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Make competition irrelevant

Building brand credibility via ‘social proof’ and ‘competing with itself’ are helping to fuel rapid growth for Queensland-based startup Before You Speak Coffee (BYSC).

Founded and created by Jaryd Terkelsen and Ash Bisset in July 2017, the retailer’s concept taps into the popularity of health trends and superfoods – with 47 per cent of Australians aiming to eat more natural ingredients, 36 per cent avoiding artificial colours and the same amount avoiding sugar – while the ABS reports over 46 per cent of Australians regularly drink coffee beverages. BYSC’s idea is simple, adding superfood infusions to instant coffee, which has seen the startup stocked in over 200 bricks and mortar locations in the space of six months.

So how has this startup navigated and differentiated from others in the crowded food and beverage space? Creating its own market.

“The way to overcome competing with a flooded and very competitive market is to create an entirely new market,” Terkelsen told Inside Retail.

“It is about creating a strategic value innovation and delivering a higher value at a lower cost than anything else on the market.

“So rather than a focus on beating the competition, we make them irrelevant.”

Terkelsen said the startup is not in competition with “the thousands of cafes who charge close to $5 for a standard long black”, nor the cheaper instant coffee bought from supermarkets “that delivers no extra health benefits”.

“Like Aussie company, Casella Wines did with Yellowtail in the wine industry, like Dollar Shave Club did with men’s razors, we are doing it with coffee.”

Life as a startup operating across online and wholesale has presented its own challenges, but Terkelsen said the market had been receptive of the new concept.

“The biggest challenge we faced early on was the concern people had with what coffee would taste like with superfoods infused into it. We were able to overcome that with a good sampling process and with a bit of social proof and great feedback across social media,” he said.

“Having a strong social presence online has certainly helped us when we decided to make the move into retail outlets across the country.”

When asked if digital platforms had made life as a startup easier, Terkelsen was clear.

“We certainly wouldn’t be where we are without them,” he said.

“The future is digital, and we have been very mindful of that since we began. Having the ability to get in front of targeted audiences and showcasing your brand and product to those who you know will love what you have to offer, has been a key element to our growth.

“You [retailers] need to be where people’s attention is and are engaged and right now that is very much on mobile devices and across social platforms. The easier you can make it for your customer to transact with your business the better for both parties.”

The coffee company has set its sights on building a brand that people ‘can connect with’ and is looking to roll-out more products to the market, including a collagen-based product for skin health due to launch in February 2018.

BYSC also has global ambitions – currently working on expanding into the US market, which “should be in operation” before the end of the first quarter while conversations have started around moves into UK and Europe.

“While we don’t have any set plans for physical stores in the foreseeable future we would never count it out.”

The startup is also the first company in Australia to sponsor an Australian NFL player as an athlete – signing Jordan Berry who has earned a spot with the Pittsburgh Steelers as its punter.

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