Why did Darrin open a coffee shop?
Pretty much in the course of any discussion I have with a new customer, I inevitably get asked the question of why. What made me do this in particular. I want to tell you my story, and why I love coffee. Well really, why I opened a coffee shop. I started roasting coffee after reading a book by Howard Schultz. I learned Starbucks began as a Coffee Roasting Company, and the passion the founders of the company expressed was the spark later became fire that set Howard Schultz on his path of coffee. Initially it was about the flavor and beans, but after being exposed by another one of the passionate few to the experience” of great coffee his goal became something more. He wanted to share his passion with the masses and Starbucks is what we have today. Howard is “down right” evangelical about sharing his passion to create a “third place” and he has done so well. I believe to be fulfilled in life; we need to have a passion for SOMETHING.
In reading about his passion, I became intrigued about how he spoke about the flavors and various nuances in coffee and when comparing my experiences to his, the analytic in me, wanted to see if I could duplicate or do better what he expressed. So I purchased my first beans, took a whisk and 25 minutes, a bunch of chaff a smoky house and a surprised wife later I became hooked. My wife and I brewed a French Press, and WHOA. It was AMAZING. I began asking customers, who purchased whole beans or only drink their coffee in a warmed mug and a French Press to give my coffee a taste, because obviously they were passionate, and possessed the experience of great coffee and would give me their feedback, as to flavor, body etc. And I would then go back “to the drawing board” to tweak and adjust. Eventually, not only did these “passionate few” begin to buy beans from me, they paid a higher price to me than for Starbucks Whole Bean, and some would request for me to use my coffee in a French Press instead. (Needless to say I was thrilled) I guess now I should figure out how to open a coffee shop.
So, Darrin open a coffee shop via the Farmers Market.
I love Farmers Markets. At markets you literally witness subset after subset of people who are passionate about something interact and share experiences. However, no two Farmer’s Markets are alike. Wanting to share my passion about coffee (but still a capitalist with a wife who as she says “loves to beautify” and two growing children I wanted to teach business principles) I explored the possibility of completing these goals by selling my coffee at the Farmers Market. I called around, emailed, and finally had an invitation to sell at two markets. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Greenwood and Zionsville Markets. The perceived fortune would be that two markets meant double the profit potential. However, my MBA presented a more valuable opportunity. The demographics of these two markets were just as polarized, if not more than their two locations. I could literally conduct experiments with marketing, pricing strategy, product mix, etc. Later I was even offered the opportunity to seek the “passionate few” in a market that had an innovative way of including the lower income buyer. After two sessions with no revenue, we pulled from that market. With valuable insight and fortunately no losses (we still got to spend time as a family). Information we learned indicated the “passionate few” that I best could create value for was better represented at the Zionsville Farmers Market than at the Greenwood Farmers Market (we loved Greenwood, it was just too far for Ian and Allie on Saturday morning!) which was fine, and was worth thousands more than the income made during my families “Summer of Market Research”. The income my children received from their chosen markets gave the honesty which can only be seen through the eyes of a child.
Darrin’s Coffee as opposed to???
I believe that the driving force for purchasing decisions is based on how well our service or product solves a problem. What problem does the person who hires my product want to solve? What is the hard part of my business? How are my business practices different from other Specialty Coffee? What time and effort should I spend to maintain exclusivity and quality? Is the goal of my company to constantly find new clients or to find more products for my clients? When a client hires my product what value can I add to that client’s experience? What will I do that is different? Is scarcity or widespread acceptance the goal of my company?
I choose to offer a very specific product to a very specific group of people who are seeking an experience and they see value, and most importantly are willing to pay for a handcrafted product that is created not out of necessity but out of a labor of love. Standing out to the passionate few is valuable to me because as iron sharpens iron expanding the palate of the passionate is what motivates me. If my coffee appeals to an infinite number of people, the mindset requires that I have to prove an infinite value on what they are going to pay.
I discriminate and I make no apologies. I ONLY want my product to be hired by a client who is passionate about and understands that I tailor a blend or make a recommendation specific to them. Clients that hire my product are often so passionate about coffee that they want my product to represent their brand. They want to share their passion with clients, family or friends and wish to work with me to create an innovative way to share a piece of them. They may even choose to do this as an appreciation or to give an experience where they wish to add value to a relationship. I work to add value to affinity groups. My coffee is not made with filler coffee and I do not want my product to become perceived as a filler product. I am HIGHLY SELECTIVE of my coffee. I have established Direct Trade relationships with my suppliers. As you know, when possible, I deal DIRECTLY with the Farmers. I work to consistently maintain the flavor profiles of ALL OF MY BLENDS, clients want consistency and I work to fulfill their expectation. I take my time and do it right NO MATTER WHAT.
I am passionate about giving to the community; I express this passion personally in creating Private Labels for fundraisers, which to me is the same act the charitable trust creator aims to achieve when they provide means to their legacy.
I hope you understand why Darrin opened a coffee shop.
I want my coffee to be absolutely discriminatory. I discriminate and do so proudly. I only work with certain vendors. I only seek to grow and maintain business relationships with entities that meet my criteria. I only want to share my passion with the client who I can create a valuable experience,and for that experience they are willing to pay a premium. I have worked and absolutely had no joy in an activity where most weeks I spent more time literally fighting with myself and routine than time spent with my family. I love what I do, and I have no issue with only working with a certain type of clientele, and set standards. I make every attempt to be very deliberate and clearly state why I love coffee.Well really, the coffee experience. In my shop I see people laughing, working and taking in the experience of Darrin’s Coffee. Make sense?