I should have been looking for a birthday present for my mum, but instead I was scrolling Facebook. This big, hairy, teethy face was talking at me through my screen and I didn’t know why. “Luke Jackson is LIVE!” Thanks, Facebook. That’s great. But who the fuck is Luke? And what’s he so excited about? I flipped the sound on to hear a very enthusiastic monologue about coffee grinding, which was essentially a man shouting at an iPhone in Carlisle, whilst I watched it slouched on my sofa 320 miles away in Surrey. That was my first experience of Facebook Live.
Thanks to internet buttons and URL black magic, I was signed-up to “Bruce & Luke’s Hand Crafted Coffee” in minutes. I had suddenly decided that I needed a bag of ground coffee delivered to my office every three weeks. I order a hell of a lot of shit off the internet, but had never really considered a coffee subscription. It was the Facebook Live experience and the sheer teethy passion for the craft that grabbed me. And despite rampant competition from other coffee subscription services (which are sometimes cheaper), some great local coffee shops in my area, AND the option to just be a normal human being that makes his own coffee, I’m now on my 12th Bruce & Luke’s bag in 8 months.
What Bruce & Luke’s do right is connect with their crowd. The coffee shop model has been copied more times than that Sean Bean ‘brace yourselves’ meme. Everything is “organic” or “artisanal” and it’s always written on a chalkboard in fancy lettering whilst a vegan with 17 nose piercings tells you that they will accept the new £5 note but only begrudgingly. Coffee shops are a mishmash of mismatched furniture and framed “Keep Calm and Carry On” prints. Bruce & Luke’s do away with all of that. They just want to sell you COFFEE. They are so excited about their COFFEE that they want to tell you all about their coffee loudly and often. Luke regularly broadcasts live on Facebook from their roasting bunker, delving into different roasts, different flavours, but also adding a personal spin such as talking about skinny dipping or other startups from Carlisle that he admires. He’s visibly EXCITED the whole time. That excitement is INFECTIOUS. Drink a strong coffee and smile like a maniac, and the whole world smiles like a maniac with you.
Bruce & Luke’s approach is very much “back of house”. You get to see what they do behind-the-scenes, the fun they have, the mess they make, and the slog that goes into running a business. It doesn’t feel staged. It feels genuine. With a consistent presence on social media tied in with some pretty solid and accessible branding (again, a break from the tried tired and tested coffee model) it keeps you engaged. That very subscription model can be tough though, with customers paying little and not often. But it works where demand is met by a good product and great service.
The word passion is heinously overused (mostly on bad CVs, LinkedIn, and ‘about us’ pages) but these guys really do have the passion.
Check out Bruce & Luke’s below and pick-up a free sample from their site: