Katie Daley is a silent superhero at Black Sheep. A total #girlboss superhero; you know, one of those behind-the-scenes-make-stuff-happen-type superheroes? She inspires those around her to basically be a better person with her happy-go-lucky mentality. Katie is an absolute gem of a lady, who is down-to-earth, caring and makes the world a better place with her positivity. She also knows a lot about coffee, flowers and rumour has it, has an issue with all things purple...
Katie, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello. I’m Katie, the other half of Black Sheep Coffee. I am the brightly clad smiley face (mostly behind the scenes) at Black Sheep. I am the mysterious flower arranger, roster co-ordinator, payroll officer and if you’ve ever been out to our Rocklea Market site, you would know me from the familiar line-up of faces.
What inspired you to start Black Sheep?
I can take no credit for starting the Black Sheep brand, that was all Mark. I helped with the cupping and tasting of the blends in the early days and remember the deliberation over the name, but really it was all Mark and his incredible talent that saw Black Sheep get off the ground.
I came on board full time with Mark about 6 years ago after the business had grown too big for just one person to manage. Previously, I had just worked with him on weekends whilst juggling a full time job. Together we’ve renovated our Rocklea site (three times), designed and built the Woolloongabba Roastery and have grown the business into what it is today.
I fondly remember sitting with Mark on the brick fence out the front of what is now our Woolloongabba site one Sunday morning, we were assessing whether or not 109 Norman Street was a good site to set up our Roastery dream. We sat for ages, throwing backwards and forwards our pros and cons of the site when a couple came around the corner, pushing their newborn baby twins in a pram and dragging their toddler along behind them. I remember awkwardly hearing them arguing over her lack of sleep and his laziness around the house. At that moment I knew it was the right location, I turned to Mark and said “see, real people with real problems. If we were open they would have coffee we could offer them a friendly space to come and forget about things for a while.” I’m so glad we did :)
Describe what’s a typical day at Black Sheep like for you?
That’s the amazing thing about Black Sheep (and running a small business), no two days look the same.
I split my time between our Woolloongabba Roastery, Rocklea Markets and being at home, playing with our two Kids (Artie 4 and Elsie 2 ½).
Some days I’m arranging flowers, planning future projects and offering my support to the team. Other days it’s all business- payroll, bookkeeping, rosters and accounts. To be honest, I look forward to the day I can step away from the admin side of the business, my right brain self isn’t particularly good at it.
What do you love most about working at Black Sheep?
The team. We have been so very lucky over the years, we’ve always managed to align ourselves with like-minded, amazing, passionate people who inspire us and support us each day. We end up spending a lot of time together, so the way I see it is we need to get along. We welcome our staff into our family, they get to experience our kids growing and learning, we laugh together and some days we cry together.
Biggest lesson / learning since starting Black Sheep?
Rocklea floods badly, the waters rises quickly and it’s not just water people.
You’re a massive flower lover… any tips on creating the perfect bouquet?
I’m a big fan of colour and texture. Pay attention to colour, tones and shades, you would be amazed what you can pair together. I love putting things together that you wouldn’t expect, soft with spiky, delicate fragrant flowers with big heavy natives. You don’t need to spend much money, some of my loveliest work has come from foraged flowers, grasses, nuts, berries and even weeds.
Go-to coffee order?
A 6 oz flat white on our Top Paddock blend. If it’s really hot, I like a cold drip or batch brew on ice.
Do you have a favourite type of drink to prepare?
Gin and Tonic ;)
I actually love preparing our tea. There is something so calming about tea, watching the leaves dancing in the water and the colour changing as it brews.
What would we find you doing when you’re not at work?
Spending time with my two little people, Artie and Elsie. I adore playing with them and watching them grow into their own little selves. Elsie loves playing outside, making mud cakes and collecting gum nuts from our tree. Artie is a train man, he builds the most epic tracks (sometimes with Mark’s help). We must be the only people on the planet who look forward to being stopped at the railway crossing, watching his excitement is priceless.
I love plants, I am slowly green bombing our house! Another positive of working at the Markets each week, I get to buy cheap plants and sneak them into the house.
Work/Life balance how do you do it all?
Ha! I don’t really but i’m glad it comes across that way. My accountant will agree with me, I struggle keeping up with the workload. Our kids are still quite young and our son has autism, so some days are harder to manage than others. I try really hard to keep positive and to take each day as it comes, but honesty there are days where you arrive to work and burst into tears as the morning routine was just so exhausting.
Renee has been a massive influence on the whole team getting active, so whilst I’m very slow, I’m trying to run a few times a week to keep my head in check.
Earliest memory of coffee?
My best friend is Italian. Growing up, her mother would brew a very strong pot of espresso on the stove every morning. For my fourteenth birthday they gave me my own aluminium stovetop espresso, I would buy beans from a local cafe a brew coffee at home before school.
Proudest achievement in your life this far?
Rebuilding Rocklea after the 2011 floods. It was a difficult time, there was so much equipment that couldn’t be salvaged and the financial stress was at breaking point. But with the help of amazing friends, we managed to open again better than ever. I feel it was the turning point in the business.
Something your customers might not know about you? *We promise not to hold this against you.
I’m not a fan of the colour purple. I would go as far as saying I hate it. I remember working as a florist and having to complete entirely purple weddings, just awful. My boss would find it both amusing and worrying to watch my crazy physical reaction to purple (makes me want to vomit). I am actually quite rough with anything purple. I have been known to quote more for bridal bouquets if they were purple in hope that they would go elsewhere. Sorry