Where: Auckland, New Zealand
Why we love Drew, and Blend:
Drew Duff-Dobson is a force to be reckoned with (in the best way possible). After returning from recent travels filled with a new ambition to open his own store and combine his two loves of coffee and cycling, Drew has worked relentlessly to make it happen. Despite being the sole staff member, Blend remains open 7 days a week, yet what amazes us most is Drew’s unfaltering effervescence. You can be sure that a friendly smile and easy conversation will be supplied as you wait for your morning coffee, no matter the time or the day.
How did the vision on Blend come about?
After working in the coffee industry for over twenty years, I launched Smith Coffee, my own roasting business in early 2014. And while I’ve been cycling for many years – including road, commuter, and mountain bikes – I didn’t get the idea to combine my two lifelong passions until a recent European adventure, where we encountered several similar shops in Edinburgh, London and Tokyo.
This conceived Blend, which combines the best of local and global. Bringing together great locally-crafted coffee by Smith, well designed accessorie, and, for the first time in New Zealand, the beautiful products of international bike company, tokyobike.
Currently we are located in the shared space of The Shelter (another Vend customer). The next step will be to enable e-commerce on our website, so customers across the country can purchase their products. We are also showcasing tokyobike and accessories at the Silo Markets along Auckland’s Waterfront over Christmas, in the hope of promoting casual, urban cycling to the general public. Long term, we hope to move to a standalone space with a storefront, affording us the room to offer a wider selection of products, and even have a mechanic on site.
What’s your local community like?
Being a new business with quite a different concept we are really thankful for the support of the cycling community of Auckland and Wellington. At present our sales are all local, however we are beginning to receive referrals and enquiries from around New Zealand.
What brought you to Vend and how’ve you found it?
We found Vend through various social media, had a play on the website and discovered it would be ideal for our business. We then discussed our options with The Cloud Lounge and found a solution that suits us perfectly. The reporting is fantastic; my wife (and business partner) can remotely access sales at anytime and we can keep on top of stock that is selling quickly. For a new business concept it is important for us to know where our revenue streams are generated from.
Lastly, do you have any advice for new retailers?
Enlist the help of as many people as possible! Our friends and family have been amazing, and we honestly couldn’t have done it with out them. From assisting with setup, media pitches, photo shoots, and even walking our dogs when we’re both busy working.
– Drew Duff-Dobson, Founder / Local Legend, Blend
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About Grace O'Hara
Grace is a Marketing Assistant at Vend and helps make cool things happen behind the scenes. She enjoys talking to incredible Vend retailers from around the world and making the world a better place with her side projects. You can get in touch with Grace by email or connect with her on Google+.