Rosanna Nibbs is of half Italian and half Dominican heritage and is co-founder of Coffee marketplace Piqant. She credits being a Mum of an energetic toddler for the increase in her coffee drinking habit and naturally, over the years, her curiosity for finding unique flavours from different origins bloomed. This led her to start training her palate, in search of the subtle differences in each roast and in finding the best coffee. After moving to London, 4 years ago, she turned this hobby into her profession. Leaving the corporate marketing world behind she says this and her parenting commitments have given her the skills to face everything starting a new business throws at her.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
Originally we were going to launch a cafe, but the pandemic put an end to that before it even started and so we developed Piqant as an online marketplace instead. A direct to consumer, subscription platform that connects independent coffee roasters to coffee lovers through a careful coffee selection process and a smart taste profile tool. At the moment, we have selected 16 sustainable roasters around the UK.
Traceability is key for us, and we are constantly searching for small ethical independent coffee roasters who are equally conscious. Learning from these roasters and informing our customers is equally important so we work with suppliers who can educate on things such as brewing methods for their specific coffee’s.
We know that our roasters either have direct trade with the coffee farms where the coffee comes from, or they source their coffee from reputable brokers who pay their farms fairly. All the roasters we work with are carefully selected based on their ethics as well as how good their coffee tastes. Whether you’re subscribing for yourself, or you’re buying a box of coffee for a friend or relative, buying from Piqant is a great way to pay it forward. This gives indie roasters and small businesses a helping hand. The Piqant website helps thousands of people to find the right coffee for them whilst helping communities in the global south.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
We were thinking of opening a coffee shop featuring a wide selection of different coffees, but the pandemic struck. During this time, we were trying different independent roasters around the UK and that’s when the idea of Piqant arose – a place where everyone can find different independent coffee roasters and try coffee from places they wouldn’t have been able to.
How did you achieve awareness?
So far, word of mouth (online and in person) has been our biggest source of new customers. Of course the online experience is importnt to keep them coming back and users seem to like the simple to navigate site and enjoy using our innoative AI taste matching tool. Our aim is to dazzle users with a great online experience, customer service, predictable deliveries and great coffee.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
We’ve bootstrapped the business ourselves so far, however, fundraising is in our future plans.
What are the key successes?
Many customers ask themselves, “I’m not an expert so how do I know what coffee to buy? What coffee is better for my brewing method? Is this coffee ethically sourced?”
Piqant offers the answers to these questions by providing a broad coffee selection of more than 70 coffees in one single place all that match a strict set of principles and standards. Our customers know that they will receive high quality, sustainable, great-tasting coffee that they will enjoy, every time, thanks to using the taste matching tool.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Speciality coffee is still a very niche market and this has been our biggest challenge in order to get more people involved and interested. However, we have seen an increased number of people getting more involved in buying speciality coffee and becoming more aware of it and educated in it.
What are your plans now/for the future?
Our plan is to continue to satisfy our customers and subscribers with new flavours and we are constantly sourcing new roasters and flavours but it’s a slow process as we taste test every coffee and select only a few new ones to add to the list.
We also want to introduce more coffee lovers to Piqant and our range and services and build a community of speciality coffee lovers where they can have an experience, learn, discover and shop for all things coffee.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
I always said in Italian “puó diventare difficile ma non impossibile” which means “this could become difficult but not impossible”. If you have an idea, no matter how insane you think it is, write it down, break it down into steps and tick them off with consistency and patience.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
My no.1 tip is to work as a team. I think our success relies on my team and my family. I believe we behave as if we were the hands of a clock; if one is absent, the clock will not work.
No. 2: You need to find the balance between running a business, keeping fit, and family. if one isn’t looked after the others all suffer too.
Who are the people who inspire you the most and why?
– David Goggins created ‘The Cookie Jar’ method which is a technique of using your past achievements to motivate yourself when you’re struggling. You make a list of all your victories and triumphs along with obstacles and challenges you overcame. Together, they serve as an imaginary jar to remind and motivate yourself of what you have achieved in life.
– Robin and Andréa McBride: The story behind these sisters and their entrepreneurial and family journey is unbelievable.
– Serena Williams: I have to say that she is inspirational because she is a mother, businesswoman and one of the greatest athletes of all time. She balances work, fitness and family life, which I do too.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
I have 2 quotes that are my pillar:
– “Consistency is the key”
– “Puó diventare difficile ma non impossibile”
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
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