Gold Coast 2018 Badminton athlete, turned coffee company owner, Patrick MacHugh will be a proud event partner at this year’s Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards.
Patrick’s successful Badminton career took him to his second Commonwealth Games earlier this year on the Gold Coast. He also took gold in both Men’s and Mixed Doubles at the 2017 Scottish Championships and began 2018 with silver at the Swedish International.
Now taking the hipster world of coffee by storm, Patrick, along with his brother Finlay and British Curling athlete Ross Patterson, set up Power Press Coffee back in February.
We caught up with Patrick to hear all about it:
Congratulations on starting your own business. My first question has to be, why coffee?
“I started drinking coffee, maybe 3 years ago now and could feel myself more alert in training after having one. On top of this my brother, Finlay and also Ross all drank coffee and we just started to do a bit of research in to the effects of caffeine for performance. As we are all involved in sport, it was something that was really interesting for us.”
What’s it like switching from being a full time athlete to a business owner?
“The main thing I have noticed is that my days are a lot less structured. For the previous 8 years I was in the routine of training from about 8am-11am followed by a lengthy lunch break and then back to training 2pm-4pm. But I am enjoying the odd longer lie in and the freedom to meet a whole variety of people throughout the week. Going in to the business world it is a new challenge and one that I am so far really enjoying getting stuck in to. As our coffee is designed towards sports people, a lot of our events so far have taken place in gyms, in particular CrossFit gyms, so I have joined in sessions while doing these and they have been very tough but enjoyable trying something else out as well.”
Do you miss being a full-time athlete?
“As an athlete I was very fortunate to be able to travel to a number of different countries (some that I probably wouldn’t have thought I’d ever go to) so I will miss seeing these places and the people you meet, not only in the badminton world, but through the sportscotland Institute of Sport as well. For me though, I had done everything I had wanted to do within the sport and I was looking forward to this new challenge of running the business – we set it up in February of this year so we got the ball rolling with it before I stopped playing.”
What is your average day like now?
“My days are so varied which keeps it really interesting. Some days I am out doing events, coffee tastings with prospective clients, networking events, meeting with suppliers – these are the parts I particularly enjoy as I get to meet a whole range of people and share our product and idea with them. The other side of things, and one I’m getting used to doing more often, is accounting related things (I tried to avoid this when I was at uni). A lot of time is also spent contacting people via email or phone but we have been fortunate with our backgrounds in sport that we have been able to connect with a lot of businesses and people relatively easily.”
Coffee is so hipster/Instagram cool these days, what makes you stand out in the market from everyone else?
“That is probably the main question I get when I am out at events is “what makes you different?” For us, the presence of the hipster coffee shop has increased hugely on the high street which I think is great – it’s creating a whole new culture in young people to meet in places like these. Where we are different is that we are gearing it more towards the sporting and business environments with the aim of using caffeine to get the best out of your day in the office or your session in the gym.
“We have been working closely with The University of Strathclyde to get our coffees tested for their caffeine content. We have just got these results back, so on the back of that people will be able to time their coffee consumption prior to their session or important meeting in order to be at their most alert. Something that isn’t considered much is finding a consumption of coffee that works for you so you don’t have a massive spike in energy then crash later on in the day. People watch calories in their diet and time consumption of food before training, so effectively it is the same that needs to be done for your coffee consumption. On top of that, it is a natural product with nothing added to it to bring the different flavours out and we want to encourage people (especially sports people) to use it as their pre session drink over the likes of pre workout supplements or energy drinks that are often full of chemicals or sugar.”
What is your five year plan?
“The five year plan is to continue growing Power Press Coffee – we are still at the very early stages of this and especially over the next 6 months we will be looking to raise awareness of the brand and company. Which is why opportunities like coming to the Team Scotland Awards are so valuable for us. Currently, we are in the process of making a cold brew coffee (100ml bottle) that will be released shortly. Going forward we will be looking to start attending more large events, both in the fitness industry and business environment.
“For me personally, I am still doing some badminton coaching on the side of day-to-day running of the business and look to gain some other work experience in marketing, hopefully within the sporting world. Even having done a marketing degree at university, every day I am faced with new challenges. Expanding my own knowledge is something I think is key to growing myself as a person and in turn helping grow the business.”
Finally, do you have any wise words of wisdom for anyone thinking of starting their own business?
“Just do it!! If you’ve got a good business idea then I think it is a great step to take. In the 7/8 months we’ve been going it is so satisfying when you achieve things, however small or large. Don’t get me wrong, there are of course times when you are working and working and the reward is minimal, but I think having been an athlete prepares you very well if you start your own business – you know and are willing to put in the hours to get the rewards – and an added bonus is I’ve stopped waking up every morning with my body in all sorts of pain from training!”
Patrick and his team will be at the EICC on the 13 September for this year’s Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards, where you can try Power Press Coffee for yourself.