Why you should welcome competition: Peaches Kemp

Peaches Kemp of itsa Bagel fame talks about training their own competition, doubling their business in a recession and her passion for excellent food.

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Peaches Kemp, director and founder, itsa Bagel 


"You should never sit still and never be complacent about your business. Go out and look under the bonnet, work shifts, so that you know what's going on on the ground."


My guest on this podcast is Peaches Kemp, who revolutionised the Dublin food scene with her sister Domini.


First, you start with passion


Peaches lights up when she talks about the businesses she created with her sister: itsa Bagel, Hatch & Sons, Joe's Coffee, Feast Catering Company, and Alchemy Juice Co.

Passion permeates every last detail of their businesses: from the artfully presented, ultra-fresh, highest quality food, to the interview process (does this person share your standards?) and continuing to work shifts after 17 years in business... to perhaps opening a small café in retirement?

Peaches loves what she does, because she does what she loves.


Help and advice: freely received, freely given


Peaches and Domini had to learn on the job, and they're immensely grateful for the help and advice that was generously imparted. In fact, Peaches says, the more successful people are, the more they will help you and want to share with you. It doesn't come as a surprise then that Peaches and Domini, wildly successful in their own right, are in turn very generous with the budding entrepreneurs who turn to them for advice.

They even train their own competition!


"I want to work with you to learn the ropes, and then I'll set up in business for myself"


It has happened several times that new recruits made no mystery about it: they wanted to work in Peaches' and Domini's business to learn the trade - but they planned on only staying long enough to do that, then they would open their own cafés.

How do you react to somebody who wants to "steal your secrets" and compete with you, and, what's more, why would you recruit somebody who's going to be gone soon?

Peaches' reaction will floor you: "It's music to my ears." 


Don't borrow more than you can afford to repay


Peaches is known as the "human calculator" in the business, constantly asking "How much does it cost?" This focus on finance helped the sisters not only weather the last recession, but actually double their business in that time!

This disciplined approach to finance is also reflected in the creation of their six brands: it was all about adapting to circumstances and seizing opportunities. Instead of brand creation for the sake of brand creation, just to satisfy an ego, their expansion was a function of what gaps they saw in the market.

Enjoy Peaches' words of wisdom.


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Additional resources


Peaches tweets at @kempsisters.

You can also follow each of their brands for gorgeous pictures of mouth-watering food: itsa bagel @itsacafes, Alchemy Juice Co. @alchemyjuices, Joe's Coffee @joesdublin, Hatch & Sons @hatchandsons, and the Gallery Café in the National Gallery of Ireland @GalleryCafeNGI

Listen to my podcast on the art of asking for help.

Savvy Women Podcast Peaches Kemp (67.08 MB)Savvy Women Podcast Peaches Kemp (67.08 MB)


And here are a few mouth watering pictures of a lovely meal I had in Peaches' newly opened restaurant!


Peaches Kemp restaurant 1


Restaurant Peaches Kemp 2


Restaurant Peaches Kemp 3


And of course I had to have an Americano and enjoy a wonderful brainstorming and thinking session!


Restaurant Peaches Kemp 4

I'd love to hear your feedback by email email or on twitterTwitter

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