Tim and Sophia Joannides of Bluebell Coffee and Kitchen in Swansea
Two enterprising Swansea siblings have opened their own café-come-restaurant in a bid to bring tasty dishes from around the world to the city.
Capitalising on their Greek heritage and love of world food, Tim and Sophia Joannides have just launched their restaurant – Bluebell Coffee and Kitchen in Swansea, and are already planning for new premises, with support from the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service.
Bluebell is a family-run café, based in Tycoch Square, 10 minutes from Swansea city centre. Open seven days a week, it specialises in offering quality coffee and tea, as well as healthy yet exciting and innovative dishes, inspired by the world cuisine Tim and Sophia have experienced during their travels.
Cooking and food have always played a significant part in Tim and Sophia’s lives so the pair decided to follow a real passion and dream of theirs and opened a speciality restaurant that serves quality, innovative coffee and food.
Both siblings have a background in the hospitality industry: Sophia has worked and travelled in Asia and Australia where she has managed several bars and restaurants. Tim has run his own businesses including ‘Happy Paws’, an innovative pet products company.
Bluebell offers a wide range of meat and fish-based dishes with a diverse world food menu, using local organic ingredients where possible. Recognising the increased number of vegetarians and vegans in the UK in the past 10 years, they also include a selection of healthy, tasty and innovative options for this market.
Tim got in touch with Business Wales for general start-up support and to enquire about available funding opportunities. Whilst a certain amount of investment had already been sourced, Tim and Sophia felt they needed more finance, particularly for marketing.
Business Wales growth adviser Angela Williams then assisted Tim and Sophia to secure a start-up grant from Swansea Council towards marketing costs.
Angela also reviewed Bluebell’s business plan, cashflow projections and financial forecasts to ensure their viability based on their plans to open two additional restaurants within a three-year period. She also referred Tim to Business Wales Skills Gateway and equality and diversity advisers.
Tim commented: “Business Wales and Angela have been great in informing us about the help Swansea Council and the Welsh Government can offer businesses. I have used Business Wales for several years now and they are always ready to help, keep in regular contact with you and are genuinely interested in our business’s success. I’d highly recommend anyone considering starting a business to give them a call and meet up for a chat.”
Angela said: “At Business Wales, we are always delighted to see ambitious entrepreneurs achieve their business dreams and I am particularly happy to have supported Tim and Sophia turn theirs into reality. I wish them every success and look forward to their future growth plans for the Bluebell Coffee and Kitchen brand.”
Tim’s top tips for anyone looking to start or grow their own business:
1) Surround yourself with experienced mentors who have direct experience in your industry.
2) Build a strong team.
3) Employ staff on attitude over aptitude!
4) Learn every day and don’t take things personally.
5) Appraise performance regularly!