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Spotlight on Kaffeeklatsch: Building a Business in 25-Square-Feet

Lauren Marinigh | May 2, 2016

After struggling to find work after a short stint away, Jessica McCarrel decided to take her future into her own hands and start a small Kickstarter campaign to help start her own business, Kaffeeklatsch. From there, Jessica built a mobile pop-up coffee cart which made its first appearance at Nuit Blanche in Olympic Plaza in Calgary, Alberta. You can now find this pop-up espresso bar in its tiny location, tucked in the back of CommunityWise, a community space for Calgary grass-roots and non-profit organizations.

With a background in visual arts, Jessica graduated from the Alberta College of Arts + Design with a major in drawing. She has over eight years of directorial experience managing non-profit art organizations, and believes in establishing deep roots in the community. “I value the outstanding capacity coffee has in connecting people, as much as, the quality of coffee that facilitates it. With Kaffeeklatsch I wanted to communicate with very basic means the sensuality and delight found in drinking notable coffee,” Jessica explained.

CommunityWise Resource Centre was where Jessica was working previously and she saw the need for a communal space where everyone could come together. Jessica felt that with her knowledge of the space, and the people working there, this was a safe place to test out her business idea, while also serving and connecting with organizations she admires. In fact, she admires and supports them so much that one percent of her café’s sales goes back into CommunityWise.

But why did Jessica decide on creating a pop-up coffee shop versus a more permanent and larger location? Jessica explained that she chose a pop-up because she wanted a temporal and countercultural set up. “They’re [pop-ups] designed to deliver expertly brewed coffee to the masses with little start-up time and without much up-front cash,” Jessica said. “A coffee truck for example, can require a decent investment between buying, repairing and building out a vehicle or trailer. Pop-ups are generally spare and slim by design, made to be easily broken down and moved to a new location on a whim.”

Jessica had a simple desire to serve coffee to people, which turned out to be way more complex then she imagined. Before starting Kaffeeklatsch, Jessica had a love for coffee but she discovered that she was largely ignorant about the drink, which required a learning curve in itself. “Now that my understanding has grown, I’m always very excited to share coffee and coffee knowledge with others,” Jessica said. Jessica has set out to encourage coffee drinkers to explore and learn more about the coffees produced, and to find new ways to enjoy the coffee they buy every day.

The space that Kaffeeklatsch currently sits in is only about 25 square feet, but Jessica has found a system that works for her. “With a small space every action needs to be intentional,” Jessica said. “It dictates the approach to making and drinking coffee.” But after testing out her business concept, Jessica is now hunting around for a new and exciting space, and will be expanding her mobile and catering services with an espresso bar and coffee trike, and she has hopes to grow Kaffeeklatsch into something more permanent.

Jessica wanted to leave other entrepreneurs with one piece of advice: “Stupidity and blind faith are your allies. Seriously, sometimes in order to make something work you need to turn off your rational brain and rely on your subconscious to guide you.”

You can follow KaffeeKlatsch on Twitter here, or like them on Facebook here.

Note: The photos for this article were taken from the KaffeeKlatsch Instagram account. Follow them here!

Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada