Origin: Good Coffee in Bloemfontein

We don't have to look too far back into South Africa's history to remember a time where good coffee was hard to come by. Faba Roastery was born out of the idea that Bloemfontein is ready for speciality coffee, made local. Gerard and his family launched their coffee shop and roastery back in 2016 out of a love for good coffee. While an online store was always something they wanted to spin up it took a pandemic to push them to take eCommerce to next level. 

The Coffee.

Faba Coffee roasts their own coffee with green beans from Brazil and Malawi. All of the coffee is traceable and farmed by small scale operations.

The early days of growing Faba was as much about coffee education as anything. In the early days  visitors, friends and anyone passing by all received free coffee. They  ordered packaging, stickers, bags, beans and commissioned somebody to make their stall. They were ready for their first market and that of course had to be the Boermarket.

Gerard and the team still get a  buzz serving people good quality coffee and seeing how they love it. As the store has grown they've begun selling baked items and selling more beans. In addition they distribute beans wholesale to some restaurants and other sellers. As Covid-19 threatened the sustainability of the business they were pushed to take selling online beyond orders on Instagram and Facebook. 




Faba Roastery is bootstrapped  but launching a coffee shop and brand was a big investment most of which went into their roaster and two coffee machines. 

Choosing an eCommerce Platform

When they started, there was a company that designed their brand but they never had a website. When the time was right they finally  got around to getting the website built by Chaos. Chaos built it all  but Gerard also did learned a lot about the eCommerce space having to quickly dive into figuring out things like payments and shipping.

What theme do you use? 

Faba.coffee  is using Enfold theme.

What do you like the most about WordPress + WooCommerce? 

IWordPress and WooCommerce is highly customisable, there's no fees monthly, they have the iPhone app, you know when you get orders, there's tons of payment options and shipping is customisable. 

Are there any challenges with WordPress + WooCommerce?

None yet.

What Apps and Services do you find most useful?

They use Mailchimp for mail marketing and marketing automation.

Scrubbill verifies adresses and enables merchants to autofill waybills to tons of the leading South African couriers.

Retainful helps you oost sales with automatic cart recovery campaigns.

Xero's online accounting software helps you automate everyday business tasks, get up-to-date financials and run your business. 

Tidio helps you connect with your customers instantly with live chat.

How has Covid-19 impacted your business? How have you responded?

During lockdown they had to close the coffee shop for some time and had several wholesale customers that were closed down at times during the lockdown. They were excited to see the response from customers in Bloemfontein buying online and were thrilled to receive some orders from outside of Bloemfontein.

Growing the Business 

Online sales went going better than expected, all orders have been local. They've put a lot of effort into sharing their journey and sharing about their products on social media. They've done a bit of paid ads but overall are just working on posting more regularly. Having even a few fans who regularly post and share has been really helpful in growing their audience.

Who do you use for Payments? 

Faba is using Payfast, Yoco, Ozow for EFT, it’s been nice, free trans fees for the first year. They also added BitPay to offer bitcoin (linked to Luno wallet).

Advice for other Entrepreneurs getting started? 

While lots of businesses lean on developers and they often know more, in the end it’s you running the shop, get to know it all, know what’s going on.

Also get to know the experience the customer goes through and try to help create the best possible experience on your online store.