I'm exciting to be unveiling my new series: The Inspiration Interviews. I'll be talking with inspiring movers and shakers about their unusual career paths, self-love, how they stay inspired, and advice for making your dreams come true. To kick things off, I want to introduce you to Charlie Pountney. Along with his business partner, John, Charlie recently launched Bottle & Bean, a monthly coffee and craft beer subscription service. You can sign up for a coffee or beer subscription, or opt for a combination of both. Charlie was kind enough to send me a sample of their first box and it was so much fun to try a selection of beers and coffees I wouldn't have picked out myself. Plus, if you can't attend the exclusive tastings in person, you can watch them online afterwards. So even if you don't like every one of that month's picks, you end up learning a lot in the process - perfect for any coffee or beer nerd.
Charlie has created a business that combines his passions and helps independent brewers and roasters reach the people who the people who are going to love their products. But before forging this entrepreneurial path he worked in investment banking. I hope you'll enjoy hearing his inspirational story.
Charlie Pountney, 29, Founder of Bottle & Bean in London
How would you sum up what you do? Bottle & Bean is a beer and coffee subscription service. Our aim is to help people discover new and exciting craft beer and speciality coffee in an educational and experiential way.
What unconventional career path brought you from there to here? I worked for an investment bank for 5 years after completing a year's internship in New York. With the threat of redundancy in 2011 I reevaluated what I wanted to get out of my career. Food and drink were always passions of mine and I had started developing a real interest for great, exciting beer. I identified an opportunity in online retail for speciality beer and started taking the steps to realise my goal.
Faced with the daunting prospect of leaving my job and setting up a business, in an industry where I had no real knowledge, I took a step in the right direction by setting up a beer tasting events business called Indie Ales. I started running popup craft beer tasting events in London outside of work which consequently helped get my foot in the door of the beer industry and enabled me to make valuable connections in the community.
At the very first tasting I ran I met my current girlfriend, who subsequently introduced me to my business parter John a short while later. John’s experience running his own business has allowed us to speedily build Bottle & Bean up from scratch in a few short months. In December I left my job at the bank to concentrate on running Bottle & Bean full time!
What does self-love mean to you and what role does it play in your life? The threat of redundancy in 2011 spurred me into making a few changes in my life. I wasn’t that I disliked my job it was more that I didn’t love it and it wasn’t fulfilling me as a person. Since then I’ve invested time and energy into looking after my own happiness. This seems strange on the surface but until you actually evaluate what makes you happy you are probably just content with the status quo.
Where does your inspiration come from? The guys from happystartupschool.com The Innocent Smoothie guys - 'A book about innocent’ Escapethecity.org Anyone who has the courage to do something unusual and follows their heart
What advice would you give for someone with a monumental dream looking to make it a reality? Take the first step. Everyone says they’d ‘love’ to do XYZ but few people actually do anything about it. Just by taking the first step, however small, you are already doing something that 90% of people were too scared or lazy try.
Thank you, Charlie! It's so inspiring to hear how you found opportunity in the threat of redundancy and built your dream over time. I'm sure that your words will inspire more people to get out there and take that first step!
If you're as keen on having new beers and coffees to taste each month, check out the different subscription options offered by Bottle and Bean. You can also keep up with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!
And I'd love to here: who inspires you? Is there anyone you'd particularly love to see featured here?
Lots of love,