‘London ranks poorly for small businesses to make a living’
That was the headline on an FT article on Thursday. According to a report published by the Federation of Small Businesses, small start-ups and retailers are struggling to make ends meet in the flourishing City since property costs are higher than ever.
It prompted me to pop in to a very quaint coffee shop between Shoreditch and Clerkenwell called ‘Timberyard‘ for a quick chat and interview with the manager, Erica.
After a warm welcome and an offer of a drink, we sat in a glass office where we talked about difficulties she’d faced managing the business in the thriving area of Islington where cafés are around every corner.
Our customers make us ‘unusual’ she said. ‘We draw our creative inspiration from them‘.
The coffee shop is light, airy and even has a downstairs area to accommodate ‘working’ individuals. It’s the type of place you’d go to for an informal business meeting rather than a mother’s meeting.
The shop is decorated in ‘clean vintage’ as Erica puts it, mis-matched suitcases look like they are straight out of an independent cafe which makes the coffee house delightfully appealing to the eye.
Bright ‘clean’ colours adorn the cafe which aren’t overpowering, and ambient music ensures a peaceful atmosphere. Timberyard promises “Tea, Coffee, Work and Play” which I think is great branding, Erica reveals it’s her customers that keep the smile on her face.
It is with genuine sincerity that she serves them coffee and her baristas appear to have a lot of respect for this bright bubbly woman.
Timberyard also offers areas of varying temperatures as well as adaptable lighting. In addition, customers are able to play different music simultaneously on sound systems. It could go from soft jazz to RnB in minutes.
Whilst sustaining a cafe in the area is ‘a challenge’, Erica’s eyes sparkle with pride and delight when she reveals to me that Timberyard will be opening five new cafes in five years.
The current sister cafe is located in Seven Dials in Covent Garden, with heavy footfall, Erica notes that SD branch and her’s, have a variety of cliental.
It’s what makes them unique despite being the same branch. She’s excited for the expansion, particularly the launch of the latest new addition in Soho.
She expects the developments for all five new shops to be finished by 2017 at the latest.
One of the best things about Timberyard though, is their social media savvy-ness. When you look at their Facebook page it’s clear that they have worked hard and that they’ve put a lot of love into the business. After tweeting the shop mere hours after my chat with them and they’d responded in seconds – and if you ever find yourself on their Instagram page, you know you’ll be double tapping for a while.
Who can resistant a lovely independent cafe with great food and music just down the road from Old Street station?
Listen to my full interview with Erica here: