Conversations With An Entrepreneur: Mush Panjwani

The pursuit of happiness is a weird thing. As much as you want to accept the journey and embrace it, you always find an obstacle in your way. But there’s one personality who has not only mastered the art of being happy but of spreading it too. Yes, we’re talking about Coffee Wagera’s Chief Happiness Officer – Mush Panjwani.

Our team at Mainstream had a chance to talk to Mush about his idea of a happy life, and how he’s implemented that at his infamous chain of coffee shops, and other areas of his life.

So let’s hear it from the man who has changed the concept of coffee shops in Pakistan and has created an identity around happiness, mainstream happiness, that has helped him and his venture succeed.

An Engineer of Joy

Mush Panjwani is one of us – a man who started by pursuing an engineering degree from NED University. For him, it seems like a hundred years ago…

“It seems like a hundred years ago when I dropped out of NED university after studying for two years to pursue a career in sales. I particularly liked this field because it was the first time that I realized the more effort I put into the field, the more successful I could be.’

‘So as I started learning, I also started training and growing my sales team only at 20. And because I had a difficult childhood and dreams of my own, I wanted to pursue them through my field. So as I trained, I also continued to study. I studied success, discipline, self-motivation, and personal development. And as I started applying that in my life and my training, I started seeing the results.”

While Mush hadn’t fully cracked the formula of a successful, happy life, he was halfway there. After spending 11 years in Pakistan and building a successful sales team, he was offered a job in Hong Kong. He worked in the country for 16 years in a corporate job while training sales and customer service teams and expanding the business he was working for. And then…

“And then the best thing happened, I lost my job! It was the best thing because it allowed me to pursue my other dreams, one of which was to launch my business. So I launched my training company in Hong Kong and this time, instead of teaching sales and marketing, I focused on success training. By this time, I had developed a success based training model. And during that time I was also studying positive psychology and how happiness is related to all the areas in our life. So I started teaching success and its two aspects: how to turn your dreams into goals, plans, and actions. And the other was how to stay positive, happy, and motivated regardless of what’s happening in your life.”

The Happiness Project…

So it was then that Mush Panjwani became a purveyor of success and positivity among his trainees. During that time, back in 2016-17, he also visited Pakistan to train companies like NBP and PIA, but while everything else was going according to plan, one thing he missed was coffee shops.

“Good coffee shops and their positive impact on people’s lives already inspired me and I had a habit of working from such cafes. But every time I would sit in a coffee shop in Pakistan, I felt frustrated. I used to think our country needed proper coffee shops – where there were enough power sockets, where WiFi worked full speed, where the coffee was good, with a clean toilet, good music, and where everyone was cheerful. This was when an idea started developing in my mind as I traveled through Pakistan.’

‘I had a comfortable life in Hong Kong, a good business too, but the coffee shop dream kept getting serious and could be a huge contribution to my country – a coffee shop chain which would have all the things I was imagining in my mind.”

So it happened! Mush Panjwani moved to Pakistan three years back, leaving his life and family behind to achieve his dream to establish Coffee Wagera.

The idea behind the name, and the game

In April 2018 he founded the first coffee shop in Pakistan. The “first coffee shop” concept came through because of what the venture entailed.

“Restaurants and cafes are two different things. Restaurants are places where there’s a proper kitchen, with waiters serving breakfast, lunch, dinner. While cafes are places that serve snacks, where people can come together to study, work, or just chill. But such cafes didn’t exist. So we opened the very first cafe here – Coffee Wagera.”

So that was that – Mush Panjwani had established the very first coffee shop in Pakistan. But what brought it the fame it enjoys from our people? Read below…

“Coffee Wagera started in April 2018 and was doing very well, but it started gaining fame when we implemented some practices that caught media attention. I understood waste and its impact on the environment, and to minimize waste from our end, we opted to get a dispenser from where all our employees and customers could drink water without charge. That was the first step we took that went viral.’

‘Then while hiring for Coffee Wagera, I was very clear on offering equal opportunities to people, whether male or female. It was then that a news channel hired the transgender newscaster, Marvi Malik, which made me realize that there’s a whole community that deserved equal opportunities as well. So we hired our first transgender barista, and even today, any transgender who walks inside Coffee Wagera will be given two weeks of training for free. When people got to know about this, they were impressed and took it as an amazing marketing hack, but it was just us being human.”

It wasn’t just that. From offering free water to buying all their snacks from home chefs, training their employees in sign language for hearing impaired guests, printing a braille menu for blind customers, and partnering with Special Olympics to offer their members jobs and training at Coffee Wagera, Mush has created a culture of positivity and success that reflects in the environment of each Coffee Wagera franchise you walk into. In a way, Mush Panjwani created exactly what he wanted to achieve – a brand that stood for happiness as a goal, which is an amazing feat.

The Mush Panjwani Effect

Today, Coffee Wagera stands with thousands of followers on digital, and even more fans for whom the place is their go-to for work, meetings, or just regular hangouts. Whether it’s because of the great coffee or the sheer happiness with which their employees greet you, Coffee Wagera has established a unique brand identity for itself, and one reason is the Mush Panjwani effect.

Being the Chief Happiness Officer of the place, Mush has implemented the very ideas he used to grow to grow in his life – the ideas that lead him to open four franchises in two years. And what were those? Happiness and success. If you Check This Out, franchising is not a difficult task. For him, happiness isn’t just an attribute. It’s a skill that you can learn by focusing; focusing on your work, goals, and what you want to achieve in life. Because if you practice happiness, then only can you be more productive, effective, and thus successful. That’s what he practices in his life, preaches in his training, and talks about in his book – Dhinchak Life.

We loved talking to Mush Panjwani and learning about the secrets behind the success he has achieved with Coffee Wagera. So much so that we have another article about him! Read more about how Mush Panjwani achieved his dreams with a four-step method in our article.

Quotes in the article have been translated and edited for conciseness.

Zainab Abdul Rehman

Content and strategy specialist with a head full of ideas that I never get time to execute.

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