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After graduating from HKUST, Reeves worked briefly in the insurance industry and in government before deciding that a regular desk job was not for him. He wanted to do something that he enjoyed while he was still young, and eventually decided to turn one of his interests, coffee making, into his career.
Reeves quit his job and started working his way up from a junior barista, learning various fundamental skills for running a coffee shop along the way. After working in the coffee industry for several years, he decided to take the leap of faith and open his own shop, Coffee Engineering (CE) – the namesake of which was inspired by his civil engineering courses at HKUST – in Causeway Bay. At the time, CE focused mainly on retail and coffee workshops.
The first year was a difficult transition for Reeves. As an employee he could stop thinking about work matters once he was off, but as an entrepreneur his business is always on his mind. He had to learn to do everything himself, from sourcing coffee beans to finding new clients. And most importantly, it was a challenge to overcome mental roadblocks and negative mindsets. There was lots of struggle particularly at the beginning, and he always thought about whether he should give up before losing too much money.
After the first year, Reeves realized that his current business model was not sustainable and moved his coffee workshop to an industrial building with more space and lower rent, which allowed him to expand the size of his coffee workshops. He also changed his focus from retail to wholesale, the latter of which now makes up the majority of his business. CE's reputation had been building up and Reeves gained more confidence in his business, which helped him banish any lingering doubts about his entrepreneurial journey.
Today, Reeves recalls his decision to start his own coffee shop with no regrets. The experiences he gained from running his own business are priceless, he explains, and helping people better appreciate coffee through his workshops is more rewarding than any financial gain.