We speak with Chris Crocker, founder of the socially uplifting coffee drinks company, GOOD KOFFEE, as he shares how he grew a business from a life-long creative career, why wellbeing is important to him, crowdfunding success, and advice he’d tell himself again for upcoming entrepreneurs
Give us your elevator pitch.
I should be better at this by now. I just love creating and am finding it really exciting to see my new coffee drinks finding their place in the world. The more successful I can make the company, the more GOOD I hope to do, encouraging and supporting others to do their best.
What is the inspiration behind GOOD KOFFEE?
It is really a culmination of so many things that came before. I see my career in the arts, theatre, film & tv as one about seeking connections, developing awareness, telling stories to an audience and exploring how to communicate all this in captivating ways.
Staying extremely fit and capable has also been high on my agenda, coming from a martial arts & dance background. And of course, I love all things food and drinking coffee. For me, these have interwoven into what GOOD KOFFEE is now becoming, a way to share, communicate and uplift.
Have you always wanted to start your own business?
I have always had this idea of creating my own brand along with an identity that held some of my values. At the same time, I have always said I want to have my own business as I put a high value on having my own autonomy. However, I am learning that to do business, there are many other fundamentals away from the creative side that need to be nurtured if it is going to be successful. I am working on these as we speak.
We’d love to hear more about your creative career!
I love that it has brought me into contact with so many different people, given me the opportunity to travel, learn about myself and do things some people may never get to experience. As you hear often, it really started with my high school musical at the age of thirteen - the first they’d done in many years, West Side Story. I played Bernado. I got to act, dance and do a dramatic death scene and all with people that are still my friends to this day. This really set me on a path, and I have been lucky enough to do great work, from large commercial campaigns to hit musicals like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams. This show really opened my eyes, and I would say developed the inclusive nature and curiosity I have within me.
"If you keep in good shape, physically and mentally, you should be able to tackle what’s thrown at you."
How challenging has it been to run a business alongside your acting and theatre work?
I started my business whilst working backstage at Disney’s The Lion King musical. It has definitely been a challenge when I have been working 8 shows, 6 days a week to find time to make progress. However, Disney have been incredibly supportive. I initially took a 6-month sabbatical back in 2018 to get things up and running. I then returned until obviously last year [March 2020] when the theatre industry shut down and has stayed that way since. I quickly made the decision that I would fully focus on all things GOOD KOFFEE until things resumed. Obviously, it has been way longer than anyone has expected but has given me an opportunity to get things moving!
Do you have any tips on how to look after your well-being during intense periods?
I think consistency is key. This probably applies to life in general. However, as long as I am regularly exercising, eating well, and taking space for myself, then things are okay. I mean, you need to know that base level - for most people running a business is going to be stressful and pull at your often limited resources. So I say the most important thing is foresight. If you keep in good shape, physically and mentally, you should be able to tackle what’s thrown at you. And if not, definitely seek support from fellow business people who know the score and can help motivate you and balance your sanity!
What has been GOOD KOFFEE’s greatest achievement?
I’m not the best at highlighting milestones but definitely trying to do better with that. For me there are so many incremental cool things, like seeing the drinks in the fridge at my local cafe, seeing people’s surprise about some of the flavour combinations that they didn’t realise they might enjoy... and the greatest achievement is probably that I am just able to do it in the first place.
Congratulations on your crowdfunding success last year. How did you find the crowdfunding process and would you recommend it?
Most people who have crowdfunded now will tell you that it is no easy feat. I have never been that comfortable asking other people for help, and with that irony have probably learnt the biggest lesson. Very few of us can achieve anything great by ourselves, and this really is what crowdfunding is about. It’s putting yourself out there, sharing what’s important to you and your goals and dreams and finding the people who share these values and are willing to back you.
I would recommend crowdfunding and say be prepared and be present for the entire campaign. It will require a lot of energy.
Where do you see GOOD KOFFEE in 5 years time?
I want people to see GOOD KOFFEE and it be known for creative and exciting coffee drinks whilst having a supportive voice and a globally inclusive nature.
What advice do you have for the next generation of entrepreneurs?
Do what’s in your heart... and then overlay this onto some solid business principles.
Inspiring words from Chris Crocker. We hope he's given you the confidence to chase your dreams too.
free-from, with love x