Episodes > Season 2 Episode 10

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How Square Mile Coffee Roasters cultivates relationships & focuses on logistics

Marty Latham, Operations @ Square Mile Coffee Roasters

What's in this episode?

On this episode we're talking with Marty Latham, Online Operations Manager of Square Mile Coffee Roasters, a speciality coffee roasting company based in London.

We chat with Marty about how the company’s founders realized there was an opportunity with specialty coffee in London, the importance of strong relationships with their suppliers as well as their customers, and how they’ve streamlined their subscription logistics to save time and money with the help of the ecommerce agency, Little Vitamin.

So let’s get started!

Episode transcript

Chase Alderton: Marty, thank you for joining us.

Marty Latham: Oh, thank you.

Chase Alderton: So give us a little bit of info about yourself, and tell us about Square Mile Coffee.

Marty Latham: Oh, perfect. So my name's Marty Latham, and I'm the online operations manager for Square Mile Coffee. I've been with the company for nine and a half years now. And I think just briefly summing up what we've did is we saw a bit of an opportunity in London to improve the coffee scene here, especially in the specialty coffee area. The two founders started with a filter-brew-only scenario down on Richard Street in London called Penny University. And through exploring filter-brew coffee, as opposed to the standard espresso that you were getting in cafes around that time, which is about 11 years ago, by the way, where they identified an opportunity to bring better coffee to London via a roastery, as opposed to just the cafe.

Marty Latham: So Square Mile was born off the back of that, and they're both very successful in the competitive coffee world, which is quite a thing. And from that, they developed Square Mile and started building out farmer relationships with the different coffee producers that we have, and highlighting a different way of roasting that wasn't really represented in London, and that was a lighter style of roasting, highlighting the coffee's acidity and fruit qualities, as opposed to the heavier chocolaty side of it.

Chase Alderton: So why is that something that London didn't have? Is that just coincidence they didn't have a lighter style, or it's just historically no one liked that lighter style?

Marty Latham: I think the true cafe environment that we're all kind of used to now was a bit slow to come to London. I think it had popped up... Well, I'm from New Zealand, and it was very apparent there. And when I left to go traveling, I sort of thought that sort of coffee was everywhere. But it wasn't. It's just that cafe scene wasn't really happening yet, and they were still riding off the back of the espresso movement that obviously came over from Italy.

Chase Alderton: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marty Latham: And that it hadn't really picked up in any fashion to offer different roast styles, really, and I think there was an opportunity there. And obviously, everything was very espresso-based then. So even having filtered coffee, people, I guess, aligned that with your standard diner coffee, and yeah, there was a bit of an opportunity there, I think, they wanted to explore at the time. And it turns out, London was really into that. Because it's been a bit crazy since that.

Chase Alderton: There's a joke in there somewhere about British people liking their coffee a certain way. I'm not going to make it, we'll just leave that there and move on.

Chase Alderton: So this Penny University started. And essentially, what Square Mile was doing at the time was really just brewing the coffee, and roasting the coffee, and off-selling it and just giving it to other cafes and stuff? Is that right?

Marty Latham: Yeah. I think it's Penny University was the first, I guess, business of the two founders, and that was mainly about getting coffee and brewing it without making espresso. So making filtered coffee, so really doing something a little bit radical, which wasn't really represented at all. And from that, that was the decision, I think, for both of them to look at it and go, "There's something here, but it's not quite in roasting." And that was the movement. Not far up, just all within Hackney, actually, to actually start roasting and make their decision that they thought that was the business that they wanted to have. And obviously, it was presented through brewing and making coffee I think was quite an interesting insight into were people ready for something different? And I think that the answer they got that maybe a cafe is not the thing, and that roasting is the opportunity for them.

Chase Alderton: So there's definitely a story here about product market fit. You know? They started something. It didn't quite work. They kind of pivoted a little bit, maybe found the passion a little bit more, and found something that was actually not represented at all, but turned out to work pretty well over in London.

