Woa… talk about a multi-tasker. During our meeting she continued to wow me – this stylish but unassuming woman with a gorgeous Irish accent was just so, well… nice. The passion that emanated from her was infectious. She spoke about her work and our upcoming event with such an intense level of enthusiasm.When you meet someone who is this passionate about what they do you realise how rare it is. By talking, listening and working with such people you’re inspired to do something bigger, something better, yourself. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Therese many times since then, and she is one of the most talented and driven women I’ve ever met. So when the Confetti team was brainstorming content ideas for issue one, I knew we had to feature Therese and her empire of inspiring and successful cafes in Townsville. Thankfully Therese agreed to be interviewed in the comforts of one of her newest brand of cafe’s Milk Espresso, on Bayswater Road in Townsville. Meet the Queen of ‘coffee cool’…
With a cup of coffee in hand, Therese explains how she and partner Matt have successfully opened seven cafes over three brands – Bambini, Milk Espresso and Millie J and Co – around Townsville since 2005. Wait, hold the latte… that’s seven cafes in eight years. Do they ever sleep?!?
“It’s been a crazy, hectic ride, but we love it! A lot of hard work has gone into our cafes, but it’s the combination of good coffee and great staff that make this business feel like family.”
And with a staff of about 100, that’s one big happy family they’ve proudly brought together. We imagine their Christmas parties must have the coffee martinis flowing!
‘So much of our business is our staff – if you don’t have the right people working for you then you have nothing. Staff have to want to be there because they create the atmosphere and ambience, just as much as the lighting and decor.’Walking through the doors at Milk Espresso is like stepping into a cafe somewhere in Scandinavia. The mix of milky whites, birch and timber textures, fluffy throws and chunky knitted cushions sitting on tree trunk stools… it’s obvious Therese has a knack for creating stylish spaces where you just want to linger.
“A LOT OF HARD WORK HAS GONE INTO OUR CAFES, BUT IT’S THE COMBINATION OF GOOD COFFEE AND GREAT STAFF THAT MAKE THIS BUSINESS FEEL LIKE FAMILY.” Therese Jan
‘Designing cafes is my playtime, and with each new cafe I’ve had more ideas.’ With so many staff, accounts and cafes to manage, Therese has still found time to re-brand the oldest cafe of the trio – Bambini – with the first renovations just finished in the Stokes Street cafe. ‘We’ve been going for eight years so it was definitely time to re brand Bambini,’ Therese said. ‘The look is much more industrial, edgier.’
I couldn’t wait to see it, so when Bambini re-opened following renovations soon after Easter, I pounced on the city cafe. Hellooo industrial chic! Glossy black walls, white subway tiles, hanging industrial lights, uber cool cold drip coffee, and the mother of all coffee machines – a state of the art ‘La Cimbali’ machine.
‘Expansion has been a good thing but you get to a point when you realise you can only control so much. Our biggest challenge for the future is consolidating and concentrating on our existing group of cafes – this year is about making strong what we already have,’ Therese said.
And Therese’s advice for others wanting to aim big and achieve their dreams? ‘Work hard and never take your eye off the ball! Always stay in touch with changing trends – people are always looking for something new – which is why we are constantly upgrading our machines and interior to ensure we have a modern, stylish environment. Love what you do and always strive to be the best version of yourself.’