Do you do direct trade?
Why to buy from you and not someone else?
We come from scratch. My father started working in a coffee farm when he was 12 years old, and went to school without shoes. He was a warrior, he worked hard to be able to have his own little farm. So, we know very well, where we come from, and for that reason, we want to focus on providing the opportunity for others to grow too.
How are you going to help others to grow?
We have set up a plan to benefit not only the farmers, but roasters and coffee shop owners as well by providing them the best competitive market prices since there is no middle man but us. But we don’t want to stop there, we want to recognize our coworkers hard work, and the coworkers hard work of the farmers we will work with.
First, we are already working at our own farm with better practices, creating a model to have ready for others to replicate once we are able to include more farmers into our supply chain.
Second, we will help them, not only guiding them on the process to improve their coffee quality, but also their finances.
Third, we are committed to work with small farmers only, not wealthy farmers that are the usual that get those “direct trade” labels. So, the benefit is going to be real.
What do you mean by “direct trade” Labels?
While is not a generalization, there is a lot of fake marketing out there that unfortunately, we have been able to see in Guatemala, and here in the U.S. in which companies promote a type of “direct trade” but still use a middle man to facilitate the export-import of the coffee beans, in which that middle man, takes a juice cut from the farmer payment. And also, some companies, in order to be able to keep consistency and volume while keeping their cost reasonable, buy more often from wealthy big coffee farmers, than poor small farmers, and use “Coyotes” to buy coffee from regions without running into the struggle of working with so many people for small quantities.
We know, how that is, but, that’s not something that is going to stop us to do things right, and develop a real platform to not only be fair, but transparent and not pretend on doing something as a makeup to use for marketing strategies.
What companies do that?
We won’t talk about any company that we know that has this practice, or similar that we know of. We are using this as a reference to make sure that we keep our own processes clear and transparent with our farmers and customers.
Are you a small farmer?
We used to, but thanks to the opportunity of being in the U.S. and work hard every day, we have been able to acquire through loans, a bigger portion of land, placing ourselves in a middle size coffee farmers category.
Are you using other small coffee farmers coffee now?
No yet, and it will take a good volume of coffee sales, to be able to integrate more farmers into our platform. We want to use all our coffee to satisfy our customers demand.
So, what makes you different from other mid-size wealthy farmers?
We don’t want to make money for ourselves with the opportunities we have been able to get, we are committed to transmit the benefit of our direct sales to our coworkers by a saving matching system.
How does your saving matching system works?
Depending of our coworkers situation, we will have 5 different layers for our saving matching system. Each layer will be determined by the age, the family members that work with us, the dependents, and saving purpose.
Based on each layer, we will match our coworkers saving from 1 dollar up to 5 dollars for each dollar they save.
Why do you want to use this system instead of paying more to your coworkers?
We already pay them above average in the region where we are from, however, is not as much as we would like. Originally, we wanted to reach a 300% increase of the average paying wage at the region where we are from, but based on what we have seen with our coworkers habits when having more money (Spending) we want to teach them to create wealth, have emergency funds, school money for their children and more. So, we will have strict rules of how the money can be used and when can be withdrawn.
But why do you want to be on your coworkers business when it comes to their money?
We want to build bridges, and not walls, and a wall is not only a political reference that we are taking on consideration, a wall, is an obstacle that is being built for so many in their own lives, and depriving them for a brighter future.
We currently have 10 full time employees, and up to 30 seasonal employees when the harvest come. We are growing, and we want to grow together, but we don’t want our coworkers, surviving day to day, going paycheck by paycheck. We want to provide the education they can use to improve themselves, and hopefully become coffee farmers partners by helping them to acquire their own little land, and grow next to us.
How about the small farmers that you can work with, once you are managing more volume?
Once we are able to work with more farmers, it will mean we are financially stable and also ready to provide them with tools to make things easier for them to comply with the quality standards our customers will be used to. Therefore, we will have three processes to bring them to a competitive level.
- Start paying them above the market to the farmers that can’t meet high quality coffee standards, but are willing to work with us to improve their situation. This coffee will be used mainly for commercial retail relationships we will develop as time goes by. With this type of market, we will make sure that the majority of the profits go to helping farmers to obtain the tools they need to improve their coffee quality, such as fertilizers, technical guidance, professional agriculture advisors to use better practices and high quality practices on the processing of the coffee to obtain the best flavors out of their beans, to get high rating specialty coffee.
- Once farmers are ready to get into the specialty market area, we will help them to connect with roasters and coffee shop owners to have the ability to sell their coffee directly to them, by providing them the tools we already have for export-import matters, and charge them only the actual cost of it. Not obtaining a profit for us directly, but based on a percentage system we will use, in which the farmer gets to decide what is a fair percentage to pay us. This percentage may or may not cover our logistic cost. But, as we said before, at this point we will be financially stable, so making money out of farmers, will be our last objective.
- We will have financial educational programs to help farmers, roasters and coffee shop owners to understand better their expenses, revenues and profits. Trust us, we have done a good job with this, and want them to be as successful as we can as well.
But why you are not so interested on making money as other companies, are you thinking on being a non profit organization type of thing?
No, we have been blessed with so many opportunities, that we have learned that money is just a tool that can be used to do good. We want to be what my father could have had when he was alive to improve his life and not have to worry about money as much as he did when he was farming. Our drive is seeing my father’s live improved, in other people’s lives.