Andrew Scott says his Milnathort coffee shop was years ahead of the gluten free trend and now he wants to open another branch.
Q. How and why did you start in business?
Having started in the catering and hospitality industry at the ripe old age of 13, I worked my way up the ladder and was a hotel general manager by 22. Entrepreneurial spirit runs in my family, so I after a few years, I made the leap and bought a former florist shop in Milnathort which I converted into an artisan coffee shop. I don’t even like coffee. I’m 100% a tea man but I felt that a coffee shop was what the local community needed
Q. How did you get to where you are today?
My vision of bringing city cool to the countryside.
Sass, ambition, drive and sheer bloody mindedness!
Q. Who has helped you along the way?
My family has been outstanding with endless patience. Then my brilliant staff, suppliers and customers. A great circle of industry associates has also been priceless.
Q. What was your biggest mistake?
I’ve started a number of businesses, a few of which have failed. They provided invaluable experience which I learnt from. These experiences taught me enough to enable me to set up Victus Consultancy which sees me travelling around Britain like a real-life Ramsay Kitchen Nightmares meets The Restaurant Man with a little dribble of Alex Polizzi.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
Professionally – winning Scottish Entrepreneurial Caterer of the Year in 2016, a huge accolade. I’m also really proud of Heaven Scent for being such a trailblazer for gluten-free dishes. We were years ahead of the game. Personally – walking the Great Wall of China to raise funds for the charity HIT Scotland.
Q. How has coronavirus impacted your business?
Hospitality businesses don’t tend to have huge bank balances and are dependent on day-to-day cash so it has been hugely challenging. During lockdown we tried to keep the social media platforms alive and interesting. As restrictions eased, it was all about keeping our staff and customers informed as much as we could. The pandemic did provide an opportunity to step back and see how we can improve and build the business. It has been an eye-opener, seeing what really works for us – and what doesn’t.
Q. What do you hope to achieve in the future?
More Heaven Scents. Watch this space.
Q. Do you want to recruit in the future?
Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
There’s a Catch-22 situation where you want to be able to disconnect at times and let others make decisions, but it’s your business so you also want to keep control. And because people know it’s your business they also always look to you for answers and solutions. I don’t know any business owners who’ve been able to fully overcome this.
Q. Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?
I’d simply say – go for it! Know that you need to be 100% passionate about what you’re doing or it won’t work. Get as much support and advice as you can.
We host monthly Women in Business events for GrowBiz at Heaven Scents Milnathort and the value you get from hearing people share their business experiences and challenges is