26/11/2008 - 22:00

Coffee and relationships

26/11/2008 - 22:00

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BUILDING a business on strong personal relationships has proved a successful formula for the owners of West Perth-based Fiori Coffee, who recently received a national accolade for their coffees.

Coffee and relationships
CONNECTION: Kamran Nowduschani and Louise Gordon\'s Fiori Coffee had built its business on solid relationships

BUILDING a business on strong personal relationships has proved a successful formula for the owners of West Perth-based Fiori Coffee, who recently received a national accolade for their coffees.

Louise Gordon and Kamran Nowduschani recently won the 2008 Equal Golden Bean competition ahead of more than 500 coffee entries Australia-wide.

"It's great for Perth producers because there always has been a habit to look to the eastern states to get something good, but [Fiori's Golden Bean award] shows that they don't need to do that," Mr Nowduschani told Gusto.

The couple founded Fiori upon their return to Perth in 2006, having run a coffee-roasting business, Karmee, in Sydney for seven years. Ms Gordon says when they started in Perth they didn't have customers or contacts locally and had to build the business one client at a time.

"Now people ring us from Darwin, Karratha...all the little ones add up. Our bigger clients are Tiger, Tiger, Boucla, Cantina, Pronzo, the Blue Duck at Cottesloe...we are very lucky that now people are approaching us; at the beginning it was a lot of door knocking," she says.

The Fiori business was built on relationships, and working directly with the couple's Honduran grower, Gerardo Barrios, to produce specific varieties

"Direct trade and relationship coffee means you deal directly with the producers and they get the full price for that coffee and you pay the same as you would with three middle men," Mr Nowduschani says.

Fiori follows the artisan tradition of slow roasting, with a roasting method that allows the flavour and body of the coffee to fully develop.

Mr Nowduschani says their strategy has always been to keep control of the quality and build personal relationships with the customers.

"If you maintain the quality and the reputation for personal service, the growth will take care of itself," he says.

Although the production capacity of Fiori's coffee roasting business doesn't compare with the large national players, alternative marketing and customer service strategies allow the end product to be at a similar price.

"People who come to us come because they want the quality, they don't come here because they want to get a deal," Mr Nowduschani says.

"But it doesn't cost a lot more for us to provide the quality. We can't give away a lot of marketing things. Other companies will give the equipment, the machine, the t-shirt, the aprons, free sugar sticks.

"We look after them; staff training is the biggest value-adding service that we provide and we do a lot of that because staff are constantly changing and hard to find."

Ms Gordon says the business values regular feedback from its customers.

"We take note of what they say; if they don't sell coffee, we don't," she says.

Mr Nowduschani believes that dealing with smaller businesses has also helped maintain quality control.

"We tend to deal with personal-run cafes, places where there is a sense of ownership. Because you have personal relationships with these cafes it matters if there is a problem or a success," he says.

"Big companies may buy a lot of coffee but they also have a lot of staff who don't necessarily care about what they do."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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