Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We saw a trend happening in specialty coffee roasting that challenged a lot of the way coffee had been sourced, roasted and delivered to market for decades. We wanted to deliver fresh roasted coffee that was traceable back to the farmer to the city we lived in and beyond. We typically work with boutique coffee importers who have a direct connection with the farmer. A lot of the time the importer also plays a role in improving the quality of the coffee at the farm level, which in turn increases profit for the coffee farmer.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We started selling online immediately, recognizing that we wanted to get our coffee in our customers hands as quickly as possible. We would roast the coffee once customers ordered and have it to their doorstep in 3 days or less. This model worked really well to keep the product super fresh and explain the details behind each coffee we had selected to roast for that season. Depends on the time of year, but we are split pretty evenly between online sales and wholesale orders. Even with wholesale orders, our website is the face of our brand and has played a huge part in telling a bit of our story.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
We track our orders with the ShipStation app as well as the Shopify app. We can easily see orders coming in and track orders sent out the previous week at any time. We use ShipStation to coordinate all of our orders through Shopify. We were thrilled to have the entire back end of our business up and running from day one, with tracking from the time the coffee was ordered until it hit a customers doorstep.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
It is critical to have the tools available on the back end to create a positive experience for the customer. Order confirmation, shipping updates, and ease of use on website are really important. Shopify has allowed us to create a start-to-finish operational plan that would have been impossible in the past. It allows us to spend time roasting our coffee to a really high level each week, which is really important to us.