Coffee for Good: Kiondo and the Casuals
Right at the outset we decided that we wanted to do some good with our coffee. There are a number of excellent roasters out there who use their work as a real platform to pass value back down the supply chain or to share the benefits with the wider community. We want to do the same.
Our reach as a roastery is national, but our focus is local: we are the Black Country Coffee Roastery. So we wanted to make sure that the causes that we support are local to our Walsall roastery.
This week, we are really proud to announce that we are going to partner with Kiondo, and 25 pence from every single bag that we sell is going to be given to them. No strings attached, and backdated to the day that we re-opened for business.
Andre-Donovan Reid founded Kiondo with its mission to: “actively invest in people and places; enabling and supporting disadvantaged communities to lead in the future of how they live.”
Walsall is, in my opinion, one such community. It was once world renowned for its leather-work and saddlery, and famous for supplying those goods to the Queen. It was once rich with industry. In the 21st Century the town and borough is a shadow of its former self. More than 25% of the town centre’s shops lie vacant, professionals prefer our bigger cousin in Birmingham for starting up new ventures, and there is little political desire to do anything at all to improve our little town.
But when I spoke with Andre, he sees potential and opportunity. On Friday last week we spent a good hour-and-a-half chatting in the space that he has secured at the old Hogs Head pub just off Bridge Street. That was 90 minutes of talking about how to move forward in this town despite the failures of subsequent councils and parliamentary representatives to get anything done. It was discussion about how the community will be enabled to decide the direction that the creative space will go in and what will be hosted. It was a conversation about inspiration and determination to succeed.
The town of Walsall is incredibly lucky to have Andre and Kiondo fighting for it. He must succeed, and we as a town must enable that. We, as a company, are delighted to have the opportunity to do our bit.
(And before you go any further, check out the fundraiser: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/transforming-walsall-fund)
25 pence per bag has the potential to do a lot of good. Let’s dig into that.
We have about 300kg of green coffee in our roastery right now. That roasts down to a bit more than 250kg of roasted coffee, allowing for a bit of waste.
If, hypothetically, every bag that we sell is 250g, then that 250kg of coffee gives us 1,000 bags.
1,000 x £0.25 = £250.00. That’s a couple of micro-grants to local initiatives. Or it keeps the lights on for a month. Or a hundred different things that aren’t being funded right now. And we won’t be stopping at 250kg of coffee. There’s be another 250kg, and then a tonne, and then we build from there.
I’m a big follower of Imandeep Kaur of Civic Square, and she has repeated the message time and time again that we cannot hesitate in funding those who are ready to do the work, and we cannot build obstacles into a nearly impossible process by demanding that organisations account for every penny that we intend to give to them.
She’s right. That’s why we’re handing the money over for free use by Kiondo for the benefit of our town. We won’t get in the way of progress and those who are ready to do the work.
Buying our coffee is win-win-win
If you, as an individual, buy our coffee then you get a great cup, we build our business, Kiondo gets a slice of the action and our little town gets a little bit stronger.
If you own a business that sells food or gifts, and you choose to sell our bags of coffee as part of your range then your customers get great coffee, and our company, Kiondo, and Walsall win again. At scale.
If you own a coffee shop and you use our beans to serve delicious americanos, flat whites, and espresso to your patrons then the flywheel keeps turning and it’s win-win-win-WIN!
The beauty of business being used as a force for good is that the upside is endless. It just needs somebody to start it, and for others to support it. Now we’ve started, it’s down you. If you want to support our mission to help Andre and Kiondo accomplish theirs, then you can head over to our shop a fill your basket with goodies, or if you want to chat about business then come over to Twitter (@casualscoffee) or Instagram (@casuals_coffee) so that I can give you my email address and we can talk.
To Andre and Kiondo: thank you for committing yourselves to Walsall. We’re all rooting for you to succeed. We can’t wait to see where the next few years take us.