grind’ of building a brand.
“I focussed on turning locals into connoisseurs, fastidious about the quality of coffee they consume and the way it is served,” Shane said.
“I hated the impersonal nature of customer service on the Coast at the time. People aren’t simply a name on a receipt or an order number yelled from behind a counter.
“A huge point of difference of ours is that we bring the personal touch back to coffee. We are all connected by coffee and our baristas understand that. They love their craft and are personally invested in every cup,” he said.
Committed to changing people’s perceptions about coffee, Shane decided to throw out the rulebook and look at his business through the eyes of his customers to create a unique coffee experience, relevant to everyone who he connected with.
Just like a full-bodied flat white, building a brand is delicate and complex. But when it’s finished and personally delivered to people in just the right way, they remember you.
“If you want to become an entrepreneur and own your own business there’s nothing really holding you back. Take the leap, and lead the company you’ve always wanted,” Shane said.