Sahar Hashemi: Challenging yet magical journey of an Entrepreneur

May 26, 2021

I am beyond excited to welcome Sahar Hashemi, my first entrepreneur guest who successfully built a coffee company. She started as a lawyer, but soon she and her brother founded the Coffee Republic, the first UK chain of coffee bars. After scaling and successfully selling it some years ago, she identified the new market segment – sugar-free sweets and founded Skinny Candy. 

She is a claimed author of two books – a bestseller “Anyone can do it” translated into multiple languages, and her latest “Startup forever.” 

She is also a renowned speaker on international platforms, a multi-award winner including an OBE for services to the UK economy and to charity, and on the board of the Scale-up Institute.

Sahar shared a story about why and how she turned her love for coffee ritual into a successful coffee bar business. She remembers her first market research and a moment she found the gap that needs to be filled, but also how she learned that people hate new ideas until you make them tangible.

We reflect on the differences between building a startup and running a company as two completely different roles and how selling a fully grown business feels like. 

Sahar shared her thoughts about the process of writing a book about her entrepreneurial journey and then entering another one with Skinny Candy.

She believes women make amazing entrepreneurs because of their natural qualities: we are the perfect consumer, we are emotional about what we do, chatty, multitasking. All those qualities are actually qualities that make a great entrepreneur. This inspired her campaign “Buy Women Built” to support female entrepreneurs.

Sahar advises people with business ideas never to ask others for validation but try to make it happen. As you make it happen, you will figure out whether or not it’s a great idea. 

Her advice to those women who fear starting their own business is just to go for it because women are obviously the answer, especially in this pandemic recovery time. They should have confidence and use their feminine power because the economy needs more women.

Key Takeaways:

  • Introducing (00:30)
  • About the idea of starting a coffee business (03:32)
  • How did a lawyer decide to become an entrepreneur? (10:32)
  • Are there things you would do differently now? (18:02)
  • About book writing process (23:25)
  • Going back for more: starting the Skinny Candy (25:49)
  • The new venture is coming (29:13)
  • Sahar tips on exposing an idea (33:33)
  • What is shifting for women in business now after Covid? (37:44)
  • What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? (41:38)
  • If you could have coffee with anyone, who would that be? (43:28)

Additional Resources:

Follow Sahar on Linkedin 

Learn more about the Coffee Republic 

Find Sahar’s books 

Follow us on Instagram