Mochas in hand, the Vida Team recently headed out to Indianapolis to attend Coffee Fest. Coffee Fest is a 3 day festival that showcases the perfect blend of what it takes to open a business within the coffee industry: industry trends, training and workshops, and the chance to engage in competitions like ‘America’s Best Espresso.’
The Vida Team discovered that if it looks like coffee, smells like coffee, goes with coffee, or is coffee, they could learn about it at Coffee Fest!
Kat Djokic, President of Vida, shared that attending Coffee Fest was an eye opening experience that exposed her to more of the decisions she would have to make with the Vida Team, “from deciding the insulation of a cup, ingredients in a particular syrup, and the way we organize our personnel- every decision we make needs to be well-researched and enhance the customer’s experience.”
The Vida Team learned three key valuable lessons they hope to share with everyone on the journey with them:
Lesson #1: Taking the first (espresso) shot
Like a bold shot of espresso in the morning, the Vida Team learned that it was essential to stay on their toes while meeting industry professionals.
“It is important for us to embrace a ‘Why Vida?’ mentality. Being able to explain why three students are networking with chocolate providers, taking classes about direct-trade and working with consultants on our financial strategy is what helped us come out of Coffee Fest with strong professional relationships,” said Sara Manjee, COO for Vida.
Being able to take the first shot, as bold and smooth as a nice espresso was critical to the Vida Team being a successful team at Coffee Fest.
Lesson #2: A Community is Brewed
In a session titled, “How to Brew a Community-Building Business,” Sara learned about how a mission and vision that is built by the community can drive a coffeeshops success further.
Taking this knowledge back to the Vida Team, they spent countless hours continuing to develop the vision for Vida.
The Vision: to tell the story of life. The story of life for the beans, farmers, students, and communities.
Krsyatl Chao, Director of Retail framed the vision as “a way to engage both the local and global community as they continue to brew the most innovative vision for a coffeeshop in Milwaukee.”
As the Vida Team returned to Milwaukee, they continued to partake in workshops to develop their mission and vision even more.
Lesson #3: The Daily Grind
One of the biggest takeaways for the Vida Team was learning about how much goes into ‘the daily grind,’ that is, the day-to-day workings of managing a coffee shop.
Kat said attending the Coffee Fest expo opened her eyes to all of the little details that slipped her mind while focusing on the bigger picture. “I now know a lot of what was the ‘unknown’ for me. There are many things to keep track of while creating the perfect experience for each customer. One of the things I will spend more time on these next few weeks is curating the perfect menu for each Vida location.”
The Vida Team learned a lot about what it takes to ‘Live La Vida Mocha.’ We hope to continue to ‘espresso’ our learnings throughout this journey, and soon tell the story of Vida, and of life, to you over the perfect brew.