Case study: 92 Degrees
92 Degrees have come a long way since opening its first coffee shop and roastery in Liverpool back in 2015. With a family of venues, an ever-growing online presence, and happy customers from Anfield to Australia, they are a genuine Liverpool success story. We caught up with Head of Brand Julia Auchey and Head of Marketing Olivia Murphy to talk B Corps, beans, and how Shift has helped the team evolve.
What do you think is the secret behind the success of 92 Degrees?
Olivia: Awesome coffee for everyone, everywhere – that’s the simple answer! But really our whole operation is built around three pillars: people, community, and coffee. Often our conversations are around spaces for community talent, supporting local suppliers, or how we can push forward our sustainability initiatives – great coffee is the thing that unites it all.
Julia: We care about people first and foremost. From the people growing the coffee to the people drinking the coffee and everyone in between.
You’ve started the B Corp process – how are you finding it? Any tips for businesses considering it?
Julia: We’re working through the assessment to become B Corp Certified and it’s been really great. It’s opened our eyes and highlighted areas - we’re progressing anyway but we need to look at in more detail at. One big thing is the data you collect, making sure you collect it in the right way and the right detail. It's definitely a challenge but I'm really excited about how it will benefit us when we get the certification.
It aligns with our sustainability goals, it's a big part of who we are. Having the stamp of approval from the B Corp society will allow our customers to have trust in what we're doing and shows our authentic commitment to society and the environment.
We're looking into One Percent for the Planet as well, and other platforms and programmes to help us to be more transparent about what we're doing. Since 2019 we’ve partnered with Project Waterfall which is a charity that gives clean water and sanitation to coffee growing communities around the world. We donate 10% of sales from all our retail coffee bags and so far, that’s guaranteed over 496 people will get clean water and sanitation for life.
Is it a challenge to embed sustainability across the business?
Olivia: What’s key, and what works for us, is that we're really focused on planning long-term solutions that we'll be able to continue after we get B Corp certified. We know that can't do everything all at once, we implement things when we're going to be able to do it right and when it can be sustainable for the business too.
We've got so much expansion planned for this year and it's really important we've got the solid foundations in place. As we continue to grow it's important our customers and the people that join us can see our genuine commitment to our values.
Julia: It really is a holistic thing. On a local level, we’re committed to using suppliers and developing partnerships with people close to the communities we operate in and bigger picture we’re looking at new ways we can make our international sales and sourcing more sustainable.
What drove your expansion online?
Olivia: Like so many other businesses when Covid hit it was a bit if an 'uh-oh' moment. It stripped everything away from us and we had to rethink how we could survive – and how we could make sure people could get coffee! We quickly realised it was more than a means to an end. We’ve always had people coming into the shops who are visiting the city and saying they wished they could get 92 Degrees closer to home, so until we’re in their community it’s the next best thing.
Julia: We really just want speciality coffee to be available for everyone, everywhere. So we’ve developed the site so you can get regular subscriptions from us. It's gone from a lockdown solution to a place where we connect with a lot of customers nationally and internationally. We’ve reached crazy places like Indonesia, Australia, and the US and people are really loving it.
With that new online and digital expansion, how did the Shift programme help you as a business?
Olivia: Shift was so engaging. I've done quite a lot of courses in the past and Shift is definitely one of the best. I liked the way every session wasn’t just about learning - it was about applying that in the moment to your business.
Lots of the things we covered we've applied. Taking failure as a learning opportunity was already part of our approach, but the session on that cemented the importance to us and gave us some new strategies. And the workaround productivity has helped us to understand different working patterns in the team. Being able to connect with people in Liverpool was a massive thing and hearing lots of other people's stories and successes were inspiring too.
What does the future hold for 92 Degrees?
Olivia: It’s an exciting time, we’ve got plans for new spaces and growth within the team. It’s important for us to balance our growth on and offline – to make sure everyone gets the same experience however they interact with us.
Julia: I guess our shops are showrooms almost, giving people the experience in our shops that they can then continue by going online and getting the coffee to have at home as well – it becomes part of their lifestyle. We’ll continue to try new things as well, like the 92 Club App we’ve just launched where you can pay £20 a month and get 5 hot drinks a day.