Marty Latham: Yeah, definitely. And I think the access to really good coffee, as in green coffee, was here. You know? There's lots of international ports here. Obviously, goods move through the UK quite a lot, so there's already it's really well set up for a lot of those shipping routes. And it was just getting that higher tier of coffee, what we call specialty coffee, to be able to bring that in, and start roasting, and presenting a different coffee product to people, really, because no one's quite used to that. Either High Street, or what we call The Caf, just like our version of a diner with some terrible coffee. And so, yeah, that was what they saw.

Marty Latham: And bringing, and I guess, starting those relationships with all those farmers is where it started. Because now, 10, 11 years later, we still have a lot of those direct relationships with the coffee producers. And I mean, we still work with the same person who provided the coffee for one of the founders to actually--

Chase Alderton: Wow.

Marty Latham: Sorry, I tripped me up on my words there. He was the barista world champ, and the coffee that he used, we actually still work with that supplier, and that's the story with most of the suppliers that we find. Because it's a lot of it is very direct trade. We've met these people. I was lucky enough to actually go to Costa Rica and go on one of these trips. I was the content guy, so just take pictures. But it was amazing actually meeting this farmer, in particular, as well, I think. To see how, where it comes from, and that these relationships have lasted so long.

Chase Alderton: That's super cool.

Marty Latham: Yeah. That was the start of it, really. Getting really good coffee from these people was obviously what makes it. You know? We're nothing without the really good green coffee.

Chase Alderton: So just really, the relationship really does go both ways. You know? Usually, when you talk DTC movement, the brand will get their product from wherever it ends up being. But that relationship has really honed in on from the brand to the end customer role. You kind of take this both directions, where that's obviously important. But going the other direction, and knowing where you're getting your coffee from in the first place, and having that relationship with the farmers, and then tying it full circle. I guess maybe full triangle because there's only three ends there. But having that kind of farmer to end customer relationship is super important for you guys.

Marty Latham: Yeah, definitely. I think, like I just touched on, we're nothing without that really good green coffee coming from them. Right? And all we're doing is representing that relationship as best as we can. Because yes, we're giving them money for a product, of course.

Chase Alderton: Right.

Marty Latham: But the relationship is so like when I went, I got to sit down and have dinner at the family house on the farm, and I was kind of a bit blown away by how... Not how genuine it was, but just that it was that level. Like you're having dinner with a family, and that's the relationship level, and I thought that that was really great. So all we're doing is upholding that, and trying to work with them every season as much as we can.

Marty Latham: Obviously, there's fluctuations on quality, there's a whole bunch of different aspects to actually producing good green coffee. But having that initial relationship with them is so key for us to be able to get the same lot from them next year. Or when we go to meet them, we know that there's an experiment experimental lot they're trying over that part of the farm, and we can look forward to that next year, or in five years time.

Marty Latham: And that's the exciting thing about coffee, really, is how it develops, and how us going to these places, we get real insight to these people's lives, and that what we pay is actually helping them. You know? Especially, the coffee's expensive, and it's expensive for a reason. Because we pay as we should, and what these people do is very different to the commodity coffee world. You know? It's hand picking it. And involved in this, there's every level of automation that you expect of coffee does not exist on these-

Chase Alderton: Right.

Marty Latham: You know? They're small lots going out, really small lots, but are really high scoring, so that in turn, loosely means more money for them.

Chase Alderton: I wonder if we polled a bunch of DTC brands how many times that the brand had actually sat down to dinner with their supplier, I bet it'd be a very low number. So I think it's-

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: It's one of those really cool things, that like it seems kind of irrelevant when you talk to the end customer and the final product and all things considered. But it's super valuable, so I think that's really cool.

Marty Latham: Yeah. And I think it's quite an interesting thing to try and get their story across in our communications with the people, as well. Like we talk about the coffee as a thing, but it's quite hard to obviously explain that relationship, I think. Because as a consumer, yeah, they just want to know that coffee's tasty. It's probably this variety. It's it. But you know?

Chase Alderton: There's caffeine in it, for sure.

Marty Latham: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. We try and put as much of the background story into everything that we do. So there's quite a lot of copy involved with each of our coffees. But for a reason, we've got a story to tell as to why it's there.

