From Financial Planning to Coffee Shop Owner: Angeline Lauwrence, Co-Founder of Turning Point

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Opened on 30 December 2014, Turning Point has surely become a local favourite in Tangerang as it provides quality coffee, a wide choice of breakfast items and desserts in an ambience suited for its visitors. As the name suggests, this coffee shop has been a turning point in the lives of Angeline Lauwrence and her husband Joseph Erwin as they left Melbourne and their careers to start their own coffee shop in Indonesia. Angel shares her experience on leaving her job in Financial Planning, becoming a barista, and starting fresh in Indonesia by creating Turning Point to fulfil her long time dream of running her own business.

Name: Angeline Lauwrence

Age: 31

Current title/company: Co-Founder of Turning Point

Education: Bachelors degree on Accounting from Deakin University and Post Graduate Diploma on International Development from RMIT

What’s the story behind Turning Point, and what inspired you to start your own coffee shop?

Actually, I’ve never actually planned or dreamed of having a coffee shop in the past. I’ve been living in Melbourne for ten years; went to university, worked, and got married there. I enjoyed living there but then deep down, I’ve always wanted to have my own business someday, in Jakarta where I can go home one day. But then, I didn’t know what business it would be or when I would come back to Jakarta. During my time in Melbourne, some time in 2011, I met several friends who suggested on opening a coffee shop in Jakarta. At that time, I wasn’t into coffee that much and was actually not a coffee drinker. My husband, Joseph also only drank coffee with his office friends. But when we talked with one of our friends, an Indonesian coffee roaster with an Engineering background with a great career and saw that he left all of it to become a roaster in Melbourne, we became curious about coffee and how it could make him that passionate. During that time in Melbourne, about 2011 to 2012, the coffee industry was really growing and there were a lot of specialty coffee shops. He told us about the potential of opening a coffee shop in Indonesia, not only to profit financially but also to support the coffee industry growth in Indonesia, as well as contribute to the lives of farmers. I’ve always wanted to have a business that could contribute positively to the community in the long term. Once I heard that, I saw the potential we had in Indonesia, considering that there weren’t many coffee shops during that time, well at least in Jakarta. So we decided to learn more about coffee, look around, and me and my husband became even more interested. Starting 2012, I resigned from my job; I had a corporate job that time; and decided to become a barista so I could gain more knowledge about the industry. Then, after about 2 to 3 years of experience, we felt like we absorbed enough knowledge, although actually there’s still so much we can learn. But then, when we have a goal, we need to have a deadline right, so by 2014 we went back to Jakarta.

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What inspired you to name the coffee shop Turning Point?

From the meaning itself, turning point, I feel like creating this coffee shop was a turning point in my husband’s life and mine. From already settling in Melbourne, we decided to leave everything and go home to Jakarta and start again from zero. When we opened here in Gading Serpong, there were only about 3 coffee shops in this area. We also hope for our customers who just started drinking coffee that it becomes a turning point for them in realizing that coffee can be that great.

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You were talking about starting something new, what motivated you to take the risks and be able to do it? How did you face them?

We decided to move back to Jakarta the same time we decided to open a coffee shop here, which was around 2012. During that time, although my job in the corporate world had its highlights, personally I didn’t feel engrossed and inspired in my job. My job felt monotonous and I felt that I couldn’t see my future in the financial planning world. I wanted to try something else, and the mundane nature of my job pushed me. When you feel bored already, it’s hard to find the motivation to go to work every day. Even if you try to do your best in everything, but if you don’t have the motivation, I didn’t see what for. So that brought me to start this.

In facing risks, we just believed that there would always be fear, but the thing is, my desire to make it work was even stronger. As long as your motivation is greater than your fear, you’ll always keep moving forward. At the end of the day it just depends on how much you want it. Also, during that time, there was only me and Joseph, we didn’t have any children yet or any other major responsibilities, so it’s easier to move and start over. We also still have parents here in Jakarta. So our situation also supported our desire to move here and create a coffee shop.

