Luke Cook’s startup, live events and rewards app, Funlocka, ground to a halt when COVID-19 hit. But a trip to his local café sparked an idea for a business pivot that saw Cook reshape his offering to support the mental health of the millions of Aussie’s working from home.
“As a founder who had invested everything into the business, I hit rock bottom and was worried about the future and how I would recover,” Cook tells Kochie’s Business Builders (KBB).
“One day I walked up to the coffee shop and as I was walking back I contacted my business partner Jill Covitz and said ‘if I am feeling this way then many others are as well’. That’s when I came up with the suggestion to launch a virtual cafe to help people to start their day with a dose of positivity and inspiration by listening to conversations with incredible experts and personalities”
And with that single thought, Cuppa of Life was born.
“Our vision is to make a positive and meaningful difference in the world by helping businesses improve their conversational muscle around topics that make a difference to their community,” Cook says.
Initially, Cuppa of Life’s focus was purely on mental health and Cook says people embraced the concept from the get-go.
“Instantly we found that people wanted to be connected, they wanted to feel in control and they wanted to learn something! We received 100s of emails from the community and then companies started reaching out to support their business with conversations that matter.”
Conversations like mental health, wellness, Diversity & Inclusion, leadership, communication, productivity, sustainability and mindset. Since launching Cuppa in 2020, Cook says they have interviewed over 230 different experts and storytellers, sharing their messages with over 30,000 people. The result is over 11,000 minutes of content supporting thousands of Australians.
Inspiring and educating
As the COVID situation evolved, so too did the business. Cook says as the months went by, Cuppa’s offering began to focus more on inspiration and education in an effort to help the millions of Aussies working from home maintain meaningful connections. Businesses and corporates began to sign up to the service to offer their employees access to the conversations.
“We launched the virtual cafe free of charge at the start as a way to give back. The biggest challenge was understanding where the revenue would come from, but as the briefs started to come in mixed with government support like Job Keeper, we managed to navigate it ok,” Cook says.
“Then Cuppa just evolved naturally. It gained its own momentum with word of mouth! Something that I never had with my previous business,” marvels Cook.
As the pandemic continues to progress and lockdowns and restrictions have become a mainstay of Australian life, Cook says facilitating connection is paramount.
“The fortunate thing is, that we have never been more connected as a society or as businesses when it comes to technology, with things like email, Facebook workplace, Slack, Yammer, Teams. The unfortunate thing is that this technology is so focused on improving productivity and process that it is weakening our conversational muscle which is making us disconnected in our relations.”
Cook says as our “conversational muscle” weakens, work culture is effected. Problem-solving and productivity can decrease, creativity can take a back seat and mental health and wellbeing is impacted. He stresses that business owners need to consider not just their wellbeing but that of their staff too.
Apart from the obvious benefit of improved culture, according to Cook, having a healthy and connected workforce lowers staff turnover and decreases sick days, helps you attract talent to your organisation and Improves productivity and ROI. It’s a win-win for businesses and their employees.
“Instead of always challenging costs of wellbeing initiatives, businesses should instead look at the cost of not doing it at all,” he says.
Cuppa of Life lunch and learn
In the coming weeks, Cuppa will play host for a series of Lunch and Learn sessions, that Cook hopes will help people realise that they are in control of their own wellbeing.
“We offer real, vulnerable, interactive, entertaining, engaging and emotive conversations, programs and experiences. Our approach each time is to get our audience to feel something so that learning is embedded for long after the session.
“We have curated a virtual 4-week wellness Lunch & Learn program launching September 2nd to help people realise that they are in control of their own wellbeing.”
Interested? Cuppa of Life’s Lunch and Learn program kicks off on September 2. Individual tickets and corporate packages are available. All sessions are recorded and so even if your team miss the live session they have 30 days to catch up on the content.
Sessions will include Improving your sleep health with Dr Carmel Harrington; Nutrition for brain health & stress resiliency with Dr Delia McCabe; Gold Medal Mindset to support your fitness goals with Kerri Pottharst and Mindfulness tools to gain clarity in a world of distractions with Chelsea Pottenger. Find out more.
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