Coffee Republic founder: How to create a bootstrapping culture

Workplace Evolution Podcast: Sahar Hashemi brought the American coffee shop concept to the UK. Here she discusses entrepreneurial culture, scaling and the importance of pessimistic business plans.

by Michael Costello
Last Updated: 28 Jul 2020

You could say Sahar Hashemi is the person most directly responsible for your skinny latte habit. A former corporate lawyer, she co-founded the UK’s first US-style coffee shop chain in the mid-1990s, Coffee Republic. By the time she left in 2001, it had over 100 stores nationwide.

In the below Workplace Evolution Podcast, in association with Management Today, she tells business psychologist Michael Costello how a bootstrapping, entrepreneurial culture requires an utter rejection of perfectionism, and how to hold onto it as your business scales.

She also advises on the importance of injecting a note of pessimism into your business plans, and discusses when pushing through rejection stops being a mark of honour and starts being a red flag that you need to reassess your ideas.

About the Workplace Evolution Podcast, in association with Management Today:

Business psychologist Michael Costello meets top business people and workplace experts to address common leadership, management and workplace challenges. This year Management Today will be sharing interviews with guests including Justin Hughes (former leader of the Red Arrows on psychological safety), Simon Woodroffe (founder of Yo!Sushi on creativity and innovation) and Formula 1's David Coulthard (on resilience).

Image credit: Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

Artwork: Workplace Evolution

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