Fergus Brown is the founder of Roasted Brown, a speciality coffee shop in the heart of Temple Bar, Dublin, and a micro roastery and wholesale business supplying some of the world’s finest coffees to Dublin cafés.
So, Mr. Brown, please introduce yourself.
I’m a 34 year old husband and father of 4 incredible humans! That being the case I think it’s fair to say I thrive on community and being with people, I guess it’s no wonder I run a coffee shop in the centre of our lovely city. My favourite things in life normally revolve around the people I love and general feasting. Good food, coffee, great friendships and fun with our customers are the ingredients of a week well spent for me.
You are the heart behind Roasted Brown. Please tell us more.
I heard someone say, “if you’ve never dreamt of working in a coffee shop then don’t open one”. It’s a very valid point when you consider the hard yards in making a café successful. But I was talking to a friend last week and they said “I think everyone has the romantic idea of a café in them somewhere”. I think this is why I own a café… I’ve always had a romantic idea of community, excellence and art in a hub where people gathered and were inspired, a coffee shop was the obvious option.
I guess in the pursuit of community I fell in love with coffee and it was my new found passion for coffee that enabled a place for community. Roasted brown has a pretty good reputation amongst Dubliners for a number of reasons! Coffee is just one of them but we often hear people comment on the atmosphere and sense of friendship in the shop! I love hearing this because it’s very easy to be lead by cash flow and turnover, which can easily dry up any ground for community and relationship to grow.
I realised there were certain things that make successful business and a sense of warmth and community a reality in one space, things like acknowledging your staff as your team and making sure they have a sense of ownership in the business, allowing the naive romantic dream of a coffee shop to be taken seriously in your planning and simply being a real human with customers and constantly doing your best for them personably and professionally.
I think as a result of this we run a coffee shop that feels like a place to enjoy more than just coffee and food, but a place to hang out, relax chat with the staff and share stories with people, it’s the romantic idea of a cafe, we’ve had to fight to keep it this way but I think we’re doing it!
Why have you spent so many hours doing what you do?
A few simple reasons really… I believe you can and should make a good living out of the things you’re passionate about. I thoroughly enjoy what I do, the more I do it, the less I feel like I “go to work”, and well, I like people! So it’s perfect for me and my family.
What has been your biggest Roasted Brown challenge to date?
Hah! It’s all challenging all of the time! I’m very much a visionary and I’m good with hands on work to a point but it’s always a challenge to get better at being a manager and a strategist. Everything we have now as a business we’ve done entirely by ourselves and on a major shoe string, there are times I’ve almost sold out to investors because I think it’d be easier to accomplish visions with more cash. But then I realise how far we’ve come and how much healthy growth is taking place and I’ve learned to value the journey and not get distracted by the end game.
What do you think makes Roasted Brown special?
Well amongst many things the obvious one is Handsome Rob (or pretty Rob as a customer called him today). Rob manages most the operations in the shop while I build other areas. He’s the king of hospitality, which couldn’t be more perfect for what we want our business to be. I can honestly say that Rob’s passion and heartfelt investment makes Roasted Brown a special place.
What and who inspires you?
It’s gotta be King David and King Solomon first up and after that Glen Hansard. There’s a trio of heart, wisdom and passion that always get me excited.
From all the ups and downs you’ve experienced establishing Roasted Brown, what would you say to others who carry hopes and dreams?
Dreams are great but reality is better, realisation is a tough cookie but should be taken head on fuelled by the original excitement of the first time you dreamt.
Roasted Brown, ten years from now…what do you imagine?
I had a thought the other day ” would I like to be involved in something completely different than coffee”? And I realised that yes I would. 10 years from now I’d like to be doing something completely new having setup and established a successful and continuing coffee business. I’d also like to be taking me kids around the world as a part of there education and experience as children, coffee could facilitate that but I’d wouldn’t mind if it was something surprisingly different.
FB: Roasted Brown / Twitter: @roastedbrown
I Love This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccHcTtVDZUM&sns=em Bon Iver on Jools Holland with some good old raw emotional passion!!