No ordinary cuppa: How one small business takes Melbourne to the world

Story originally written by Australia Post Small Business.

Discovering new coffee roasts and deciding upon a favourite for your daily cup is an incredibly personal experience. From freshly ground single origin Kenyan beans, to a quick mug of International Roast — there are so many options to choose from, and the team at Three Thousand Thieves want you to discover which are your favourites.

According to founder Athan Didaskalou, the Three Thousand Thieves business was based on the relatively simple idea of helping people discover new coffee roasts via a kind of ‘virtual’ tour of Melbourne.

Didaskalou says Melbournians have nurtured a specialist coffee roasting industry full of unique producers that are simply begging to be discovered by coffee lovers, and he saw an opportunity to connect the coffee drinking community directly to these producers through a unique subscription model.

But the team at Three Thousand Thieves are not simply selling and sending samples of coffees to their customers, they’re delivering entirely new experiences through the post. With so many local roasters experimenting with different beans, blends and roasting methods, there’s always something new for the team to share with their adequately caffeinated audience.

“The biggest turning point was realising that we are curators and that we actually curate an experience for people, we help them discover new things,” says Didaskalou.

“That shift in mentality from ‘oh we’re just supplying them coffee’, to ‘oh, we’re actually creating an experience for them helped then open up new possibilities, new channels for distribution.”

This sense of adventure has been the spark for international expansion of the business, and has inspired a very specific way of packaging and delivering their product, which the team now sees as their ‘secret sauce’ — the thing that really makes their customers love the service, and keep coming back for more.

After learning a lot from their own business’ journey, the Three Thousand Thieves crew have developed some tips and insights about starting and growing a small business that they can now share with others:

  • Pay careful attention to the experience you’re creating for customers of your online store. Package your product so that people look forward to it. Remember, it’s a big part of the experience of buying from you.
  • Tell your story, and that of your product. People connect with people — so help them know who you are and what you’re about.
  • Create community around your business and the way you do things. Find ways other than purchasing your product for people to connect with you and other like-minded customers.