Chase Alderton: There's also only a couple of verticals that that really works for. I think food and beverage as a whole does make sense. But like I think wine, I think like alcohol probably makes sense for something like that. Coffee very much so, because the product is all regional-based, and how you grow it, and all of that kind of stuff really comes into play. But-

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: ... I think it's super important to be able to dial back the other direction and say, "You know? Here's what you're getting. It's this season. It's handpicked," all of those things. I think it's really cool you actually put effort into trying to get that story across.

Marty Latham: Yeah. We do try. It's good, I think. Yeah. And I think it really shows, and we have quite a lot of passion for what we do. I mean, like we're quite a small team, so everyone tends to really get behind everything.

Marty Latham: And a lot of internal communication as well about coffees. Because as we're growing, we turn around quite a lot of coffee now. So let's say we have this week, we have two releases, which means two coffees are finishing. So our greens approach for that is also for us to educate the rest of the team, as well. So this coffee's from this. I wouldn't admit this person. We have a Slack channel specifically for this, about stories from origin, and just sharing that story with the team internally who may not necessarily see it all the time. You know? They sometimes just see a coffee cup and go. But being able to share that with everyone is nice.

Chase Alderton: It's very cool you're talking about sharing the story internally. I want to take that one step further and talk about sharing the story externally.

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: We've talked a little bit about like this experience of how you're supposed to taste this coffee, with the cupping and the slurping kind of experience about it.

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: Tell us a little bit about how that works.

Marty Latham: So essentially, what you're doing when you're cupping is you're taking out any external parameters. So there's quite a few ways to brew coffee, and there's always a new product or a new five products every year, it seems. But the best way to actually taste the quality of coffee, and what we do at Origin, and what we do obviously at the roastery is what's called cupping. And you are literally mixing coffee and water, and that's in its purest form, I think. And then once the coffee settles, you break the crust, push all down what you can from... Obviously, there's going to be grounds floating on top. Skip those, get rid of those. Let it cool down.

Marty Latham: And then we do, yes, what is called slurping. And what that is, is obviously taking a spoonful. Everyone has their favorite spoon or their favorite spoon size. It's a bit of an old thing, but it does change it. And then you like aspirate it like you do with wine or something, so you're essentially slurping it to coat it across the tongue, and to you get the best insight into that exact coffee. There's nothing else in the way of it, and that is applied right through the whole coffee world as to the way that you taste coffee.

Marty Latham: So this used to be obviously like a very team-orientated, fun thing that used to happen. But now, we're in a completely different world as of last year. So you can imagine we don't all share cup and bowls now. So it's not really a done thing anymore, which kind of makes me sad, obviously. But now we seem to make more bowls, people get their own bowl. And it's something that I think it would be really cool to bring back regularly to what we do.

Marty Latham: I mean, as I grew with the company, I used to really look forward to Fridays. Was it Fridays? Yeah, it must be. It's been awhile now, geez. So it used to be like the team cupping was kind of fun, because he had everyone from all levels in the company tasting coffee, and then just throwing out opinions. Which some of the folks would like or don't like. But you know? It's a really, really great way for the team to engage with the coffee, as well. And I think tasting it in that way is... I don't know. If that's the way you could drink coffee, it'd be really great. There's just not a practical way to drink it, obviously, if you've got grounds sitting in there.

Chase Alderton: Yeah, that's fair.

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: That's pretty cool. But I know you also host a lot of virtual events.

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: ... so you can do kind of those cupping thing and the slurping experience, you can do that a little bit virtually.

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: I imagined it's a little not as much fun as in-person.

Marty Latham: Yeah. So we do host different virtual events. Obviously, that was built out over COVID for us. But we saw an opportunity to move some of our in-person events to be a digital or virtual scenario. And I think even before this, one of the founders, James hosted what was called the world's largest coffee tasting. And so this was a real interesting project that ran two years in a row. And this is where essentially, you bought a tasting pack. We sent it out all around the world, literally all around the world. I've found it really mind blowing to me how far these packets went. And then everyone tuned in for a live event that he hosted, and we all kind of slurped together as a... I don't know. ... a big host of people slurping around the world.

