Start-Up of the YearBack to Winners
Sponsored by Mid Kent College & Ward Security
KEY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Coffee retailer
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 5
To many customers, HatHats Coffee is the coffee van which comes around each day to give them a break from their day’s work. For founding husband and wife team Lisa and Louis Hurst, the company is built on the mantra that “a business that just makes money is a poor business”. It has capitalised on the emerging trend for artisan coffee, which is not offered from larger chains.
Its bosses wanted to differentiate itself from the scandals surrounding other firms in the industry for not paying tax or sourcing their beans unethically. All the coffee served in its classic restored Citroen HY van is from Fair Trade suppliers and the business sponsors girl’s football and has given hot drinks and clothing to the homeless at Christmas.
It has also invested in developing the coffee-growing world, sending children from across east Africa to school, building a bakery and running its Bean Doing Good initiative. It supplies coffee under licence to eight locations across Kent and wants to expand this to 50. Present clients include East Kent College, Hornby Visitor Centre, Yarrow Hotel and Reculver Visitor Centre.
Turnover is forecast to come in at £113,000 for 2016 and the company aims to launch four directly-run stores within three years. Its move online is expected to increase staff numbers to 15.
Founder Louis Hurst, who is chief executive of the Amelix Group and a former KEiBA entrepreneur of the year finalist, said: “We are really chuffed to be nominated for such a prestigious award so early in our journey, there are so many amazing people that have helped us along the way.
“Our vision is to become a complete coffee company controlling every element from bean to cup. We have big plans to buy and build out own plantation in the coffee-growing developing world, not only giving all the workforce a fair wage but also housing, healthcare and education.”