Dove Chen is a 2-time NZ Barista Champion and semi-finalist at the World Barista Championship. So when Dove decided decided to branch out from running cafes to setting up his Hamilton coffee bean roastery Grey Roasting Co. he was a seriously overstretched ‘one man band’. Working on growing his bean-wholesaling side hustle into his main business meant spending every evening hunched over his laptop.
Being tired and working late meant more mistakes and more work until Upstock came along as a “proxy staff member”.
“With Upstock and its Xero integration, I don't need to do paperwork anymore. My invoicing is automatic and I’m getting paid faster. So basically, I'm free now! When the company was small, I couldn't afford to hire another person just doing orders and invoicing. Upstock just does it all for me – I can't imagine life without it.”
With his evenings back Dove’s now got more time to spend on the aspects of the business he loves – sourcing the best beans, geeking out over new barista tech and of course fine-tuning that consistently perfect brew.
“Upstock … it’s saved my life, to be honest. Cutting out all the ordering errors has helped me build trust with my customers. Upstock makes it so easy for my customers to order with me – they can just look back at their past orders and adjust or repeat.”
More from our chat with Dove...
How did things work before Upstock?
I did invoices manually and ended up dealing with a lot of mistakes. Same for the ordering - there was ‘channel overload’ Some customers texted me their order; some emailed, Facebooked, or Instagrammed. I was always having to cross-check so I didn’t miss the orders. Now everybody just puts their orders through Upstock – it’s way less stressful. And it's actually quite easy on the customer side as well. They can just basically open up an order and get it done.
What would you say to someone considering using Upstock?
Well actually I have friends who work in the same industry and I've been recommending it to all my fellow roasting companies. I say “give it a go”. And actually, a lot of them are coming on board as well. I used to talk to some of the coffee roasters in Auckland and I’d say “hey, do you want to hang out; go for a beer - I'm up in Auckland right now”. And they’d say “I've got lots of paperwork to do”. I told them about Upstock and they started using it, which is fascinating to see. And yeah, now we can go out for beers!
What were your expectations before you started using Upstock?
I had no expectations at the time because I was just looking for anything that could help. I just thought I’ll give it a try - nothing to lose, right? If it works, perfect, keep using it. If it doesn't work, then we just look for a new platform or system. But it worked out really well - it’s one of the best things ever.
Upstock helped you grow from a side hustle to rapidly expanding roastery and restaurant. How is it helping you to grow beyond that? You know, my skill is not doing admin work. My talents are looking for coffee and doing coffee training for my customers. So now I can do what I'm good at, rather than spending my time doing something that I'm not good at, or I'm not interested in and I have more time to reach out to potential customers. So it's definitely a ‘win-win’ situation.