Chase Alderton: A big virtual family.

Marty Latham: Yeah. And the numbers of the first year were high. But then the second year, figuring it must be... Was it last year? I'm trying to remember exactly when the last time we did it was. But there was like a huge uptake on it the next time. I think James's YouTube following was growing, so then it meant that we had this much higher engaged audience. And when we took the product live, we were all of a sudden like, "Whoa, this is going to go crazy," and it did. And it did. And it was another really, really good event, but it was a way to like everyone kind of be involved in a thing together from all around the world. I've never seen like a... You know the comments reel in YouTube?

Chase Alderton: Yeah.

Marty Latham: I mean, like we couldn't even read them. I was just watching that like the comments flow in.

Chase Alderton: Just rolling so fast.

Marty Latham: ... like we can't even approach any of these.

Chase Alderton: Wow.

Marty Latham: And then obviously from that, we learned a lot of things. And so now we have that into to our virtual events, which is a very quickly growing sector of Square Mile. We have weekly events, where let's say, a company wants to learn to taste coffee, we can send the packs out. And then everyone is just hosted digitally, and we take them through a session, take them for a few different types of sessions. And it's been really successful.

Marty Latham: And that, yeah, hopefully, when we can, we can start having people back at the roastery within the next few months to see people's faces is quite a nice thing. It's been a long time for a lot of us. And I know a lot of us, and I'm part of the work from home crew, so it's been a long time since... You know? I do go into the roastery now and then, but it's the people there are kind of the core roasters and production team who actually-

Chase Alderton: Right.

Marty Latham: ... get the coffee out the door. So being able to go in and do these things will be quite nice at some point in the future.

Chase Alderton: Well, I was going to say, how does this bring you closer to the end customer and like deliver a better customer experience. But I think everything you just said is perfectly clear on that, that brands have to pivot all the time, and whether it's just the limits of being in physically in person.

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: Like being able to pivot quickly, and find something new to be able to do, and use the founder's YouTube channel to be able to do this cupping experience from people all over the world, maybe that's something that actually does stick around? You know? Being in person is great, but maybe this is something that we continue doing over the course of the next 10 years.

Marty Latham: Yeah. And I think doing things in person is great, like you say. But you know? Digital reach is--

Chase Alderton: It's a little longer.

Marty Latham: ... right?

Chase Alderton: Right.

Marty Latham: So I think, yeah. I think that will only grow, as far as I can see. I see if everyone's moving digital in some way, shape or form. And if you know? An interesting part of that is you can't taste, like you can't take the same thing away.

Chase Alderton: Right.

Marty Latham: ...This was as close as we could get. You know? We controlled the water, we controlled the coffee, we got it there as quickly as we could. We controlled as many of these outside parameters as we could, that when we were cupping, we were all kind of aligned on the thing that we were tasting. But it's obviously a little different to in-person.

Chase Alderton: Right, right. Definitely.

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: So let's jump into logistics now. I know that one of the things you do for your subscription orders is you only roast once a week. So you roast on Wednesdays for all of your subscriptions. Where did that come from? Is that controlling quality? What's the reason behind that?

Marty Latham: I think as we grow, we'd always set aside a day for subscriptions. And snapshotting back to five, six years ago, it was a couple of roasts in the afternoon, and we roasted less days as well. We used to mainly only roast our single origins on Mondays and Thursdays. And obviously as we've grown, we've had to roast a lot more, roast each day.

Marty Latham: But in terms of reinventing that Wednesdays, it's just so that we can achieve what we're aiming to get out of subscription, or what we're trying to give our subscribers, and that's a unique experience. That we're taking them on a journey through the different producing regions or countries.

Marty Latham: But a lot of what we try and do is rotate exclusive coffees for this group. So this may be a coffee that only our subscribers have, so then it wouldn't make sense to put it anywhere in a roasting week so that we can really focus on that coffee. Obviously, you get the test roast right prior, leading up to that. And then, what we roast on that day is just for our subscribers, and we would look at what coffees we have in shop. How would that taste? What's offered is a filter coffee, how would that taste as an espresso? So we can service our different groups and give them kind of exclusive things in different ways.

