Alumni Trio Coffee Business Launch

Redeemer Alumni, Cameron Walker (Class of 2011), Alex Groves (Class of 2013) and Felicity Hoopman (Class of 2012) recently teamed-up to create the fabulous new online coffee shop - 'Feind.
We caught up with them to find out more about this venture!

How did this business concept come together?

With more people staying and working from home due to the pandemic, we saw an increase in people diving down the rabbit hole of making coffee at home. With Alex and Cameron having backgrounds in coffee, it was a little soul crushing to see family and friends that we knew buying coffee beans from Aldi or Woolworths for their home machine.

We believe that Australia has some of the best coffee roasters in the world and wanted to create a central place to discover these amazing roasters and be able to purchase their beans for use at home. It was weird, we all kind of had the idea at the same time and were initially coy about sharing the idea with each other. We soon realised that there was great potential in combining our differing experiences and skill sets and came together to form ‘Feind.

What have been some challenges you have faced in this business journey, and what are some ways you have learnt or grown through that?

Whilst we are still very young as a company, there are so many things that you just don’t think of when it comes to getting a business off the ground. In your head, you go “I’ll just set up a Shopify store, list coffees from different roasters and that’s that.” Of course, it’s never that simple. It took us months and months simply to find the right software to automatically split and alert roasters once a customer places an order with their coffee. Then there was the issue of mounting shipping costs, building an initial customer base - the list goes on.

One thing we have done since the beginning is tackle every challenge together. Three heads are always better than one and there have been times where we have genuinely surprised ourselves with the solutions we have come up with. Also having a general respect for each other. Going to the same school as someone and running a business with them are two VERY different things. At the end of the day, we all know we just want what’s best for the business. We are all great friends and we think that helps. But we have a great understanding between us all. Sometimes we debate, but we have learnt each other's idiosyncrasies through this experience which has allowed us to form a great working relationship.

What have been the best aspects of doing what you do?

Drinking lots of free coffee, of course. Jokes aside (although that is a great benefit), we all have a passion for business and coffee. So, getting to “go to work” every day to build a business around coffee sometimes feels like a dream. Add working with incredible suppliers and roasters from all over Australia and sharing the experience of our customers trying great coffee at home and having their minds blown, and it makes the “challenges” of starting a new business all worthwhile.

What are some aspects of your time at Redeemer that have helped you on this path?

Obviously without the relationships we formed with each other through Redeemer, ‘Feind wouldn’t exist today. Also, how important collaboration is. Through the co-curricular groups that Redeemer offered, we met and saw how powerful it was when a group of people worked together to achieve a single goal. Programs like the College Musical also helped us to understand that with consistency and hard work, you can achieve some amazing things.

What has it been like so far running a business with people you went to High School with?

As we mentioned before, it’s two very different things. There definitely has been a learning period of getting to know each other at a deeper level, but our friendship and passion for ‘Feind has helped create an incredible working relationship.

What are some words of advice you would give to current Redeemer students who are looking to follow a similar career path after school?

There are many things we would say. Alex and Cameron would probably go on and on if given the chance. If we had to distill it down to 3 simple things, it would probably be the cliché answers (because they are true).

1. Find something you are inspired by. It makes it difficult to deal with the challenges if you’re simply doing it for the money.

2. Work hard. You have to put the hours in. This project alone is the cumulation of about 25 years of experience between us all in different jobs and skill sets. Every challenge or obstacle you overcome is another tool in the belt that you can use later in your career. Look at how every opportunity has the chance to further your skills and experience, you just never know when you will need it.

3. Be consistent. Realistically, if you are going to start a business, you should give it at least 2-3 years before you decide to change path. It takes so much more time than anyone realises to grow a successful business (speaking from past venture experience). You have to show up every day and give it your all and it will take time before you see the fruits of your labour. Obviously, you do want to market test and make sure your product is viable, but for us, that’s where success lies. Being able to show up and give it your all day after day and getting no result for months on end.