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About Us

The Coffee Apple is small family owned business located in Australia, based in Ringwood East on outskirts of Melbourne, Victoria.

My goal is to keep our customers happy, with outstanding customer service and stunning products. 

HELLO .... let me introduce myself, my name is Helen and as you might have guessed, this is NOT your normal "About Us" page.  

I have always loved finding that perfect present, something that's a little bit different, special and outside the box.  A present that will be played with over and over again AND if I'm very lucky, a present that will be passed on to future generations.

The Coffee Apple began in 2010, in the tiny front display room of the local dry-cleaners.  My little business is one that started from scratch.  My husband said.... "go for it... BUT you have to build it from nothing!"  GULP... nerves kicked in... and then I decided... I'm going to make it work.  

THE TEAM

 Helen Johnston, devoted mum and crazy small business owner. 

ABOUT ME... "Try and choose elective subjects that will lead you into your VCE and University studies".  Those words from my teacher in year 9 have echoed in my head for years. I had NO IDEA what I wanted to do when I grew up.  One minute I wanted to be a nurse like my mum or perhaps in the police force and then I thought I would be happy with my own desk in a city law office... I was wrong.

With the arrival of my first son William I swapped over my skirts and high heels for cargo pants and runners.  Like many mums there were times when I found this transition a little difficult... I missed the craziness of the office, the adult conversation and the mental challenge.  Going out was no longer just grabbing the handbag, but the pram, nappy bag, toys, etc etc 

Finally after all these years of searching I've found something that I LOVE.... building a business from the ground up, finding products for children that are fantastically wonderful, inspirational and educational. 

There is simply nothing better than finding that product that just catches my eye, takes my breath away and sets my mind racing..... 

 William Johnstonthe little boy who started a dream.

Without William there would be no little business.... this little boy has taught me so much more about myself in his 5 years than I thought possible.  

He is the best product tester you could ask for, golly he has a hard job!  His ability to model products for photo shoots and demonstrate products to customers and in our product videos is amazing. If he doesn't click with a product it's simply not going to sell. 

From helping with product demonstrations and videos, to assisting with postal runs, William's grasp and understanding of our online business and the speed that he learns is scary. 

We are our children's first teacher and I can't wait to see what happens next..... 

 Little Oliver Johnston, has the ability to melt your heart in an instant.

Magically wonderful. Before Oliver arrived I was worried that I wouldn't be able to love another child like our William.  But I was wrong, his eyes hold me captive from the time he wakes to the time he sleeps and his smile and giggle are irresistible.  

Don't be fooled by his size our little Oliver is going to be all mischief, in the best possible way.  William and Oliver are the perfect team... it's like they had been having a secret conversation for 9 months and then finally they got to meet each other.  

These two little boys are going to teach me how to be a fun mum!

 Emma and little Jade, the amazing little duo that helps keep me sane!

Emma really should been called Mary Poppins... a nanny in life before kids and with 3 children of her own Emma knows what I need before I do.   With a coffee in one hand and magic in the other Emma is the other me.  Wrapping and packing is the mission with lots of fun, laughter and way too much chocolate.... I don't think I would have survived the chaos of Christmas without her!   

Mischief is the perfect middle name for both Little Oliver and Jade and oh my gosh when they are together they give us a run for our money.... cheeky and ever so cute, every day I'm sure to find something in my house very carefully and very well wrapped in sticky tape!

 Adam Johnston, has watched this little business grow from just a little seed.

Small business by its very nature has its ups and downs and it's certainly not for the faint hearted.  Adam brings to this little team a different skill set... he has rebuilt my computer several times and points me in the right direction when coding behind the website has me stumped. With long, long hours and very limited storage space Adam has, every now and then, had to remind me the importance of keeping the balance.

Above all, he is proud of me, even when I'm driving him totally and utterly crazy.  

HOW IT ALL STARTED 

Now I have always loved handmade and after speaking with the local dry cleaner, who agreed to let me use his small front display room, I took the jump of a lifetime.  Baby in arms, I went to a local handmade market in search of talented artists.  My pitch went something like this.... "you don't know me, however I have a crazy and very daring question.  Would you be game to help me setup a little shop in Ringwood East and let me sell your products on commission?"  The answer from nearly all I asked was YES.

Next was marketing... on zero budget... heart in my throat I hit the playgrounds .... YUP this is going to sound insane.  I printed out little bits of paper with my business name and started TALKING to real people and I have to say it was hard.  Normally I'm very shy (about now I know you're probably not  believing me) however I was determined.  I would stand at the set of swings pushing William and wondering how I was going to start a conversation... heart pumping and feeling sick I would tell them about my dream and ask that they follow us on Facebook.  Each night, after William was in bed I would check TCA Facebook page and I can't begin to explain the excitement I felt, when I began to see people who I has spoken to that day actually "liking" our Facebook page.  From here our numbers grew and I learnt about the power of word of mouth.  While word of mouth can take many years it is quite simply amazing.  

Initially back in September, 2010 The Coffee Apple started as a dream to become a family friendly cafe and gift shop... after 2 long hard years in the front of the dry cleaners and many markets I made the next step.... I decided to start an online shop and quite simply my little business was never the same again.