Keeping it local and with kindness always at its core
Two years ago Rianna and Jack Bingham set out to establish a café that had kindness at its core. A bold move and one they were advised against, however they were undeterred and pressed ahead determined to make it work.
Today Wildflower Espresso isn't just one of Wallsend’s most loved coffee haunts, it's become a community hub where people gather for quality coffee, a smile, and plenty of friendly chats.
Opening the doors in 2018 at just 26 and 24 years of age, Rianna and Jack were brand new to the business world and the first to admit they were completely blind to what lay ahead.
“When we started we had no business experience, but we knew what we wanted to do. When we were thinking of starting the business we spoke to our accountant who tried to talk us out of it saying that kindness isn’t a point of difference, 'that’s customer service', but we’ve stuck to our plan and I can say two years on that it’s actually come to fruition.”
Much of the reason Wildflower Espresso has been so successful is purely down to Rianna and Jack’s simple concept of just wanting to make people feel happy, along with a bit of help from some local friends as Rianna explained,
“Working with local businesses has really helped, there’s almost a mutual understanding or want to help one another.”
“We had no idea how to run a business when we started, no idea how to do banking or how to start a float, that’s not an exaggeration, we had no idea!”
“The team at Newcastle Permanent in Wallsend basically taught us everything we needed to know about banking in the most fundamental way, taught us those skills that no one actually teaches you but it’s assumed you’ve already learnt. They answered all those unGoogleable questions (laughs).”
“To be able to speak to someone face to face and be assured you’re doing the right thing is the most comforting thing as a new business and has been so empowering, especially when you feel like you’re doing everything wrong all the time.”
Wallsend locals themselves Rianna and Jack literally live and breathe the area, and it’s been the local community as much as local businesses that have helped them on their way.
“The local community has been amazing. Wallsend still has that neighbourhood vibe and there’s lots of small independently owned businesses on the main street which is awesome to be a part of.”
“We love to work with local people wherever we can. Kiasmin Burrell did our wall art, Kiasmin is awesome and is a part of our brand now, and we get all our meats from Farnham’s Butchery, the Farnhams are iconic in Wallsend, everyone knows them.”
“We love working with the guys at Glee, they've been our coffee suppliers right from the start. We also work with Alison and Jake from The Café Distributors, who are in Heatherbrae, they've been so great. When I first started I called Alison and said I have no idea what I am doing and she patiently took me through everything.”
Whilst 2020 has thrown some challenges at the couple, one being the closure of their second café at The Station, Rianna and Jack haven’t let it get them down, instead powering ahead and making some big moves and plans.
“We’ve been lucky at Wallsend, we were able to trade through lockdown and during that time we made the conscious decision to not submit to all the negativity. There was a time when all that anyone talked about was death rates, and toilet paper, and everyone had an opinion on what everyone should be doing and the world felt very grey, so we wanted to make it the opposite of that."
Jack went onto explain that they went as far as making little cards up which were kept on the counter as conversation starters to help steer people away from the dreaded Covid chat,
“the cards had silly things on them like ‘if you had a superpower what would it be?’, when I explain that now it sounds crazy but at the time it was our way of being able to offer that bit of light in what was a pretty sad time.”
Whilst Rianna has been working in the business full time since it began Jack made the leap in 2020 quitting his full-time job with the plan being to push the business in a new direction, as well as some expansion happening in the not too distant future.
If you haven't had a coffee at Wildflower Espresso yet it's time you took a visit to Wallsend, pulled up a crate, ordered a coffee and some friendly conversations to go along with it.
This editorial is a sponsored post with Newcastle Permanent Building Society and Visa. Visa developed the ‘Where You Shop Matters’ platform to support small and micro businesses and to recognise that our local communities need us most in difficult times, through drought, bushfires, and now COVID. Newcastle Permanent and Visa developed a partnership to showcase this in our local region. Check out newcastlepermenant.com.au/visa for more information.