They say that in order to create a successful business, you have to create a product that people need. So when Ben Goodman and Elliott Haralambous found themselves lamenting the fact that the coffee capsules they were drinking didn’t contain the same quality blend as their favourite cafés, they knew they were onto something.
“At the time of starting the business, Elliott and I were working as management consultants at the same organisation,” says Ben, who adds that the pair were racking up some pretty serious hours between them. “Often, we’d have to stay back late at the office and need a caffeine fix to keep us going, however, the cafés that we’d go to during the day were all closed. I remember there was this little coffee capsule machine in a kitchen. We thought, why doesn’t somebody put the actual coffee from cafés into the capsules?”
The pair then decided to create a product that they would love to use, and Pod and Parcel, a company that produces coffee capsules that don’t compromise on taste, was born. The self-confessed connoisseurs of coffee scour their local cafes in Melbourne, searching for the perfect blend to include in their unique capsules, which are compatible with any Nespresso machine. They’re also locally manufactured. Oh, and they’re environmentally friendly too. Now, six months since launching, the boys tell us what they’ve learnt on their start-up journey thus far…
It’s Normal To Feel Out of Your Depth
“In my opinion, if you don’t feel a little out of your depth every so often then you might be getting a little too comfortable,” says Elliot, who admits that he and Ben have already had their fair share of hurdles to overcome. “I think our largest issue has been our supply chain. Before we started Pod and Parcel, I wouldn’t have believed some of the difficulties we would face. When you are a small player in a field of giants, it can be challenging to get the attention of the suppliers that you want to work with.”
Don’t Quit Your Day Job – Yet
As Ben and Elliot are bootstrapping their venture, they’re currently throwing themselves into their new business while holding down full time jobs. It’s certainly not ideal, but necessary for a lot of entrepreneurs in their position.
“At the moment, we’re currently still working full time and working on Pod and Parcel full time,” says Elliot. “This means a lot of late nights, weekends and early mornings. We are hoping to make the plunge soon but we want to achieve some goals before we get there.”
You Can’t Plan For Everything, And That’s OK
Before embarking on their venture together, Ben and Elliot knew it was important to go in with their eyes open. “We set expectations with each other pretty early on that it would require a whole lot of work and some initial capital,” says Elliot. However, there are some things you just can’t plan for – and that’s OK, says Ben. “You have to know decisions will come that you could have never accounted for, and you have to be agile enough to make a decision on the spot,” he advises. “Also, you have to be realistic and understand when creating a product it will probably take three times longer than you thought, and cost double.”
Find Your USP And Run With It
For Pod and Parcel, it’s making sure that their obsession with quality doesn’t come at the expense of the environment. Which, considering that Australians consume up to 3 million coffee capsules every day, is potentially revolutionary. “Being environmentally friendly is definitely a consideration that is the forefront of our product,” says Elliot. “Currently, we’re in the process of creating biodegradable coffee capsules, which I think is a massive step in the right direction. We also have plans to join a recycling program that is made for coffee capsules to ensure end-to-end environmental considerations are being met.”
Enjoy What You Do
“Most importantly, the best lesson that I have learned is that there is nothing more satisfying than having happy customers for something that you have created,” says Ben. “Knowing that your hard work actually impacts someone’s day positively, even in something so small as a coffee at home in the morning, is really rewarding.”