Blogging for Beans: Business Philosophy and a Short Story
Thank you to everyone for your support! Our introduction was well-received and we are extremely grateful for the community's response!
Our first post was a huge success, as far as we're concerned, so let's keep things going in the right direction! (If you missed it, you can read our introduction post here.) Today we want to talk about what our goals and philosophy are for the business and what our initial funding targets will be in order to become operational.
Our Business Philosophy
The main goal for phase one of Blogging for Beans is to establish a wholesale/retail business in the United States. This business will sell premium and specialty-grade coffees and likely other products, such as cacao, cashews, and tea. The idea is to eliminate middlemen whenever possible and bring these premium products directly from the farmers to consumers at competitive prices. We also want to establish long-term programs in the farming regions to help improve farming practices, finances, and the general quality of life.
To achieve these goals, we will work directly with these farmers, establish relationships with them, and purchase directly from them or their cooperatives. In an industry where there are often two or more middlemen and a lot of information is shrouded in mysterious language, or completely absent for the consumer, it's not common to encounter a business that is built on direct-trade relationships and transparency. And in an industry where high quality typically can't meet demand or prices, it's not common to find premium products that are priced competitively.
We want to change the perception of quality coffee.
Full disclosure: I (ats-david) was never a coffee drinker at any point in my life. I couldn't stand the taste of it. I couldn't stand the smell of it. I didn't even like coffee-flavored drinks, desserts...anything at all. I tried it many times, even putting lots of creams and sugars in it, only to discover that coffee was a terrible drink and that people who enjoyed it either had no sense of taste or smell, or were just complete masochists.
Then something strange happened...
A friend and co-worker of mine took a fishing trip to Costa Rica with some buddies of his. While he was there, he met a young woman at a resort where he had stayed for a couple of nights. They hit it off and he made several return trips to visit her. On one of those visits, they went into the mountains where my friend met this young woman's family. It turned out that one of her uncles was an agricultural engineer at a relatively small coffee farming cooperative.
Before returning to San Jose one evening, he asked if he could have a cup of coffee before the 2-hour drive. They obliged and he had his cup - and was truly amazed by the quality of it! They gave him some coffee to take home and he returned to the states and eventually back to work. One night while in the company of a few co-workers, he told us this story and said that we needed to try this amazing coffee that he had.
Being the skeptic that I was, given my past dealings with this terrible beverage throughout my life, I politely declined a tasting. However, my co-workers gladly accepted the offer. After taking a few sips, they too were blown away by how great the coffee tasted!
I remained skeptical. I figured that they were already coffee drinkers and that they simply had broken tongues. There was just no way that this or any other coffee was actually a good drink. (Right?)
They kept talking about it.
"There's no bitterness to it," one of them said.
Another commented, "It almost tastes sweet."
"Is that chocolate? Wow! David, you really need to try this."
I was defiant. But...my interest was piqued. Could it be? Was it possible that I had been wrong about coffee my entire life? I started to wonder. I listened to these co-workers rave about the taste and quality for several more minutes.
What was I missing? What if the coffee was actually really good this time? And I wasn't getting in on it? I decided that enough was enough.
I disappeared around the corner and made my way to the kitchen. I walked in and saw the coffee pot. I stopped for a second. I stared at it. Yep...it looked just like every other coffee pot I had ever seen before. The coffee machine was also the same. The smell...well, it wasn't totally bad, but that could be a fluke.
I approached cautiously, contemplating whether I should actually give this coffee a try. I just had a feeling in my gut that I was going to regret trying it, again. The other 174 attempts during my life were all failures. But real FOMO had already set in. There was no turning back. I couldn't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
I grabbed a cup, poured a couple of ounces of coffee in it, swirled it around, smelled it, added nothing to it...and then I took a sip.
What in the even...?
The next few minutes were a blur. I know I made it back to my co-workers, but I don't remember the trip. By the time I returned to them, my cup was empty.
I thought to myself, "Was this even coffee that I just drank?" It was impossible! It simply could not have been! I just had coffee and I actually liked the taste!
I told this story to my friends and fellow coffee-drinkers that night. We talked for at least an hour about coffee and our traveling co-worker entertained us with stories of his own and his new-found knowledge on the subject. A few months later, after another trip to Costa Rica, he and I found ourselves discussing coffee once more...over another cup of it. Yes, it's true. I was officially a coffee drinker now - but only the good stuff.
This coffee made a believer out of me. If it could do that for me, then I was certain that it could happen for anyone.
Over the next couple of years, I took a few trips to Costa Rica myself, met with farmers, hammered out some of our logistics, completed several test runs of the importing process and sampling/selling in local markets, and eventually found myself ready for fundraising.
And that's when I discovered Steem/Steemit.
How will Steem fit into our business model?
The philosophy is simple: Forge direct and even personal relationships with our producers and consumers.
We are already forming and growing our relationships with coffee farmers (and even one cacao farmer so far). And what better way is there to create relationships with customers/consumers than on an open peer-to-peer platform? By combining the direct, personal relationships and experiences that we have with producers and offering this information transparently to consumers of our products on a peer-to-peer platform, we can solve any trust and confidence issues that either the producers or consumers might have.
Add a mechanism for direct, instant, no-fee purchasing and transferring of funds from consumer to retailer or retailer to producer, and you end up with a near-perfect system for building a community and economy.
This is what initially brought us to explore Steem/Steemit, and we're certainly glad to be here!
We hope that our presence and persistence will pay off...not just for us, but for the entire Steem ecosystem. Having a robust marketplace is the key to clearing many of the hurdles of crypto adoption and actually achieving a viable transactional currency. Taking the first few steps to make that possible will be challenging, but we're definitely up for it - and we hope that you are too!
Please follow us so that you can stay updated on our progress! And don’t forget to Re-Steem this post!
If you would like to make any donations, please send transfers only to @bloggingforbeans. Thank you for your support!