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Growers First Coffee
Location: 1891 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California, United States United States
Founded in: 2011
Stage: Post-launch
Number of employees: 1-5
Short URL: vator.co/growersfirstcoffee
Followers (226)
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Testimonials

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Growers First is the only company I am aware of that actually can show you the impact that buying their coffee has on real farmers. Traceable Transformation shows the consumer real impact in the last mile with small, rural farmers. It is scaleable and sustainable--it helps farmers through leveraging supply chain efficiencies, not handouts.

Being Data Manager for Growers First Foundation my job is to gather & track info from remote coffee families that we assist. With recent economic times our foundation was struggling financially which was quickly leading to hampering us in helping these remote farmers. With the creation of Growers First Coffee we have hope for a sustainable future!

From Ed Orem
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Growers First Coffee

Choose your coffee. Change the world.
Startup/business
Laguna Beach, California, United States United States
http://growersfirstcoffee.com
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Company description
Growers First Coffee is a new-world business enterprise designed to leverage the power of consumer choice to change the world. 
Grower's First helps poor remote mountain coffee farmers establish long-term economic sustainability in their farm communities and then brings their coffee to market to create a sustainable revenue stream for expansion. 
The Growers First approach
  • Places more of the end-consumer's coffee purchase price in the hands of the farmer
  • Empowers indigenous coffee farmers and their families to address the needs of their communities - as they determine them
  • Trades equitably with the farmers and brings their coffee to market
  • Through rigorous data collection traces the transformation happening in the lives of farmers
  • And then through state-of-the-art technologies, enables consumers to establish a relationship with the source producer of their premium cup of coffee
Choose your coffee. Change the world.

 


Team
Business model

Strategy Our sales and marketing strategy focuses on building significant enterprise value in a very short time:

  • Traceable - the first company to offer a subsistence-farmer produced coffee with a fully integrated traceability technology that uses the product to connect the consumer with the cause and the actual coffee grower
  • Transformational - showcasing a practical and proven solution to addressing the needs of the rural agricultural poor
  • Sustainable – enabling consumers to become actors, rather than spectators, in the fight against global poverty and environmental degradation by their purchasing decisions
  • Innovative – capturing a significant “share of mind” advantage by owning the Traceable-TransformationTM message and space in the early stages

Build brand value and revenue by selling roasted coffee to the LOHAS market-through strategic natural foods stores-Starting with B and C level stores and moving on to A level ones. We are currently in 21 stores in the Southern California area and are adding new accounts weekly. Growers First Coffee is very well recieved--selling through at roughly 1-2 case weekly per store (12 bags per case) and receiving reorders.

License Growers First branded coffee to roasters who desire to sell this differentiated product through their channels. (We are currently working with Crimson Cup Coffee out of Ohio in such an arrangement. They have 400 coffee houses to whom they sell their coffee. They wanted a product that would go beyond Fair Trade to real farmer impact.)

Consult with coffee roasters who desire to make a life transforming impact on the growers with whom they directly trade. We are currently working to develop a program with Counter Culture Coffee out of Boston about bringing the Growers First approach to the farmers with whom they trade. They are frustrated that their philanthropic efforts have yielded mixed results. We have the agronomic and development expertise they need.

Build brand authority by shaping the conversation about delivering on the promise of transformation for the poor farmers forward through 

  • Our current grassroots initiatives with colleges and universities such as George Washington University, NYU, Stanford, USC and others who are researching our model, building partnerships with us to bring the coffee to their campuses, traveling to origin, writing, blogging and posting about Growers First.
  • Promoting the Growers First story through social innovation channels (We have supplied coffee to cutting edge social innovation conferences such as PopTech, we have spoken at TEDx in La Jolla and have been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.)
  • Presenting our program to the the National Coffee Association. (Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Green Mountain etc., we have the invite,) and the Specialty Coffee Association of America. 
Competitive advantage

Traceable transformation. True traceability to the life transforming impact that the purchase of this coffee has on remote, small-plot farmers.

Growers First seeks to capture a key segment within the $40 billion specialty & sustainable or certified coffee market segments - a stable, growing and high gross-margin business - by targeting “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability” (LOHAS) consumers. This market segment is composed of a relatively upscale and well-educated population that demands products of “equal quality that are also virtuous.” Worldwatch Institute reported that the LOHAS market segment in the year 2006 was estimated at $300 billion, approximately 30% of the U.S. consumer market.

Our model is market-driven, and doesn't rely on subsidizing coffee prices as is the case with Fair Trade, but rather working with our farmers individually to increase the value of their product. Whereas farmers usually have to rely on middlemen to transport their coffee, losing 30-50% of the value of their crop, we give them access to the market that delivers 100% of the market price for highest premium green coffee to the farmer herself. Fewer middlemen mean she has the greatest control possible of her own industry. Thus, Growers First delivers on the promise of great coffee with a great story. A farm to table consumer and industry connection for coffee. 

This relationship between farmer to consumer is emphasized by the QR codes on our bags that track the coffee's origin in that bag, show the farmer who grew it, share his or her story, and allow the consumer to actually see the change in his or her life. This is a dynamic database-driven process, made robust by the 60+ data points we track on our farmers that allow us to pinpoint economic changes that happen in their lives over the course of working with us.

Growers First's farmer development model is something the coffee industry needs. And, our team is well connected and has deep experience within the coffee industry, beverage marketing, and philanthropic and social impact ventures.