How to build a Scottish coffee blending business

When you can choose just about everything, why not also choose the ratio of Peruvian to Chilean coffee beans in your morning blend? Mark Wilson, founder of Blendly, explains why choice is king, and how running a business in Scotland taps into a rich culinary tradition.

25 January 2019

As the clock ticks down to the celebrations of Burns’ Night, we spoke to Mark Wilson, owner of Blendly, about running a Scottish business and creating the perfect blend.

Hi Mark, thanks for bringing us our own iwoca blend —we drink a lot of coffee in this office. Tell us about Blendly.

Blendly allows ultimate control over your coffee. Using our website, our customers all over the UK can fine tune the percentages of different beans to make their favourite blend. It’s a highly personalised experience. I always say that "choice is the new value", it’s key to everything; customers love having products that are unique to their lifestyle. It’s the era of the individual, after all.

How did it start?

I set the company up two years ago in Perthshire after a career as a project manager. I had been roasting coffee on the side, and it was a major passion for me, so I decided to scale up and take on the web.

What was the best thing about setting up a business of your own?

On a personal level, I’ve got a young family, so I get to spend more time with them than I would otherwise do in a traditional office. Otherwise, running a small business is really engaging, you’ve got to meet the demands of the developing market otherwise you won’t thrive. A small business is about managing change.

What makes running a business in Scotland unique?

Scotland is an absolutely brilliant place to do business. We’ve got a culture of innovation and progression in our bones. Just look at all our big names, Walkers Shortbread, Tunnocks Tea Cakes, all the whiskey! The developments in food technology are rooted in tradition. However, now there’s the particular challenge of access to relevant skills. Skills and knowledge can be hard to hone in on, but it’s still a really exciting place to operate in.

Thanks so much for chatting with us Mark, we can’t wait to try the iwoca Crema blend.

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