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What’s the best thing about having your own coffee shop?

Best thing? Hmm, there are so many things that I love. Running your own business is really different. After the hectic times in the beginning, you can have your own flexibility in terms of time, unlike working in the corporate world where you need to be at the office from 9 to 5. Although during the first six months I had to stay here all the time and couldn’t do anything else, after the coffee shop starts to run on its own, we have this flexibility. Also, what’s interesting for me is to meet new and interesting people. They may not work in the coffee industry, but we can collaborate and create something new, instead of just Turning Point on its own. Maybe the first best thing I love about running a coffee shop is meeting customers; customers who at first aren’t so into coffee but after listening to us share about coffee, they realize how great coffee can be.

What’s the biggest challenge that you faced so far and how did you go about facing it?

The challenges we faced in the beginning are different to the ones we face now. In the beginning, the challenge was on how we could convince and assure ourselves in spite of all the risks and the people who kept telling us, Are you sure you can do that?” or “If you want to have a coffee shop, you need to have wifi, fried rice… and all this… or if you don’t, it won’t work out”. So basically, the challenge was to determine the goal and what we wanted to achieve despite all the negative comments we may receive. Thankfully, Joseph did not pay much attention towards them and chose to move forward. After about one and a half years, the challenge is in keeping it fresh. Since the beginning our focus was in coffee. We need to keep thinking about fresh ideas for collaborations and on what projects to create so that people will want to keep coming back.

Where do you usually find inspiration for those ideas?

Hmm, other coffee shops? (laughs) Hmm, also meeting with lots of people, not necessarily coffee people, but creative people who work in the media or in the design industry. We ask them their opinions and brainstorm ideas on what’s next.

What’s your future expectations for Turning Point?

Now, our focus is in brewing coffee, but our vision still comes a long way. We want to learn about roasting, sourcing beans from the farmers, and in the long term we want to do projects together with coffee producers. In the future, we want to be involved in the whole process, from the beginning when the beans are planted until it becomes a cup of coffee. Our aim isn’t to create a lot of branches all around Indonesia in the next 5 to 10 years, but more to knowing about the whole process.

What are your tips for people who want to start their own coffee shop?

I’ve talked with many different people in the past, and so many of them kept saying that they really wanted to have a coffee shop. And I thought to myself, there are a lot of people whose motivation is to have a crowded coffee shop and a place where they can hang around, but without them realising that behind all that, how tiring it can be and the amount of investment you put into it. It’s not as easy as it looks. So one tip is to make sure that you’re really into coffee in the first place. You should be really curious about coffee and really like drinking coffee. Secondly, it would be good if you at least had some experience working in the coffee industry, whether in a coffee shop or roaster, so you can have a taste of the business before you create your own. Learn about it first before you start your coffee shop, because there’s too many people who want to open a coffee shop just because they like the idea of it but isn’t really aware of what’s going on inside.

Another tip would be for you to try to offer something new. Because most of the coffee shops, well at least the ones I see in this Serpong area, have pretty similar concepts. So maybe if you could come up with something new, that would be really interesting to explore.

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If you were a loyal customer at your own coffee shop, what would be your daily order?

I love flat white and also espresso. For the food, it’s seasonal and I like different things. Ham and cheese croissant is the best for me though.

Describe Turning Point in three words. 

Coffee. Community. Fun.

What’s your hobby besides running Turning Point?

I like reading books, eating and travelling.

What’s your favourite thing to do over the weekends?

Hanging out with my friends and eat. Basically nothing far from eating.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world who would it be?

Hmm, Beyonce. (laughs)

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Turning Point                                                                                                                                  

Address: Ruko Golden 8 Extension Blok K No. 10, Jl. Ki Hajar Dewantara, Gading Serpong, Kec. Tangerang, Banten                                                                                                                      

Phone: 0811-1099-444                                                                                                                      

Opening Hours: 8AM–10PM

 

Photography by Aulia Aufar

Copy by Rianka Talina

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