Sahar Hashemi founded Coffee Republic, the UK’s first US style coffee bar chain, with her brother and built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with a turnover of £30m.
Giving up her career as a lawyer in London, she staked everything on a dream – and made Coffee Republic one of the main players in the ‘coffee revolution’ that transformed a nation of tea drinkers into one obsessed with ‘triple decaf half-caf lattes’.
Sahar left the day-to-day management of Coffee Republic in 2001 and published a bestselling book called ‘Anyone Can Do It- building Coffee Republic from our kitchen table’ which has been translated into 6 languages and is the 2nd highest selling book on entrepreneurship after Richard Branson’s book.
Sahar was named ‘Pioneer to the life of the nation’ by Her Majesty The Queen and Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos. She was also named one of 100 most influential women in Britain by Daily Mail and 35 top women in British business by Management Today. In a Shell Livewire survey of inspirational role models Sahar was among the top 5 along with James Dyson and Dame Anita Roddick. She has been on the cover of Director Magazine, Management Today, Observer Magazine, New Business Magazine, Business 550 and Voyager.
In 2005 Sahar started Skinny Candy, a high profile brand of sugar free sweets which she sold to confectionery conglomerate Glisten Plc in 2007.
Her most recent book ‘Switched On: 10 Habits to Being Highly Effective in Your Job, and Loving it ’ was published in March 2010. Sahar says, “The future is all about being entrepreneurial in the employee context. You need to bring your whole personality – not just the ‘professional’ you – to work. Move outside your comfort zone, ignite your innate creativity and forget the ‘this is how we’ve always done things’ mentality. Don’t fear failure, fear complacency. You need to see having fun as an essential part of professional success. Living and making a living should be the same thing.”
In 2011 Sahar was nominated by Director magazine as one of the Top 10 Original Thinkers, alongside individuals such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web and Jonathan Ives, Vice-President of Design at Apple and designer of the iPod. It praised her view that, “Entrepreneurially minded talent shouldn’t have to leave large corporations in order to achieve fulfilment. Entrepreneurial behaviour, including ideas like bootstrapping, prototyping and celebrating failure, can help turn stuffy corporations into creative environments. They can also transform automatons into valued, engaged employees”.
In 2011 she was invited to join the Entrepreneurs Forum set up by UK Business Minister Vince Cable to give advice to the government on enterprise and business policies. She currently sits on the Consumer Council of EON UK Plc.
In June 2012 Sahar was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list “for services to the UK economy and to charity”.
An internationally recognised speaker, Sahar’s captivating and uplifting speeches are unique as she converges her own enthralling ‘story’ with key themes of change management and employee engagement. By telling her very personal journey, she connects with the audience on an emotional level and brings to life the passion, determination and open mindedness needed to succeed. She makes a strong impact, igniting the audience with a ‘can do’ spirit and the tools and habits to ‘make it happen’.