December 10 2013 Latest news:
Friday, January 25, 2013
While vintage-inspired clothing, decorations and furniture have all made a fashionable come-back in recent years, there are perhaps few who would aspire to begin a coffee business based on the theme.
For one young entrepreneur however an unusual mobile cafe has brought popularity and success just five months after opening.
Jodi Abel, 24, is now a regular at markets and events across Norfolk, selling her coffee, tea and baked goods from the back of a converted Morris Minor Traveller van - named Ruby.
Mrs Abel, from Norwich Road, Attleborough, regularly dresses up from the 1950s and sets out tables and chairs at the back of her business, BitterSweet Curious Coffee, as well as trading from her website.
“Fixed premises are very expensive and I wanted a very English, vintage feel to what I do and you can’t get much more vintage than a Morris Minor Traveller,” she said.
“I do farmers markets and weddings and birthdays and I’ve got hampers and fudge and all sorts and I dress up in 1950s clothing.
“I love the 1950s and I know a Morris Minor isn’t typical but it’s vintage and I wanted to be an English tea shop and stand out.”
Having run coffee shops since she was 17, Mrs Abel bought the van for £4,500 in Long Stratton and, with help from her father, invested in equipment and two months worth of stock, bringing her total start-up costs to £10,000.
She said that the business had proved popular among customers and other traders, and that the economy had not had on impact on trade.
“To be honest because what I sell isn’t really that expensive I’ve not really been hit by the economic climate,” she said. “The only thing that’s really affected the business is Christmas because all the markets shut down so I couldn’t go out, but I did quite a few sales online.
“I’d like to carry it on for as long as I can and at the moment I’m looking to get an apprentice to come along to take over when I start a family - if I then get established I could start a fleet.
“I love meeting the customers and hearing different things and talking to different people and the markets getting to know you.
“For me, it’s not about making money, it’s doing something I enjoy.”