The story behind Bird on a Wire is a story of friendship and passion, where boy met boy, and then met girl, and went into business together. With their first out-of-Auckland store set to open in April, express spoke to general manager Kelly Bain about their uniquely rainbow business.
It doesn’t take too many rainy Monday mornings to start daydreaming about packing in your job and running your own business with your best mates, but unlike many of us who will only dream about it. Kelly Bain, Brad Jacobs, and Andy Lucas actually did it.
All members of the rainbow community Brad and Andy were a couple when they first moved to NZ in 2005 to start up The Coffee Club franchise. Their personal relationship came to an end but they still remained best friends and business partners. The two met Kelly in 2010 through work and immediately became friends. Brad ended up being Kelly’s best man when she married her girlfriend. And in 2016 when the opportunity to buy the Bird on a Wire franchise came up, the three jumped at it.
Like any strong business partnership, this threesome all bring different skill sets to the table. “For me, it’s the feeling of ‘the world is our oyster. We’ve got such an amazing brand, beautiful product and epic team that we can literally take to the world,” Kelly tells us, explaining, “Brad’s passion and real area of expertise is property. He gets super excited about watching the cityscape develop and evolve. For Andy, it’s all about delivering the very best experience to our guests. His passion is food and family.”
For many who dream of running a business with friends, it never becomes a reality due to the fear of mixing friendship with business. Kelly says the key to achieving that balance is to be respectful of each other and understand each other’s strengths. “We all have expertise and experience in very different fields so we can have good discussions and ultimately, if we don’t all agree, we generally accept the decision of whoever has the most experience or understanding of the issue at hand.” She tells us, adding with a cheeky wink, “If we really can’t agree on something, Brad usually gets his way!”
With all three directors identifying as part of the rainbow community, Kelly tells us it was a priority to Bird on a Wire to actively promote diversity and inclusion across all their business fundamentals. “Acquiring the Rainbow Tick certification early on in our journey was really a no-brainer for us as it is a physical symbol to our customers that we welcome people from all walks of life regardless of gender, sexual preference, age, sex, and race,” she explains.
So should you notice a vacancy sign next time you are indulging in one of Bird on a Wire’s moreish Bahn Mi’s, Kelly is confident you would enjoy working there. “We are really proud of our diverse and inclusive culture and strive to spread ‘Good Vibes Only’ in all that we do. Bird on a Wire is a place where you will feel safe and respected and celebrated for who you are.”
For more information visit www.birdonawire.co.nz