One of Scotland’s most respected coffee brands – Cairngorm Coffee – has appointed a new director and unveiled new packaging as part of a plan to convince everyone in the country to drink good, ethically sourced, coffee.
The Edinburgh business, founded by Robi Lambie in 2014, became one of Scotland’s most popular coffee brands since launch, opening two successful coffee shops in Edinburgh city centre.
However, when the pandemic hit, the firm’s Melville Place and Frederick Street coffee shops suffered a 72.5% loss in 2020 as regular customers and tourists stayed at home.
This prompted Robi to focus Cairngorm’s efforts online to save the business resulting in a 1,100% growth in online orders of clothing and coffee in 2021. The business is now on track to turnover £1m for the first time in 2022.
Now, with both shops operating smoothly as Covid restrictions come to an end, Cairngorm has kicked-off its plans to futureproof the business as it begins a sales drive to recruit wholesale customers across Scotland and beyond, and launches a new Direct to Consumer subscription service.
And Robi has called upon an old friend from his childhood in Duffus, Moray to help him.
Harris Grant, co-founder of the Edinburgh-based Scottish Edge-winning vegan fashion retailer Treen, has joined as co-owner and operations director.
The trained accountant spent almost five years working for KPMG in Hong Kong before returning to his native Scotland where he launched Treen alongside his partner, Cat Anderson.
Harris, 34, said: ‘Good coffee is all about balance, and I feel I bring some organisational acumen to act as a foil to Robi’s creative flair and unparalleled coffee expertise. The business he has built is absolutely incredible and I am so proud to now be a part of it.
‘I’ve kept a close eye on Cairngorm since the beginning, and I’ve always thought the potential is huge.
‘Robi’s standards – from sourcing to the final taste – are exceptional, and he is so naturally talented as a marketer and a storyteller. What he has already built is outstanding and I’m very excited to work with him to take Cairngorm to the next level.’
In one of his first orders of business, Harris appeared alongside Robi in a viral spoof Apple-style video to launch Cairngorm’s eye-catching new coffee packaging.
Robi, a former musician who learned to roast at the famous Ralia Cafe in the heart of the Cairngorms, added: ‘The pandemic made me think differently. Our main focus had always been the shops, and it’s not an exaggeration to say I was in a state of severe panic when lockdown hit – we went from being on track for £1m turnover to near disaster.
‘However, looking back, it was the best thing that ever happened to the business. It made me expand my horizons and it opened my mind to what’s possible.
‘What seemed like the worst thing that ever happened has in many ways been a good thing. It has caused me to completely re-evaluate everything – from how our coffee is packaged to how we reach customers who live outside of Edinburgh to whether I wanted to go it alone as a solo business owner.
‘While I’m so relieved to be serving our loyal customers in Edinburgh again at both shops, I’m very excited to now have the potential to reach far more people through our subscription service and wholesale customers.
‘I’m excited about a new beginning for the business alongside a friend who has improved every area of Cairngorm from the moment he joined.’
The pair now plan to begin a recruitment drive to add even more top coffee talent to the team. They are also now on the hunt for a new roastery.
Robi (32), added: ‘Scotland’s coffee scene has transformed in the years since we began, we’ve got to keep moving forward all the time. There are so many great roasters in Scotland that it feels like we’re part of a movement.
‘But too many people still accept poorly roasted unethically sourced coffee. Together, I hope we can change that.’
To find out more about Cairngorm Coffee Roasters, visit https://cairngorm.coffee