Alumna brings Asian-style breakfasts to Darwin
Alumna Julian Mou is the proud owner of Kopi Stop, a thriving coffee shop bringing Asian-style breakfasts to Darwin which was voted ‘best coffee in Darwin’ in 2017. Having enjoyed the highs and lows of a fast-paced hospitality management career after completing a Bachelor of Business (International Hotel & Resort Management) at Le Cordon Bleu Adelaide, Julian eventually decided it was time to become her own boss and opened a little café in Northern Territory.
With a Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism from Singapore already under her belt, Julian had worked for some years in food and beverage before deciding to study at Le Cordon Bleu Australia.
Le Cordon Bleu was Julian’s first choice because she felt confident in its international brand name and prestigious reputation. At that time Le Cordon Bleu Australia was the only institution offering a hospitality degree that met her needs and Julian was thrilled to discover she could fast track through the degree on the grounds of her industry experience and previous study.
In 2009, Julian graduated with her Bachelor of Business (International Hotel & Resort Management) from Le Cordon Bleu Adelaide. On moving to Darwin, she was immediately offered a job as Assistant Night Manager at Holiday Inn, her goal was to move up the ranks very quickly in the hotel industry.
“In less than a year, I was promoted to Night Manager, then moved on to Duty Manager and eventually transferred to Restaurant and Bar Manager.”
After two and a half years in the hotel sector, Julian’s direction changed. She wondered if her talents might be better suited to a different hospitality role and began questioning her choices.
It is normal to feel lost half way! Some call it a ‘quarter-life crisis’. I cannot explain it. When it happens you will know. Just remember, don’t be afraid to try other things and eventually you will know what you want.
To find her passion, Julian decided to explore different career options within the industry. “I wanted to explore! I was curious to know how I could contribute my talents in other hospitality sectors. I accepted a job in training programs for different industries (including hospitality), and took a second job in customer sales. After a couple of years I ventured out to a remote resort as a Restaurant and Bar Manager, and then I finally knew… this is it! I realised that hospitality service is where my passion lies, in particular, food, wine and coffee.”
There was always something about coffee art that intrigued Julian. She accepted a role under a well-known Barista in Darwin where she trained as a Coffee Runner. “I started watching YouTube videos on latté art, looking on social media and researching coffee. Eventually, after pouring thousands of coffees at a very busy café, I could proudly call myself a Barista. I participated in local Latte art ‘smack downs’ and represented Northern Territory in a team competition. My coffee world expanded very quickly. I met amazing people who love coffee, I was truly inspired.”
In 2015, Julian was offered the lease for an existing small coffee shop and Kopi Stop was born. In spite of her extensive experience, Julian admits starting a business was not easy. “Even though I have years of operational experience, I had so much to learn. I had to research the best systems to use, teach myself bookkeeping, and how to manage all the back of house and unexpected expenses.”
Julian now lives in the moment and is very proud to own a thriving business which has grown from one staff member to a team of five. She credits her “really good team” for enabling her to balance motherhood and running the business. “It was a good move to take on Kopi Stop, I ran the café by myself for 9 months before hiring staff, and I’ve since bought the premises.”
After a challenging journey, Julian’s happiness and success is well earned, and her advice to hospitality graduates, born of experience, is well worth taking.
When an opportunity knocks on your door, take it. Success or not, it doesn’t matter. Enjoy the journey.