Sometimes in life, you can hit rock bottom. Sometimes you hit so hard, you don’t come back up and other times you can see it coming but still don’t do anything about it until you’re there. The latter is what happened to me. I knew it was coming but I did nothing about it. It took one moment in time for me to touch the bottom and my entire life changed. In a split second, I analysed my existence and ‘slow clapped’ myself for getting into such a pickle. ‘Congratulations Cregan’ I said to myself. ‘You’re 27, you’ve got a degree, you’ve got a lovely girlfriend, you’ve got a lot to offer as a person and here you are, stood in a building site humping bricks around for £50 a day in the middle of winter wondering what hell you are doing with you life.
The next day on my lunch break, I dragged my dust filled hair and paint riddled clothes to a travel agent and booked a round the world ticket for myself and my lady. In the run up to flying to Melbourne, I worked every day on that building site and got a job in a bar to pay off the flights and get some spending money together. I don’t think I had a beer until we flew out of Heathrow 4 months later. (Beers are free on long haul, HOORAY!)
Escapism might not be the best way to deal with some situations, but man did it feel good to be out of there. We touched down in Oz and dived head first into a lamb bbq cooked by some family friends. We then spent a week searching for a car and once we got it, we hit the road. Now, in case you’re wondering, I’m Jim. I was born in Dubai and lived there for 18 years. I came back to England, worked in night clubs, bars, building sites, did my degree, became a festival presenter and heaps of other random things before finding myself at rock bottom wondering where I went wrong.
Growing up by the beach, I was in the sea at every opportunity and coming to Bournemouth allowed me to continue enjoying the sea, but in rubber. Great. Arriving in Oz got my heart pounding as the surf is slightly more demanding than what you find at Bournemouth Pier and I was ready for the challenge. Put simply, we had a sick time in Oz. If you’re thinking of going but can’t afford it, just buy the tickets on a credit card and you’ll have to just pay it back, just get that ticket. We had five months of cruising, drinking, meet dudes, camping, learning, surfing, road tripping, laughing and sailing. It was pretty much the most badass thing I’ve ever done.
One hot (what a surprise) day, we pulled over at a petrol station or ‘servo’ and got some fuel. When I went in the shop, a mini fridge caught my eye. In this fridge was a product called Farmers Union Iced Coffee. I’m hoping some of you guys are thinking ‘ooohhhhh take me back…’ Basically, it’s an ice cold, old skool milk carton containing 600ml of highly addictive iced coffee. My god did it make me smile. I drank the stuff by the truck load and was more excited about buying one every day than I was Christmas coming once a year. Once I was hooked, I began to worry. ‘What if they don’t sell iced coffee back home in the UK?’ So I jumped online and mailed the guys who make the stuff and begged them to do a licence deal. I had no idea what a licence deal was but my god was I going to do it. They replied. No. So I wrote again. They replied. No. So I wrote two more times and the answer was no. Damn. Our time in Oz came to an end in Tasmania, the raddest place of all and where the surf is simply spectacular. Coming home was not what I was up for but hey, you’ve gotta face the music sometimes.
Touching down back in the UK, I had to find some iced coffee that would keep a smile on my face before going back to work the events circuit. I legged it to a supermarket and to my disappointment, I saw a row of rubbish, careless products. Brands were making iced coffee but it wasn’t what I wanted. It came in cups with crappy lids, there wasn’t enough in each one, the design was rubbish and it tasted like eating custard laced with candy floss. Without realising, this was the birth of my plan to make awesome, ready to drink iced coffee. In the space of 5 months, I got my sister to sell her cafe and become my business partner, test our theory out on friends and family, find a manufacturer and supplier, create a brand identity, test the product, borrow money from mum and dad and get a listing with Selfridges on Oxford street, just before the start of summer 2011. Wow. It was epic. Seeing people take a product off the shelf that you’ve created is a truly wonderful thing and we were finally in business. It took us 3 years to become debt free and you can now pick up our iced coffee in over 3000 shops in the UK.
When it comes to marketing, we aren’t all about surfing. We aren’t all about darts. We aren’t all about tech hacking or gardening. We don’t pigeon hole people and therefore don’t have a target audience but we do know something. We like people who like doing fun stuff and getting busy. We like people who like moving. Whether it’s road tripping, skating, caravanning or whatever. If you like the idea of movement, we like you. We recently bought a beast of a Mercedes Vario van for our business and we’re gonna be pimping it out and taking it all over the UK to give people a flavour of what we’re all about.
Aside from just going to festivals and events, I’d really like to take some people for a surf, somewhere in the British Isles from the 2nd – 7th August. We’ll take enough gear to have fun if there is no surf and we’ll end up at Board Masters and have some fun. If you’re keen, all you need to do is tell us where in the UK you’d go with 3 mates and why.
To enter all you have to do is jump on the Jimmy’s Iced Coffee Facebook page and leave a comment on our wall with your answer. If you don’t do Facebook, send us a love letter in the post, this is our address.
Thanks for taking the time to read this if you have. I’m super excited to offer this out and can’t wait to get road tripping. Here’s to the long days, the warmer nights, cold ones in the hand and thinner wetsuits on the body and remember, always, always Keep Your Chin Up.