The Barn Owl is calling…
The Midlands is famous for its crisp clean air, serene atmosphere, picturesque views, stretches of farmland and charming little towns and restaurants. And these are just some of the reasons you may want to visit. One other such reason is The Barn Owl.
Tell us a little about you and your journey to owning The Barn Owl?
Hi there. I’m Ryan, the owner of The Barn Owl. The Barn Owl is a series of flukes haha. So, I quit my corporate job in 2017 with no big plans – and it wasn’t clear to me that it would ever be something concrete. But, before I knew it, it was getting a ton of traction – and once we had handled about 280 events, we realised that we needed to put down some roots. So then I designed this (as he points to the store).
“Coffee is a social thing. And I love the social side of The Barn Owl. Coz I get to meet people.” –Ryan
Making the transition from corporate to venturing out here on my own was easy. I wasn’t scared or worried. I think my parents were more worried about it then I was haha. My mum thought I was crazy because I went from like the dream job, well-paid, very secure, well-esteemed business position, to a barista making coffee in a caravan.
For my business, I know that local is better and that coffee is great for the social interactions. I believe in working with the community to get coffee to my customers. See, I realised that I could work with people rather than buying from big chains and big businesses. So I buy from the smallest possible suppliers. We deal only with independence. We don’t deal with any chains. For example, the milk that we are drinking right now comes from just 4.4 km away. The lady only has seven cows and we buy all her milk.
What inspired the concept of The Barn Owl?
So I knew I wanted to name it after an animal but I wasn’t really sure which one exactly. But then I thought that I wanted to make it personal. And the most personal thing to me is my family. My dad is my hero – and he used to tell me these bedtime stories about this barn owl. And I just remember like hearing about him and this barn owl. And I had to name this place after it. It’s really personal for me.
Who or what inspires you/your brand, Ryan?
The people that inspire me are the very people in our community. Small-scale farmers who put in everything that they have, to give us the best ingredients that we get to present to you. And that, for me, is important. It’s an inspiration.
Ryan, what’s your recipe for success?
There’s no master plan. I don’t have a 5-year plan. I’m very reactive. I go in with my gut and I do what feels right.
What book are you currently reading?
Anything John Steinberg. And also, books about people.
Why did you choose iKhokha?
We’ve got three machines, actually. The banks felt a bit achy. I got a 40-page contract from the bank to rent a machine. So iKhokha really does make it easier. It gives us everything we need without the fills and trills.
What’s the vision for The Barn Owl in next 5 years?
I’ve just recently gone into partnership with the restaurants here. They’re on the same page as me. From the 1st of December, we’re gonna have a young dynamic chef in-house. It’s gonna be amazing because now I’ll have some help. Which is really, really cool. So that’s for this location . And then ideally more takeaway shops.
What’s your advice to young entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Don’t wait for the right time. Jump in with both feet. The sooner you start, the sooner the time will be right. If I had waited for the stars to line up before I started my own business, I’d still be waiting.
It’s also important to have the support of your family and friends. There will be times that are tough, so you are going to them to pick you up.
“My business isn’t trying to dupe you. I wanna give you the best. You know exactly where everything comes from. Not for any other reason other than you are a human being to me – and it’s the right thing to do.” –Ryan
How do people get a hold of you?
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