Marty Latham: And it started off as a way to set aside time. But now, it's just pretty much a logistical requirement, that the growth that we've seen, we need all of Wednesday-

Chase Alderton: Just to-

Marty Latham: ... for subscriptions.

Marty Latham: And we are still roasting other coffee on those days now. Because obviously, we're growing, we have more roasters, we have more literal roasters, as well. But in order to keep that focus on those Wednesdays, and I just think that's a really nice experience for our customers, as well. Because if you're in London, you're most likely going to get it the Thursday or Friday, before the weekend, and so that we can always have that pattern that we've shaped out for our customers.

Chase Alderton: Right.

Marty Latham: And we'll try and retain that as long as we can while we're growing. And there were some consistent key decisions that we made along the way, like coming onto Recharge and reassessing how we were doing things before to actually achieve that.

Chase Alderton: So I know the Recharge backend fairly well. And when you start to manipulate some of these things in your customer portal, and there's order processing, and there's times, and logistics, and all these kinds of things, that starts to become a bit of a nightmare of pushing subscriptions, and making sure it's only one day. I know that you work with one of our best agency partners, Little Vitamin. How has that relationship helped you? Have they steered you in a certain direction? Have they built this back end piece for you? What's the value of working with Little Vitamin as an agency?

Marty Latham: I think just understanding the complexity of what we were doing, and how we do it, and I guess why we do it, I think it was quite key in forming that relationship. Because I often think of if we were trying to sell a product off a shelf, that would be quite... I'm not saying easy. I'm sure that's very hard for a lot of people to do. But we'd have to create that product each time, which is the crazy part with coffee. Because we have it as a green product, and we have to do something to make it a brown product to then send on to people.

Chase Alderton: Right.

Marty Latham: And then you add in the complexity of we only do this on this day, so that we can do this, and we have these subscribers, and we have five different types of coffee that we actually send to these subscribers--

Chase Alderton: And you're shipping out of countries, too. We're talking a lot of crazy things now.

Marty Latham: Yeah. Yeah. And like some people are weekly, fortnightly, and monthly. You know? Once we had all these moving parts, it was key to work for someone that actually understood that and why we were doing that. And that subscriptions for us was a fast growing sector of the company, and that we were putting these things in place to be able to grow in the right way, to actually grow, and not to trip ourselves up over volumes that we're trying to get out in a day, because it was quickly becoming a very, very large roast days on certain days of the month.

Marty Latham: Because before, prior to Little Vitamin or obviously Recharge, we also shipped people's... If you're a monthly subscriber, you were getting it in the first week of the month for a filter. If you were an espresso subscriber, you're getting it in the third week of the month, again on the Wednesdays. And that was how we saw it working at the start. But obviously, as we grew, these complexities of trying to match this first Wednesday of the month with someone's payment who may come out on the 22nd of the month was just that we were very quickly going to run into some issues.

Chase Alderton: And this is all taking place on spreadsheets, right?

Marty Latham: Oh, yes. Yes. This was on spreadsheets, yeah. And we were manually finding when people were pausing, or manually finding when people were canceling. So it was kind of like a bit of a hunt for key things happening for all of our subscription customers. And obviously, that would not scale, and that would not work. And obviously, we changed at the right time to be able to... Just the removal of those, I guess, factors in getting coffee out the door, removal of those key things that we were trying to find... Now, we just react to the open order.

Chase Alderton: Right.

Marty Latham: Like that's the most simple thing. And like compared to where we were, but that's obviously saved us a lot of time along the way. Little Vitamin put that in place and made key suggestions along the way. Maybe if we try like this, maybe just spread it across the month, as opposed to having it just at the start of the month or whatever. I think, yeah, that has been really beneficial to us.

