This weekend I had the pleasure of spending a rainy Saturday afternoon in the warmth of the brand new Chapter One Coffee & Wine Room on Bondi Beach.
A fantastic café and wine bar with views over Australia’s most famous beach, Chapter One is sure to be a winner.
So I asked co-founder and long time friend Rosie Campbell to share the Chapter One story in another Innovate or Die exclusive.
What is Chapter One all about?
Chapter One is about enjoying life!
It’s about food and drink and wine; somewhere to enjoy the beautiful location whilst feeling comfortable and completely at home; it’s about catching up with friends and making new friends; it’s about quality produce and quality service; most of all it’s about fun.
Why have you opened Chapter One?
A few reasons really: We have always enjoyed hosting people at our home over the years and we’re renowned for it amongst our friends so it was kind of a natural progression in that sense.
Second, there seems to be a huge interest in wine bars at the moment, they’re really taking off in Sydney. We enjoy visiting them so we figured it’d be even better to hang out in one that reflects everything we love about them!
And finally we figured if you’re going to bust a lung working then you might as well be doing it for yourself.
Where did the name “Chapter One” come from?
We’re still trying to come up with a good story for this, we get asked a lot…the truth is that one of us initially wanted to do a wine bar with a book exchange, a sort of ‘bring one in and take one home’ kind of deal.
But that didn’t eventuate as we didn’t feel it was the right location. We kept the name as it is pretty catchy!
Who is your target market?
Our main aim is to create a place for Bondi Beach locals to hang out and enjoy some fine wine and food.
But having said that we welcome all with open arms as long as you love good food and good drink you will love Chapter One.
What are you doing at Chapter One that is different and innovative?
Quite a few things. The look and feel of the place are very unique for the area. We’ve been told it has a very Tuscan-rustic mood; it’s very cosy and warm.
Another thing is the overall experience: our menu is quite compact but is definitely themed.
The wine-list has been carefully selected to complement the plates that we offer, and has been overseen by the Good Food Guide Sommelier of the Year, so it really is a quality list for a smaller place. Our staff are committed to facilitating this experience for all of our customers.
How are you marketing Chapter One?
Mainly via social media and word of mouth. We’re all in or around Bondi and most of our friends are too so we’re fortunate in that we already have a decent amount of ‘locals’ who are keen to hang out with us and spread the word.
What has been the best part of opening Chapter One?
Realising a dream. Putting all of our hopes and time and money into this project and watching it grow from an idea to a fully formed and beautiful space that we have created and are genuinely excited about being around.
Well that and the copious amounts of wine samples we have had to taste! It’s tough sometimes…
What has been the hardest part?
Learning how to set up and now run a business!!
Every step of the planning was far harder than what we had anticipated, the level of detail in every little step is incredible.
Then there is the financial side: how to come up with a budget; trying, and failing, to keep to it; forecasting, book-keeping, staffing.
And the operational side too, but I guess we will learn more about that as we go!
What is the best piece of business advice you have received?
Double it and triple it. Double the time you planned for and triple the money!
It’s not particularly encouraging but it was pretty much spot on.
Finally, what is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to start their own business?
Apart from doubling and tripling…I’d say go for it.
If you genuinely believe in your product and in yourself then there is every reason that you will succeed in your endeavours, that is, providing you are prepared to put in the hours.
I always think that if I can do it, so can you!