I love to celebrate innovative, fresh business ideas - especially where technology is used to scale, distribute and optimise the customer experience. In particular, I'm very keen to support local businesses, in Poole, Bournemouth and the wider Dorset area and show the world that this part of the UK Countryside can mix it with the big boys. So, I sent Ben to meet Jim Cregan, founder of Jimmy's Iced Coffee - based in Christchurch, Dorset.
IN THE BEGINNING || Jimmy's Iced Coffee
SO, LIVING HERE ON THE SOUTH COAST OF THE UK, I GET TO MEET SOME FASCINATING AND INTERESTING PEOPLE WHO HAVE SOME FANTASTIC STORIES TO TELL. ONE OF THEM BEING LOCAL SURFER JIM CREGAN.
Jim Cregan, a Dorset lad who spent his childhood growing up along the coast, watching and surfing the english channel most of his life and becoming quite a well known character in and around the area.
However Jim, like most of us Brits at some stage or another, had enough of our poor winter climate so decided to jet off to the other side of the world where he and his lovely lady Sophie would travel around Oz for a year. They bought a truck, converted it into their new home on wheels and hit the road. Magic. Loaded with boards, camping kit, stoves, music, wood and fire in their hearts they made it down to their favourite place in the world, Tasmania.
Alongside the wonders of the land, sea and adventures was a craze. The craze, "Iced Coffee". Jim fell in love with the stuff, consuming it when ever he could, after surf, while driving, as a hangover cure and for a lot of other occasions. He realised this epic product didn’t exist in the UK so he began contacting the Iced Coffee Companies in reach that he could franchise it. (although saying that, he had no idea what franchising meant).
After their mission and returning back to the UK to nothing but sweet and sickly iced coffee, he decided enough was enough. Jim persuaded his older sister Suzie, an endurance motorbike riding, charity fund raising legend and cafe owner to take part in the escapade to bring proper Iced Coffee to the UK. They both used her award winning cafe as a late-night laboratory, concocting all types of brews under the Iced Coffee umbrella until they found the right flavour.
Since the first lab session on that cold November morning in 2010, they have created Jimmy’s Iced coffee which you can now find and enjoy today. They sold their first carton in Selfridges London on April 7th 2011 and now have listings with Waitrose, Ocado, Welcome Break petrol stations, Budgens, WHSmith and a heap of wonderful cafes and delis across the UK.
I was lucky enough to get in contact with Jimmy himself about sponsoring me for my Longboarding and other activities that I get up too. I sent him over a couple of images, and Videos of myself and mates skating and he was quickly on side to provide us with a bunch of stickers, and a few crates of coffee for races and general riding.
Since then we have stayed in contact via social media and he’s a sucker for a good sunrise picture, so I occasionally drop him a photo of the sunrise in Poole harbour for his social media pages.
On Friday 31st I had arranged to take a trip over to the factory in Christchurch to catch up with Jim and to collect some more Iced Coffee for the up and coming races. The weather on this day was start of another storm on the way to the UK, heavy rain, strong winds, and traffic. I made my way over there and arrived at Jimmy's office and was greeted by his assistant (sorry can’t remember her name) she was busy doing accounts.
Jim got off the phone and we chatted about what I was now up to, where I was working, my longboarding, surfing etc.. We then got onto the subject of the company, and the next big step for them is to start shipping abroad. He met a guy, who has sorted him out a container to ship in oversea’s. He has already shipped out to South Africa where the people there can buy his product.
As soon as the weather starts getting better, the plan is to head over to Christchurch and Mudeford where Jimmys is based and start filming some mini longboard edits and to get jimmy involved skating hopefully in his jimmy's iced coffee carton. RAD!
It was only a quick catch up as he was waiting for Dorchester Council to turn up for a meeting.
So, keep an eye out for his products on your local super market shelf, take a photo and tag @jimmysicedcoffee or #jimmysicedcoffee. He’ll appreciate it.