Fair-Trade Coffee Sales
(Oregon) “When tabling at our school’s sustainability fair, we came across a local coffee roaster who had a program called Coffee For A Cause. We approached the vendors, tried a free sample, and told them about Nourish. They were so interested that their head roaster said he wanted to source coffee directly from our partner community. A couple weeks later he had found a source of fair-trade, Ugandan coffee from near our partner community and offered it to us as a part of their Coffee For A Cause campaign. For every pound of coffee we purchased at a wholesale price, the local roasters would donate $1 to a local non-profit. At first we tried selling coffee by the bag, we visited Graduate Teaching Fellows’ meetings, asked professors, and family members. We only sold about 10 bags. Then we shifted focus. One of our members talked to the CFO of her sorority and found out that the sorority would be willing to supply their members with our Ugandan coffee! Shortly after, an apartment complex expressed interest in purchasing our coffee for their coffee bar.”
Also, you can buy fair-trade, organic coffee from Nourish! We have 10 oz. bags available for $7.50 each! Check out the Coffee Toolkit for more details!
(Oregon) “Our marketing solely consisted of word of mouth. We leveraged connections we already had from within our Chapter.”
There are a bunch of ways a Chapter could approach the idea of selling fair-trade coffee.
- You could have a contest within your Chapter to see who could sell the most bags of coffee to friends, family, professors, or door-to-door.
- You could sell cups of coffee on campus in the mornings at a table.
- You could set up a fair-trade shop on or off campus (farmer’s market?) with coffee and fair-trade apparel/jewelery/etc…
- You could sell the coffee during your other Ventures.
- You could sell the coffee to a business owner/manager as gifts to their clients or employees.
- You could sell the coffee in bulk to a Greek life house or an apartment complex.
- There are other possibilities too! Consider creative ways to compete with the local coffee shops or people’s at-home coffee brewer.
Revenue and Expenses:
(Oregon) “Each bag, which is one pound of coffee (16oz.) cost $9 at wholesale price. The retail value of each bag is $14.”
Profits and Other Benefits of Venture
(Oregon) “Each bag sold results in $5 of profit. Additionally, all of the money that changes hands in this Venture is circulated within our local or partner communities. The coffee is fairly sourced from our partner community or region, a local roaster benefits from the sale of the fair-trade coffee, money from each sale is donated to a local non-profit, and then the profit that our Chapter makes on the sale of the coffee at retail price is invested back into our partner community. So every dollar either benefits the community that we students live in every day or the communities in the region where our partner operates!”
(Oregon) “We really struggled to sell coffee at the beginning. The coffee market in Eugene is really saturated because there are so many local coffee shops right near campus (plus a Starbucks). Plus most of it is fair-trade because people are super into ethically sourced products in Oregon. We sold a bit of coffee by attending group meetings and selling to people during the break, but it was a lot of work. So we decided to pivot, that’s when we realized we had connections to a sorority house mom. One member said she would contact her house’s CFO and the next week we were in business!”
(Oregon) “Search “fair-trade coffee (you area) to find local roasters who might have coffee from your partner country. Develop a sales and marketing plan. See if you have any connections to local shops, Greek life houses, apartment complexes, student groups, any groups on campus, or anywhere that might serve or sell coffee and inquire about their interest in fair-trade coffee/supporting Nourish. Approach the local roaster in a professional way, making sure to emphasize any similarities in the values of their organization and Nourish. Ask about forming a mutually beneficial partnership (any discount they give you is tax deductible, you could get their product in front of college students or into different markets, Nourish students might make great employees one day, etc…)
Would you recommend to other chapters?
(Oregon) “I would recommend this to Chapters who can think of creative ways to sell coffee. Unless there aren’t many coffee options near your campus (if not, I’m sorry for your campus community) you’ll have to find nontraditional ways to sell coffee.”
Oregon: Jaimie, Ventures Director – firstname.lastname@example.org
Nourish Staff (Oregon Alum): JD – email@example.com – (970) 443-4349