Ishaanee Amar Haware, who founded The Koffee Works, inherited her love for coffee from her dad, I N Venkatesh Gowda.
Talking about her venture, Ishaanee says, “Coffee may just be a beverage for many, but it is a way of living for us” – quoting my dad (I N Venkatesh Gowda), who is a tycoon in the industry. He owns coffee plantations spanning thousands of acres, and has also been in the coffee exports business at a large scale, managing almost 40% of exports in the country. We brew coffee made from handpicked coffee beans grown in our own estates in Chikmaglur. Experts have crafted a blend exclusively for The Koffee Works. This is just the beginning, there is so much more in store…”
Visiting coffee plantations while growing up in Bangalore, Ishaanee learned a lot about different types of coffee, about how the weather and environment affects its quality and taste and about ideal conditions for its growth. All this eventually helped her when they were working on developing the blend for their coffee at Koffee Works.
Currently based in Mumbai, Ishaanee founded The Koffee Works at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai this year itself.
How did you become an entrepreneur?
Passion and heritage are two strong factors that motivated me to start The Koffee Works. Passion for coffee, class, style, interior designing, baking amalgamated with heritage — as I am the 13th generation in my family who is in the coffee industry. Till date, we haven’t had an Indian origin café with world-class ambience and products that reach utmost perfection, service so warm and with a touch of ideas from various travels. This is where I wanted to showcase my idea.
What’s the concept of ‘The Koffee Works’ and what’s your vision behind it?
The Koffee Works is about COFFEE, COFFEE & MORE COFFEE… The taste of our coffee will resonate in every coffee connoisseur’s palate. We bring to our customers coffee served in top-class ambience, along with a patisserie with lip-smacking cupcakes, macaroons, brownies, & savouries. Our coffee beans travel all the way from Chikmaglur. A blend is handcrafted to work for you. Generally, coffee served by a lot of brands is made from coffee beans that have been in the roasted beans form or powder form for more than a year. At The Koffee Works, we want to bring an organic change by reducing this time period and serving you the freshest coffee!
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Target audience: A large number of students have already expressed how much they have enjoyed the unique products being served in our café along with the unique taste of our coffee. We aim to start home delivery soon. A lot of women have also visited the café and expressed their interest in holding their parties at our café. We are looking to start special combos for women.
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We are planning to host retro nights, EDM nights, events such as showcasing the latest collection of top designers in the city, music events, book reading activities etc at our cafe.
What is the USP?
We give you fresh coffee beans from the family’s farms, with the highest quality of Coffee Arabica along with presenting the finest art of brewing with a mix of what has been passed on from generations and modern technology! The Koffee Works is not only the first café that serves macaroons in Navi Mumbai, but also serves the best ones in the city.
What market gap are you trying to address with your venture?
In a lot of places, I have observed that the quality of the coffee being served is very mediocre. We want to change that. Experts have handcrafted our unique blend and we have spent more than 6 months perfecting it. We have tried to freshen up the mood of the café as well with bright red, blue and yellow colours and bright lighting. Our first store has been receiving excellent feedback for breaking the stereotype of dull and sober cafes and providing a fresh place for customers to feel awakened and happy and excited. We plan to open a new store within next 2-3 months and make it a chain of cafes in the next couple of years.
What are the current projects or initiatives you are working on? What makes you different from your competitors?
I am currently concentrating on expanding the business. We are the first of its kind in Navi Mumbai, and will soon spread along the city, state and country. We will also concentrate on retailing our coffee powders because there have been too many customers wanting to buy them.
What were the initial days like — what kind of challenges you’ve faced and are still facing as an entrepreneur?
One of my early challenges was leaving a very lucrative job to start something from scratch. I know everything that needs to be done in the café. But when I get someone else to do those things, they don’t happen perfectly the first time, and it is very difficult for me to see it not being perfect. So, in a way, managing my own expectations has been the biggest challenge.
It is my first business venture on my own, and every day there are new challenges. Something stops working. The electric connection gets damaged. The machines stop working. Vendors and suppliers miss deadlines. Every day there is a new learning for me. I just go with the flow. I try not to get tensed and handle the situation in a way I would have if the problem did not exist. It helps me stay calm and take decisions that are well thought out.
What has been the most rewarding part of building the business?
The results are evident! Building a business has given me knowledge in so many various fields like marketing, civil, architecture and so many things. The learning process continues. I learn from my team, friends, vendors, learning is just infinite. You put in that extra effort, you see it pay off.
How would you define The Koffee Works and your effort in manufacturing in one crisp sentence?
The Koffee Works: Koffee that will awaken your senses.
One quote that defines Women Power in India?
“ Make your best effort, chase excellence every day and don’t worry about the results, they will follow” – Nita Ambani.
What advice would you give to fellow entrepreneurs?
I don’t think that I’m that experienced to give advice, but all I would like to say is that if someone says that you can’t do something, then work twice as hard to prove him or her wrong!
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