Kim is one of our Sassiest Mamas 2016…
Coffee is an intrinsic part of our lives as mamas (goodness knows what we’d do without it sometimes!) – and Raw Coffee Company needs no introduction. Served up at most of the city’s best cafes and restos and at events from Ripe Market to foodie festivals, this homegrown brand was set up by New Zealander Kim Thompson, mama to 3 girls (Gabrielle, aged 27, Naomi, aged 25 and Georgia, aged 21). A Dubai resident for 20 years, Kim jumped on a gap in the market for locally roasted premium quality coffee and the rest, as they say, is history! Thank you Kim – our days are so much better with Raw!
Tell us about your business and why you started it.
I started Raw Coffee Company in 2007 after noticing a gap in the market for locally roasted premium quality coffee that is certified organic and genuine fair trade. We roast and supply fresh coffee to cafes and restaurants and also help the customers we supply with barista training and equipment, everything to do with coffee.
What kind of cake would you order for your birthday?
I wouldn’t order a birthday cake… I would make one and one of my favorite recipes is a chocolate beetroot cake!
If we handed you a concert ticket, who would you wish it was for?
Well if it’s a wish, and because I left it too late, I would love to see an intimate acoustic concert where Bowie, Prince and Joe Cocker all took the stage.
What colour do you wear the most?
I really like racing car green at the moment but it depends on my mood, lots of black.
When did you last cry?
At my daughter’s wedding a month ago, it was so emotional to see her in a wedding dress looking so beautiful and beginning this next chapter of her life.
What’s the best thing you can cook?
I enjoy cooking and entertaining. But I am currently a little on the lazy side in the kitchen, so I am into healthy tapas and big shared boards of different antipasti and cheeses with good quality ingredients and homemade chutneys and tapenades.
Where do you get your hair done?
For years I had my hair done by Sharon at Salon Ink, but I moved houses and now go to HairWorks in Barsha to Elidh.
What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
I am very proud of the company, the guys I work with and our product. I was thrilled that Raw made the DXB SME top 100 this year I really wanted that. But my major achievement has been my girls. We have had the luxury to travel to New Zealand, Tokyo and France this year together and it is amazing to be with them now they are women (no longer teenagers!) Their personalities were always so different, so now to see them matured into the adults they are, is just wonderful.
As a child what did you dream of being when you ‘grew up’?!
Well there were two things. I wanted to be a Happen Inn dancer, it was a weekly tv show in NZ when we only had two channels, presented by Peter Sinclair… (why do I remember his name when I forget important things now?) but alas that was not destined for me. Then my parents bought me my first pony when I was 11 and it was my absolute life for years. I would ride every day and started competing, so I really wanted to move to the UK to start as a groom and eventually compete there doing three day events. My father had a different idea and was not interested in financing that dream, so I went nursing.
If you had 3 wishes what would they be?
My first wish is easy and I wish it was viable that it could come true. As a mother purely because of where I was born, I have been able to raise my children, they are safe, never been hungry, educated and have a world of opportunities. After living in the Middle East happily for 20 years, my first wish would be to see an end to the ongoing injustice in Palestine, its plain criminal. My second wish is that there was genuine accountability and transparency of big corporate businesses like Monsanto for example, and that as consumers and general public we had the power to be heard and take control back. And on a lighter note, my third wish would be that I could go back and do it all again knowing what I know now!
What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
I like the word Sassy, it has a great ring to it… full of spirit, confident and a certain lack of respect unless its earned… I’m pleased to be called Sassy.
I love this new wave boutique Artisan Gin called Four Pillars and Fentimans tonic water…
Tell us about a typical day?
The girls don’t live with me now, Gabrielle and Mohammed have their own place, Naomi is in Bali teaching yoga and Georgia is finishing University in Western Australia. So my life is focused on the company. I often set my alarm early to get up and do yoga or go to the gym, and then reset it and go back to sleep for another hour. I take breakfast to work, and usually there working by 8. My business partner Matt and I are working with a company called Endeavor at the moment, which is an SME accelerator, so we are focused on taking Raw to the next level, we have created two and five year strategies. It is a really exciting time as for the first time in 9 years we are working on the business not in it and sensing we are at this important inflection point. The summer is also a time to sort out all our procedures, training and to employ new staff and get ourselves organised for the coming season which starts again in September. I try to catch up with friends after work or finally do the exercise I was supposed to do in the morning.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
To acknowledge that you can’t personally be good at every element of your business so to employ people for your company that are better than you are at those areas… I recently did an online personality profile with Insights, as part of a Raw team leadership training and the report was uncannily accurate. I think for anyone, particularly a young person trying to find their direction, it would be an incredibly valuable tool to be aware of the areas where you are challenged as well as your strengths.
What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
Honestly just being together as now we all live on different continents, we are usually eating. We all love the beach so when the weather is good, time at the beach is bliss.
What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, or something fellow mamas should know about?
That would have to be the Mokha1450 coffee boutique. It is another new business I am involved in and we have designed this beautiful, intimate ambience that has a wonderful Middle Eastern feel, and serves spectacular coffee. We have partnered with some amazing female farmers in Yemen and also Ethiopia and have some very unique specialty coffee origins available. There is a long coffee history here in the region and we wanted to create an inviting space where people from all cultures could sit with the local Emirati guests and absorb that heritage and share that common connection.
If you were on an island and could bring only 3 things (family not included) what would they be?
Well the first would have to be a damned fine fitted out and stocked yacht. The second would be a large solar generator and thirdly a very well qualified and fit J survival specialist.
Describe your style?
Honestly I still don’t know my style, it greatly depends on my mood. I mostly live in jeans at the roastery and I am really into comfort. I have always been pretty alternative and I love natural fabrics. But now I would have to say I would prefer to have, a couple of well-cut outfits that all mix and match together.
Tell us something funny that your kids have said or done?
Well there are a lot of things I could share here but I would get in trouble with them … probably one of the best ones would be when Gabrielle and Naomi were teenagers and living in our apartment in Perth. They wanted a dog and we said no, and then one day they called to say they had found these two puppies in a box down behind the train station. I worried and told them not to give them names, look after them tonight and then to take them down to the vet the next day and ask advice on what to do with them to help them find a permanent home. A month later I found the receipt from the same vet where the girls had bought them; they are still with them now…
How do you juggle work and family?
My girls are older now but I have always had some kind of job. I do clearly remember when life was a juggle, getting everyone out the door in the mornings with their hair done, their PE kits and library books, making sure they had breakfast that ended up turning into us drinking banana smoothies in the car on the way to school… I remember those days fondly, the chaos and time pressure. I believe those years gave me skills in so many things; people management, communication, diplomacy, time management and prioritizing tasks to name a few, that have gone on to help me a lot with my work life now.
A huge thank you to Monica Chindalia for the beautiful pictures of Kim.
To book a photoshoot visit facebook/monicachindaliaphotography