Vital Stats: Jeremy Gursey, 30, of Mocha Kiss Coffee
Company: catered coffee bars; retail stores (on movie lots) serving hot and ice-blended coffee beverages; gourmet coffee beans wholesaler
2005 Projected Sales: $3 million to $5 million
Cold Call: As a 19-year-old Los Angeles film student, Gursey saw the popularity of ice-blended mochas at the coffeehouse he worked at and thought offering them on movie sets would help him get into the business. With four months of research, he developed a recipe of his own. His first break came when casting director and regular customer Bill Dance hired Gursey to serve his office and the Ed Wood production office. Word-of-mouth landed Mocha Kiss on one movie set after another. Two years later, Gursey added hot coffees to his catering menu.
Take Two: Gursey "broke" into TV by contacting the line producers of sitcoms Hearts Afire and Seinfeld, both on the same lot. By telling each that the other had Mocha Kiss on the set, he convinced both to try him out. "When you have nothing," says Gursey, "you've got nothing to lose." His star clientele prompted him to work with food chemists to create his own distinctive flavors.
Now Appearing: A private-label deal with entertainment show Access Hollywood in 1998 resulted in great exposure--baristas donned Access Hollywood T-shirts and hats to offer Mocha Kiss at movie premieres and award shows. Building on the connections he had established through his TV and film setups, Gursey sealed beverage contracts and opened retail stores on the lots of NBC, Paramount and Sony. He travels for films and special events like the NBA All-Star party and the Super Bowl, and has backstage contracts with major venues including the Hollywood Bowl.
Spill the Beans: Mocha Kiss is in talks with specialty retailers and chain stores to carry the roasted coffee beans. Gursey's goal "is to give the world the opportunity to taste the coffee the biggest stars and musicians taste."