Chase Alderton: I think this is an awesome point to drive home, though. Because every time we talk about agencies, and we talk about even just growing a brand, obviously, there's a dollar value at the end of there. There's a revenue thing that needs to happen. You need to grow revenue. But there's a lot of ways to grow revenue outside of people's normal thoughts. You know? Everyone usually thinks when you think, "We need to grow the brand," it's marketing, it's advertising, it's Google and Facebook dollars, or it's hiring more people to do more work so we can end up selling, or growing, or whatever it ends up being. But time-saving is a huge way to grow revenue. You know? If you have four or five people spending 10 hours a week in these spreadsheets manually looking for, "Okay, did they skip? Did they do this? Did we move them over here? That's a huge way to grow revenue, is just streamlining that stuff.

Marty Latham: Oh, definitely. Like you know? We've saved... Oh, I don't know. I think it used to take a whole day of processing. Now, it's a few hours. You know? And those are the sort of... It's also key time. Now, those people don't want to be doing the processing, and it's just... it's not a good use of people's time. You know? Like once we were rolling with that, then all this free time. Meaning, "Hey, this thing, we can push on with that, and we can get that project over the line quicker because now we've got more time for these, for everyone be involved in it." So yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, like time is money. It's a bit cliche, but it is literally like saving that time for us meant that we can do other things. It's just kind of a no-brainer, right?

Marty Latham: And then once, I think for us, identifying the value of subscriptions and recurring revenue. Once you identified that and shifted your focus a little to really, really push on that, because recurring revenue is great, right? Like that person is in. We're really proud, and we think that our product is really good, of what we output. So we don't expect them, but we think they're going to stay for a while, right?

Chase Alderton: Right.

Marty Latham: And that's great. Whereas, for a retail sale, you have to really engage those people at each transaction, right? Like we don't, in terms of subscriptions. I think that it's a really... I guess it's very obvious as to why people are shifting their focus towards recurring revenue and subscription platforms. I mean, I don't need to tell you guys that.

Chase Alderton: I think it's very well said, though. Very well said. You stress me out a little bit when you start talking about skipping, and swapping, and putting everything in a spreadsheet, and all the time you're spending on there. But I'm glad we got that ironed out. I'm glad that that works a little bit well.

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: So I know that you're actually leaving Square Mile coffee in the near future. What's next up for you?

Marty Latham: I'm actually taking some time to go home and visit my family for a bit. I'm taking a couple of months off to head back to New Zealand, and catch up on, obviously, with my family and friends because it's been a while, and I'm sure everyone's world has been a little bit shaken up by what's happened. So taking the opportunity to get home.

Marty Latham: And I'm also developing a personal project of mine, which I've been chipping away at for a little while. And that is called Full-Fat Melt, where I take single-use milk bottles from a local cafe, and I actually repurpose them into products. So I'm working on that in my spare time, spare time like that. I'm working on that to see if that has legs, and really pushing for that, so the shed is quickly becoming a small factory, which is quite fun.

Chase Alderton: awesome.

Marty Latham: And then yeah. I guess, progressing towards working on or for a platform, like Recharge or Shopify. I think that's the next trajectory I'd really like to take. I've enjoyed being, I guess, your customer, I think, and I guess learning the platforms along the way, and how different things work. I guess that's how my mind works and what I'm really interested in. So you know? The mechanics behind how does Recharge actually work, in terms of orders coming in? How does that relate to the Shopify? We use Linnworks. So you know? All these sorts of integrations are what I find really interesting.

Marty Latham: So yeah, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to move on to yet. I guess that's kind of the exciting thing-slash-nervous. But you know? I guess I have to... I guess you only go around the world once, or something like that. You only live once. I don't want to say that. But I think, yeah, like you have one chance at it, really. So I think-

Chase Alderton: Yeah.

Marty Latham: ... I've really enjoyed my time, and I'm just ready for the next challenge, and to see where that is and who that's for. Because I think, I don't know. E-commerce is just a really interesting thing at the moment.

Chase Alderton: Right.

Marty Latham: Obviously, we're all very aware of the uptake that is happening through the world for online selling. I think it's just really interesting.

Chase Alderton: Yeah. Very cool.

Chase Alderton: Let's try to squeeze the last little bit of knowledge out of you before you hop out of here. Let's get to a couple of closing questions.

