HER brother may be the face of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, but Suzie Owen has been there since the beginning.

In fact, she and sibling Jim Cregan mixed the first Jimmy’s coffee at the cafe she ran in Christchurch.

She took a rare step into the spotlight at a Virgin StartUp event called How to Make Your Marketing Matter, at THIS Workspace in the Daily Echo building in Bournemouth.

“Jim has always been the speaker as Jimmy, but we did set up the business together,” she told the Daily Echo.

“I’ve always been in the engine room putting out his fires. I’ve always been the straight face.”

As lovers of the brand know, the product was invented after Jim Cregan spent time travelling Australia and developed a taste for iced coffee. He was turned down when he asked to sell his preferred brand in the UK, so decided to devise his own.

He enlisted Suzie, a former police officer who was running her own business, Blend, in Christchurch.

“He said ‘I need you to help me make this iced coffee’,” she said.

“I said, ‘Why me?’. He said ‘Because I know you get s*** done’. I rang Goadsby and put my coffee shop on the market.

“It took 10 months for my coffee shop to sell. In that time, we had set up the business, we were in Selfridges and were about to get into Waitrose.”

In the first year, the business turned over £45,000. Today, it’s heading for £5.5million, and is on course to sell 5.5m drinks this year.

It was driven by the brand’s personality and a flair for attracting a following on social media.

She added: "The business has been brought to life through sheer passion and drive and determination and that’s it. We had nothing else.”

Though it is still run by a small team, Jim and Suzie have hired a managing director, Ric Exley.

“He’s just excellent. He’s very grounded. He’s done wonders for our business,” she said.

“I wade into everything with two feet and get into a rustle and tussle with a problem. I’m happy to dive in.

“I remember just after he was appointed, we had an issue and I waded in and he took me to one side and said ‘You’ve got me here now. That’s what I’m here to do’. When I wade in, I wade in with emotion.”

She still puts passion into the business, she said, and Jim remains the face of the brand.

“But we don’t have as much influence as we did, daily, because we’ve got crew to cover all the back-up, the daily grind of the business.”

She said of the business: “It’s not a job, it’s a fun to-do list.”

She added: “We employ gold, we don’t employ copper. We have 15 absolutely gold members at the frontline because we can’t afford to have 50 mediocre ones."

She hoped audiences would get a valuable perspective from her talk.

“Jim is unique. He’s got a flair that not everybody has. I’m probably more like other people,” she said.

“People can relate more with my side because they’re probably filing paperwork and doing the grind on a daily basis.”