How I became a cafe owner: Brew Box’s Laura Cameron

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Entrepreneur Laura Cameron, 32, set up her own cafe last year…in a Police Box! The Brew Box Coffee Company sells delicious sandwiches and coffees in Glasgow’s Merchant City and has fast become a local favourite. We speak to Laura about the challenges of running a (very) small business. 

How did you first come up with the idea of the Brew Box Coffee?
With having my wee girl Isabella, I knew I had to develop a better legacy than a mum coming home shattered every night from a thankless job. I wanted her to be inspired and have a positive outlook to her career path. At the time I was cooking daily and experimenting with different flavours and ingredients. After years of cooking and hosting dining parties I decided that this was my calling and then started making the moves to get my business plan in place. After months of planning, market research, experimenting with recipes and saving (a lot of saving) Brew Box was born!

How you come up with ideas for the menu?
I try to keep my menu as fresh as I can. I change it up every so often, keeping in some of the favourites that I just can’t seem to make enough of! Although it’s not an extensive menu, I try to make the dishes really well using great local ingredients. I find that keeping it simple and doing it well has worked out the best.  Any spare time I have I try out different variations – at the moment the menu has some classics with a twist. They have been going down great with my customers.

Any current favourites?
The favourites are definitely The Flamin’ New Yorker and The Rueben. My customers just seem to love that pastrami!

Is it hard to fit a business in such a small place?
In a word.. YES. As the shop is getting busier and busier I’m constantly coming up with new ways to keep up with the demand in such a small space. Organisation and systems are key. You need to be able to work fast pace and to still allow that one on one time with your customers.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt as an independent business owner?
Determination. There will always be lows in business, especially within your first year but I’ve found it key to keep on top of your game at all times. Remember why you are doing this in the first place.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The best is definitely the satisfaction of having a really good week, watching your business grow from strength to strength.My customers are absolutely amazing and have become my friends. Their support for Brew Box has been incredible and makes everyday worthwhile.

And the worst? 
The worst is probably doing it all on your own. Absolutely everything within the business is my responsibility. Although I don’t necessarily see this as a negative. I don’t need to have any conflicting ideas or thoughts about the business. It is 100% my input.

What’s next for you and the business?
I have an App created by Wheres it App, which has been doing fantastic. You can preorder your lunch ahead using our click and collect service. You can also check out what events we are involved in too. I have a few up my sleeves at the moment and really excited to be involved in. Other than events there are other plans to take Brew Box to the next level. Watch this space.

Any tips for any budding entrepreneurs?
Lots of planning! If you have a business idea or product in place make sure you have explored all avenues before starting up your business. Is it viable? First and foremost is your unique business idea. What separates you from other businesses? And just go for it! If you don’t take the plunge your idea is just an idea. Not a reality. Once you have everything in place, however long it may take. Go for it.

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