Jaimi Wilson and Hayley Crisafio

Owners: Blackwood Café & Espresso Bar, Mitchelton & FERNY‘s Café & Espresso Bar, Ferny Grove

Jaimi Wilson and Hayley Crisafio

In 2015, after visiting the Gold Coast and falling in love with their dream of owning a café on the strip, Hayley (30years) and Jaimi (32 years) made the impulse decision to move over to Brisbane from Perth. 4 years later, the girls now have 2 booming, suburban, high-volume cafes nestled amongst the tree-lined streets of Brisbane’s North West suburbs – Mitchelton & Ferny Grove.

When the opportunity of purchasing the old Geronimo Jerky site in Mitchelton arose, it was a no-brainer! With fresh eyes and a determined attitude, they took over the café side of the business. Despite having an extremely low budget, they managed to pull off their first ever café renovation over the Christmas period of 2016. Imagine Channel 9s The Block, but with little to no money, no prizes, and no fame! Fast forward 3 years, a lot of 7-day work weeks, 3am alarms and some tough lessons learnt along the way, they managed to build Blackwood Café & Espresso Bar (Blackwood Café) up from the ground and into one of the most popular cafés on Blackwood Street. Originally seating around 50 people at capacity, it now seats 138 people and will regularly fill to capacity for hours on end during breakfast & lunch services! 

As Blackwood Café & Espresso Bar settled into its important role in the community as the local go-to coffee shop, the processes and team settled in, too. With a glimpse of spare time on the horizon, the girls decided it was time to kickstart a second venture. Having driven past the old Poshamocha site in Ferny Grove countless times, they were certain that it would make the perfect spot to establish their brand! Word travels fast in the ‘hospo’ world, so when Poshamocha went up for sale in November 2019, the pair acted fast! 6 short weeks later (plus yet another Christmas renovation), the newly opened FERNY’S Café & Espresso Bar was opened!

With the locals, FERNY’S was a HIT! The Social Media hype alone leading up to launch date was bigger than that of Blackwood Café’s—even after 3 years of strong and successful trade. Hayley and Jaimi knew this cafe was destined to be a winner before it opened its doors; both of their cafes shared the same model with similar menu offerings and delicious & locally branded coffee (Thank you Elixir Coffee in Stafford). However, for this very reason, it was important that FERNY’S developed its own personality. With the newly renovated space fostering a white-panelled, country-modern ambiance, warm teak wood features, plenty of greenery and the beautiful outdoor decking space, it was now set to launch. And boy oh boy did it take off! The locals of Ferny Grove & Upper Kedron became regulars in no time – it was as if the café had always been there. 

Hayley and Jaimi believe that building a strong, sizeable team is the key ingredient in their recipe for success. With 50+ local employees working in the stores combined, their team has helped to grow and create little hubs in the community. Around 50% of their team are enthusiastic, career-minded hospitality workers who are cherished for their exceptional skills as baristas and/or chefs, whilst the other 50% are juniors and trainees who are hired through annual employment drives at the local high schools. These 2 cafes have been the home of dozens of teenagers “first jobs” and “first paid shifts”; the girls couldn’t be prouder!

Regularly, patrons will comment on how many staff will be working at any one time. Hayley and Jaimi have always been passionate about great service. Hospitality is a competitive market, and one of their biggest goals in making a name in the industry was to ALWAYS have fast, efficient service! It’s not a surprise to see up to 16 busy bees working at once during weekends, zipping around the cafés to ensure their customers get the best service possible. 

Hayley and Jaimi don’t often get the luxury of having free time on their hands, but when they do, they love spending time with their 2 dogs, Houdini & Optimus, either heading down to local dog parks or the Bunya watering hole. If they are ever rewarded with a few consecutive days off, you’ll find them down at the Goldie by the ocean – the place that inspired their business dreams to begin with. 

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