Rapheepong Ghai on brewing success one bottle of coffee at a time.
By Deboshree Banerjee
Rapheepong Ghai, more fondly known as Karan, strives for success in the coffee industry by pursuing entrepreneurship. Going beyond the regular concoctions, Karan and his team of eight entrepreneurs introduced Cool Bro, a brand that sells ready-to-drink, bottled cold brew coffee online and at health and organic stores around the city. Launched only four months ago, the quality ingredients and refreshing flavours make this drink a success among individuals on-the-go.
Equipped with a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, Karan is currently pursuing a dual degree in MBA and Masters in Engineering at Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University. Soaking up the coffee culture, this ambitious businessperson captures the trendy concept of ‘grab and go’ that’s tailored to fit with the fast-paced lifestyle of Bangkok’s society.
Where did you get your entrepreneurial spirit?
Most Thai-Indians get their entrepreneurial spirit from their parents and I was no exception. My parents started their business in 1992, and they have always been business owners for as long as I can remember. Having them as role models is what encouraged me to take the leap into entrepreneurship.
What are your inspirations?
I want to be involved in the bigger picture of the world where I can make my fair share of contributions, instead of just settling for a corporate job with an insatiable lust for money. My inspiration comes from my need to do something meaningful and progressive that is beneficial for both me and the society.
What was the biggest lesson you learned that has made an impact on the way you work today?
I learned quickly to not get too focused on things you cannot change. Instead of pointing fingers at others and sulking over failure, focus on what you can do next to fix it; it’s an optimistic approach that reduces stress and allows you to focus on productivity.
Take us through the journey of Cool Bro. When was the brand conceived and where did the idea come from?
The journey was initiated by a colleague at Sasin — Pailin Goseyarakwong, one of the owners of Ansel & Elliott Café. Her passion and fascination with brewing was infectious and she was determined to lay out more choices of caffeinated beverages for people in Bangkok. She came up with the initial idea of Cool Bro cold brew coffee and we were quick to act on it.
How did you come up with the name?
The name was the result of us playing around with the word ‘cold brew’. We wanted our brand image to express fun and relaxation — something that ignites energy and connects to the community at the same time. Hence, we came up with a name that embodies that thoroughly. Now, everyone can smile and just say our tagline,
“It’s Cool Bro!”
How long have you been in business?
Officially for about four months! The first two months were the initial preparation period where we laid the groundwork for our product. We held our official launch party in August. Since then, we have managed to place Cool Bro on the shelves of nine different locations — primarily health and organic stores such as Good Health,
The Organique, Natural Rich and Health & Co. Customers also have the additional option of buying online through our website, Line, Instagram and Facebook accounts, which is where the majority of our sales come from.
Why did you opt for organic and health stores rather than convenience stores?
Our coffees are organic. They contain no sugar and preservatives; we use honey as a substitute for sugar. So it seems fitting to sell our products in stores that endorse the same lifestyle we do.
With such a large group of entrepreneurs, what is your main responsibility?
I am handling all the CFO duties. I ensure that the company continues to make a
profit and manage areas where we are overspending.
How does Cool Bro differ from its competitors?
We have unique characteristics and brand objectives. We want to do more than just serve our customers a bottle of coffee and refuel their energy. We want to offer a
happy and refreshing experience that leaves them craving more.
How do you market your business?
Online channels are a huge part of our marketing strategy and we are placing special attention on marketing via our Instagram page @coolbrobkk. We also grab opportunities to participate in exhibitions and use word of mouth to get our name out there to create brand awareness. Our marketing goal is to expand beyond our already established networks.
What is your company’s goal?
When you think about the ready-to-drink coffee market, the first brands that come to mind are Birdy and Nescafé. What we want to achieve is similar, but with cold brew coffee. When you think of cold brew, the first name that should come to mind is Cool Bro!
What advice would you give to start-up entrepreneurs?
I recently watched an inspirational video on YouTube. It was a speech by a man who said something along the lines of “everyone gets good ideas. But the only difference between someone who has good ideas and someone who succeeds with those good ideas is that they do something about those ideas.” All in all, you don’t need a world-changing idea but you need to act on whatever you have. You can think of doing something all day long, but you need to actually start doing it in order to move forward.
To purchase Cool Bro’s two flavours for B100 each on social media, follow or add them on: Facebook, Instagram and LINE: @coolbrobkk