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Meet the people... from chartered surveyor to coffee purveyor

Meet James Dickson, founder of London based coffee chain, Workshop Coffee Co.

James on his journey to coffee entrepreneur...

"I'm a chartered surveyor by trade, I quit the day I qualified and decided to set up a coffee company. I've always loved and appreciated wine, and I saw a lot of natural similarities between coffee and wine.

On securing the premises for his new business...

"There were two things I had to do: I had to understand how I would get into the industry, or how to get into the market, and getting the right premises. 

"This is our flagship him at 27 Clerkenwell Road and once I found this one I saw how I could roast on site, I could put the roaster in the back. So it starts with finding the right space to fulfil the vision that you have for the right project.

"This place was a nightclub before I bought it. I bought the lease and we turned it into a pretty interesting roastery and coffee house."

On excitement versus apprehension...

"I would say the whole thing took about 15 to 16 months, from idea to opening the first store.

"Intimidation is a double-edged sword, because it's mitigated by excitement, so it's a twisted form of excitement and a quiet form on intimidation. Determination and perseverance are your two key strengths.

"When you set up these businesses it's a rollercoaster ride, with highs and lows of the journey that you go through.

"You have days where it's really not going well, and then you have days where it's going really well, and then all of suddenly, you'll get onto a more even keel, and you're in good shape."

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Matt Skinner

About the author

Matt Skinner writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.

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