Recently our Instagram following reached 10K followers. This is a huge achievement considering the business is less than a year old! We took this opportunity to speak to the Founder and CEO, Micky Wang, to reflect on where it all began and how we got here.
Q: What are the origins of I’M NOT A BARISTA?
My journey started a few years ago in 2016, when I was working as a marketing manager for a tech company. They were designing and producing a robots that could make pro barista level coffee. Through this project, I got to meet baristas and people in the coffee industry. I started to learn about the talent and effort that goes into each cup of coffee. You may be a world champion of latte art, but you still have to go back to your job cleaning tables, often for minimum wage. People often think of a barista as an unskilled job and maybe don’t appreciate the training and the work and passion for coffee. I wanted to change this perception of the hard working individuals behind the cups.
Q: How does it feel to get to 10K followers on Instagram in under a year?
It feels like a long journey for me, but the growth of I’M NOT A BARISTA has been really fast. There are many coffee bloggers who have taken years to reach 5K, I am so happy we have managed to reach so many people so quickly. But it’s not just down to me. We wouldn’t have been able to reach this goal without the help of our board members, Sebastian Franzén, Kaie Bird, Smayah Uwajeneza, Adrian Necula, our talented interns, our volunteers team, Ronita Dragomir, Paul Wong, Victoria, Darren Meachem, Sean Ellis, Wollner Uri, Nasser, and big supporters and coffee bloggers, such as Maja from the UK, Valentina from Italy, Alvin from Hong Kong, Lisa from Aeropress, and all the #brewathome partners around the globe. Our message has reached people all over the world, from coffee bloggers, local coffee retailers, to regular people who love coffee.
Q: You have had many campaigns, do you think it is the success of these campaigns, connecting the retailers to the consumers, that has led to your rapid growth?
For and our #brewathome campaign, it was important to connect consumers to local coffee businesses. We act as the middleman, providing a platform to connect everyone in the coffee community. When we started we had guest speakers from some of the biggest espresso machine brands such as Faema, Slayer, Della Corta. They shared their insightful knowledge about espresso drink and how to use their machines, which would usually require you to hire a trainer for a day. They were happy to provide this for free at our zoom parties because they were able to get behind the cause.
Q: Since the pandemic, many independent cafes have had to close, many baristas have lost their jobs. How has I’M NOT A BARISTA responded to this difficult time for the industry?
Unfortunately, many baristas are struggling at the moment. During this time we have given over our platform to baristas to show off their talents. We have given baristas the chance to take over the #brewathome account, they could live stream on the account and talk to other coffee lovers. From this scheme, some out of work baristas have been able to find jobs in the industry and feel connected to a wider community. We want to help people feel less isolated.
Q: So there has been the #brewathome campaign, are there any other campaigns you have been working on?
We are currently running the #coffeemoutache campaign. We have teamed up with Subminimal and encouraged our followers to submit photos of themselves with a coffee moustache. This is to bring a smile to people’s faces and raise awareness for mental health of baristas, hospitality workers and remind everyone to check in on each other at these difficult times. This a competition and the winners will receive a state of the art Nanofoamer and Flowtip Milkjug to create lattes, cappuccinos and other foamy creations at home as well as some great coffee from some of our #brewathome partners. This has been a successful campaign so far with lots of entries. We hope this is a partnership we will continue in the future.
Q: what do you see for the future of I’M NOT A BARISTA?
We thrive on collaboration. We wouldn’t be able to do much without our great community that we have built. We want to continue to connect people to their local coffee suppliers and feel closer to the global coffee community. We are currently developing a couple of projects. An app to connect people to local coffee businesses, and #brewathome brewing guide with different methods and recipes for making great coffee at home. We work best as a cross promotional platform, getting the endorsement from big brands while being able to highlight smaller players in the community. We want to help small businesses in this difficult time and baristas who are looking to train for their first title. This year was our first year at the Global Coffee Festival 2020 which was an amazing opportunity to connect with people virtually. We are looking forward to a time when we can connect with the coffee community face to face.
Looking back on where it all began under a year ago, the company has come a long way. Not only do we have 10K Instagram followers, but we have had many successful campaigns, made our first appearance at the Global Coffee Festival, and connected so many people in the coffee community.