Determination drove Jafferies at Dôme

25/02/2009 - 22:00


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PATRIA Jafferies launched her first business during the recession of the early 1990s.

Determination drove Jafferies at Dôme

PATRIA Jafferies launched her first business during the recession of the early 1990s.

As she discovered following a bank's refusal to initially provide financing, it probably wasn't an ideal time to test the market with a new coffee shop concept.

However, that little coffee shop and Ms Jafferies' big dream paid massive dividends, with the Dôme chain surviving the downturn and growing into an international brand, with more than 100 retail coffee outlets throughout countries including The United Arab Emirates, Singapore, China, the Philippines, Japan, and Malaysia.

Ms Jafferies, who currently chairs the Small Business Development Corporation, started Dôme Coffees Australia with partners Phil Sexton and Phil May.

"We only got knocked back by one bank, but I really believed in our strategy and I was passionate about changing the drinking habits of people going into a coffee house or coffee lounge," Ms Jafferies told WA Business News.

"I was so passionate about our quality, I knew we were going to change the drinking habits of coffee drinkers in Western Australia and I actually think we've done that.

"I always knew that Dôme would be a global company because I wanted something that was international and that was something I was very passionate about."

Undeterred by the bank's rejection of the initial loan application, Ms Jafferies pursued her dream and, after eventually securing funding, she, Mr May and Mr Sexton opened the first Dôme cafe in Cottesloe in November 1990.

It took about nine months to develop a franchise system for the business and by 1994 Dôme was being rolled-out in Subiaco, the Galleria Shopping Centre, Applecross, and Fremantle.

Later that year, Dôme Coffees formed a joint venture called Dôme Asia, which holds the master franchise rights to China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand, eventually singing a 30-year master franchise agreement in June 1996.

"One day I had flown back in from Asia, where we had opened several retail outlets. We were only five years old and we had already opened up in Singapore, and we got back to Western Australia and I walked into a Dôme cafe and there were some people visiting Western Australia and I overheard them say, 'they have our brand in Western Australia'," Ms Jafferies recalls.

"And that to me was significant; that to me meant that our brand was global, and it kind of felt really good."

Born in San Jose, California, in to an "entrepreneurial household", Ms Jafferies had the qualities instilled in her at a young age to successfully launch and operate a chain of stores.

In 1986 she was asked to come to Perth for the America's Cup to work as a marketing manager and publicity officer for the Matilda Bay Brewing Company. She stayed in that role for three years and was credited with the successful national launch of the company's Redback beer label.

It was when the company got taken over by Carlton and United Brewery, while Ms Jafferies was on maternity leave, that she decided to start her own business.

"It was like looking into a crystal ball, you know, do you or don't you, we knew what the trends were but we had to come up with the strategy," she said of launching Dôme.

"Great leadership is the spark that ignites a company's performance, creating a wave of success or a landscape of a washout. Leadership matters that much.

"Passion, people and planning - they are the necessary ingredients for performance in a company. Great leadership provides an amazing catalyst for vision and success.

"Be willing to take risks. Have the courage to make the investments and be prepared to re-think and re-engineer to meet the ever-evolving challenges ahead without compromise of the values of the business.

"The opportunities and challenges for business are greater today than ever before. Businesses must be nimble enough to react to change and strategic enough to outpace it.

"To create sustained success in building Dôme, I quickly realised I needed more than the technical skills upon which the business was founded, so never stop learning.

"I understand how critical management competencies are to survival and growth, and how important it is that you understand the frameworks of entrepreneurial leverage in achieving ongoing success. Surround yourself with the right team with skill sets that add value.

"These new challenges seem to refresh rather than rebuff them. I often felt the bigger risk was not taking one."

Ms Jafferies said it was vital business owners brought experts on board when in doubt about aspects of growing a business

"Quite often business owners along the way at any stage of their business should be looking at educating themselves and learning new skills and have the ability to talk to other leaders and talk about what they have been going through, how to add-value. I think that's how I benefited the most," she said.

"Don't shoot from the hip. Revisit your plan and re-engineer your business, but don't go in and just cut.

"Definitely be focused and, if you need to get advice, bring in the right people to give you advice.

"When we were building Dôme we kept surrounding ourselves with the people who had the right skills to deliver our strategy. The strategy never changed, it just became stronger and more developed.

"You have to be focused on your strategy - I always knew coffee was going to be affordable. We never pulled back on our marketing programs, or developing our staff, or providing quality service.

"Focus on making everybody happy and committed to what you are doing."


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