Chase Alderton: What's a piece of advice you would give to a brand who is just starting and just trying to get off the ground? What's the best piece of advice you can give in your 10 years at Square Mile?

Marty Latham: Flexibility and control, definitely. I mean, for the structure that we had before, we didn't really have like a customer portal or anything like that, so there's so much of our customer service time was making adjustments for people. I would give people those tools early. Like I think that that's key. You know? Everyone likes a subscription, they like the ease of it. But they also like the ease of being able to change that. People go on holiday. People stop drinking coffee for a bit. So give giving them flexibility. You know? The portal is a perfect way to do that. We didn't really have that before, or we didn't... And it just makes everything easier, like for processing orders.

Chase Alderton: Yeah.

Marty Latham: Like I said, there's no heavy customer service interactions required. And you know? Customers like that, as well. They like being able to give them control, and it's easy.

Chase Alderton: And get out of spreadsheets.

Marty Latham: Yeah, get out of spreadsheets. Automate everything.

Chase Alderton: Let's flip it the other direction. What's a piece of advice you give for a brand who is scaling, and maybe has hit a plateau or two? How did they jump over that plateau and keep scaling?

Marty Latham: Yeah. I think I was just going to refer back to something that we did to get over that, and that was to remove any potential barriers to actually getting the product, like physically getting the product.

Marty Latham: We have a larger copy bay than most of our competitors, so the constant not getting to the actual person was a bit of a barrier for us. So during all of this, we managed to roll out a little box project, and that was that we can now get a bag of coffee through the letter slot. Now, they're quite small little slots. It doesn't get through all of them, but most of them. And that for us, that saw a huge jump. Because A, you're obviously getting it through, and you're getting it to the customer. But they don't have to go to the post office, and they're aware of how it was, and they see the changes that we're making. Because they'd been asking for it for a while, we just weren't quite sure how to achieve it.

Marty Latham: And once we did that, then obviously, it makes sense to get it to them quicker. And also, I think choosing... For us, as key was to choose the fastest way to get things there. I don't mean same-day courier scenarios, that's not financially viable.

Chase Alderton: Right.

Marty Latham: But we use the fastest option that we can with our national post system, because fresh coffee is fresh coffee. And I think just getting it to them as fast as we possibly could. You know? There are options that are cheaper, but getting the thing to the people is really key, really. I know that makes it sound really simple, but yeah. There was a huge bump for us getting it to them, getting it through their door as quickly.

Chase Alderton: Yeah.

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: We can do an entire episode on logistics of things like that, right? With verticals everywhere, you know? It's with London, it's the small mailboxes and having to get a bag of coffee through that, that's a hurdle that a lot of people just don't think about.

Marty Latham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: So I think that's great advice. You always got to look at every piece of this customer experience.

Marty Latham: Yeah, definitely. Definitely.

Chase Alderton: Last question for you. What do you subscribe to?

Marty Latham: So I subscribed to Wild Deodorant, which is a mail-order deodorant-

Chase Alderton: Yeah.

Marty Latham: ... I think is really cool. I actually just like the actual product, and their deodorant's great, and I don't need to think about it anymore.

Marty Latham: Who Gives A Crap, toilet paper. I don't know if this is a worldwide thing, or if that's offensive. But yeah, I think that's a very simple thing. And we signed up for that over COVID because the toilet paper shortage was real-

Chase Alderton: Yep.

Marty Latham: ... which is weird. But yeah, that obviously takes away any supermarket visit just for toilet paper, or anything.

Marty Latham: And we have a local organic veg that's very... Kind of the opposite of digital platforms scenarios.

Chase Alderton: Yep.

Marty Latham: We give them money, we pick it up at a point, and it's the best organic veg we can get. They've got really good ethos behind them we really want to get behind.

Marty Latham: So yeah, those are the key things. I'm not counting Netflix, or any of those things.

Chase Alderton: Well, Marty, thank you so much for joining us. Best of luck in your next venture.

Marty Latham: Yeah. Thank you very much for having me.

Chase Alderton: We'd like to thank Marty once again for joining us. If you're interested in Square Mile Coffee, you can head over to shop.squaremilecoffee.com.

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