Nils Vik used to make a living as a designer and photographer. He was really good too, winning numerous awards. But today he makes coffee. A strange career switch perhaps. But take a look at Parlour Coffee in Winnipeg, Canada, and you can see the designer coming through. Here’s a coffee experience that simply oozes cool design. Nils shows us how he is “grinding, dosing, tamping, pulling, dripping, serving and selling” great coffee. Check out their blog.
Quite a career switch Nils, is this what you really wanted in your career? Is this what you’re passionate about?
When I opened up Parlour Coffee, I didn’t care if I was going to take a pay cut from my prior career – the sole reason for running my shop is not necessarily to make money, so I feel a certain freedom to stay true to myself because I’m not that worried about the bottom line – I think passion is contagious, if I keep my passion alive we should stay in business.
So how did you become an entrepreneur?
From a young age I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit, whether it was making and selling toys in elementary school, or collecting empty beer bottles. I tend to enjoy being busy and my interests would often turn into small businesses. Graphic design and photography began as a hobby and turned into freelance work for me. My only formal training is from the faculty of architecture at the university of Manitoba which helped me get a job doing product design and development.
I enjoy my work. I enjoy it because I get to live out a plan and vision that has been in my head for years. Seeing people enjoy and interact with this idea makes it all worth it.
Can you tell us a little about the space – how have your organised it to create a stimulating environment?
Parlour occupies 420 square feet on Main Street in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District. Large windows facing Main Street fill the space with natural daylight all day long and the space is organized according to the flow of a customer. Take in the space, proceed to order, follow your drink as it’s being made, pick up, leave. We work in a line from left to right and we enjoy our tools.
“Good enough is never good enough”
What is a typical day like for you? How do you organise your days?
A typical day for me now that I run my own coffee shop starts with sipping multiple espressos and calibrating our grinders / machines to ensure we are making delicious drinks. I don’t feel like I organize my days anymore, the business dictates what my days are like.
Can you tell us a little about your work process and method?
I’m highly organized, and enjoy research. I catalog my research for potential future reference but I find that my creativity is born out of passion / necessity.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Inspiration for me is found in problem solving / necessity, as well as traveling and encountering new environments / people
What sort of skills do you need to do your work?
Social skills, organizational skills, stamina, patience, and an open mind.
Do you have one tip for other aspirant creative entrepreneurs?
Do your best in every single area of your project / business. A prof of mine had a saying that really stuck with me – “Good enough is never good enough.”
Photo credits Matthew Sawatzky / http://www.mzsphoto.ca