Coffee Project New York has been voted the best coffee shop in New York City by Time Out Magazine, gaining world wide attention within just a few years of opening – but it wasn’t an overnight success.
Chi-Sum Ngai and her partner Kaleena Teoh had no entrepreneurial experience when they decided to start a coffee shop, so when they first opened their doors in September 2015 they had no customers except for a few neighborhood regulars. However, the decisions the couple made in the early days, even before brewing a single cup of coffee, were instrumental in their eventual success.
Hear how they got their start by deciding to go to a coffee conference in Seattle on a whim, building a massive network of coffee experts and influencers that pushed them to open their own shop. We also uncover how they created a differentiated business in a city with thousands of coffee shops, and even dive into the financial details of building a business like this.
- 2:50 Getting the confidence to start a coffee business
- 4:10 Professional training at coffee school in Portland
- 4:45 Attending a conference and deciding to quit their full time jobs
- 7:30 How to remove risk from the start
- 8:40 Why a couple can start a business together
- 11:22 Scouting for a location
- 12:26 Almost giving up, but persevering
- 14:49 The costs behind starting a coffee shop
- 16:39 Working 7 days a week
- 17:58 How to differentiate in the coffee business
- 21:17 Recruiting a stellar team
- 22:45 Getting an investor
- 27:35 Passing the Q-Grader test
- 31:50 Expanding into a new location
- 35:10 Getting press and world-wide attention
- 38:56 How to grow your customer base