Coffee touches everyone differently. For some, coffee is essential to functioning the way motor oil is essential to a combustion engine or oxygen to fire.
Some drink coffee because it’s become part of their daily routine alongside showering and getting dressed. It’s a habit.
Others — my roommate for example — drink coffee through their nostrils and are perfectly content with never letting it touch their lips. It is an aroma of comfort. An aroma of home.
Coffee has a sense of nostalgia and urgency. Of past memories and of days ahead. John Steinbeck may have said it best when he wrote, “coffee has a special taste of a frosty morning, and the third cup is as good as the first.”
For me, I’m somewhat of a romantic when it comes to coffee. I love the taste. I love the feeling of a cup against the backdrop of a chilly winter morning. I love the smell of roasted coffee beans. I love the sounds of coffee being prepared. I love that there is a process to making it from harvesting and roasting the beans to brewing.
I say all this so I can talk about a small business I learned about recently. Although I usually grab a cup of coffee on the way to work from one of the many great local coffee houses in Austin, there are some days I take a little extra time to prepare a cup using a french press at home.
During the process of making a cup of coffee, I have to grind whole coffee beans. There are a number of different grinders on the market, but a friend of mine suggested I check out a hand grinder from a company called Red Rooster Trading Company out of Baring, Missouri.
For me, Red Rooster Trading Company epitomizes the heart of a small business. Owned and operated by husband and wife Justin and Britta Burrus, they oversee every step of manufacturing these coffee grinders in a workshop only 100 yards away from their country home.
From hand selecting wood and carving every piece by hand to branding every piece with their logo and even hand stamping every burlap bag for packaging, Justin and Britta truly put their heart and soul into their product and it shows tenfold.
So before I go on and on about how much I love my coffee mill, let’s look at what every business can learn from Red Rooster Trading Company.
- Love What You Do — This is essential. You must truly have a passion for your product or service because your customers can tell. There is love in this coffee mill. The design is beautiful, the craftsmanship superb and a sense that Justin and Britta were thinking only of you when they built, packaged and shipped that coffee mill.
- Packaging is Important — I don’t know if you heard of the artist who actually sells New York City garbage over the Internet to prove a point about how people will buy anything if its packaged right, but it is true. This coffee mill came in a burlap sack with a hand stamped logo. I was excited to open the package. I was excited to see the product. Little touches like this can really show your customers you care.
- It’s All in the Details — When was the last time you received a hand-written thank you note from a business for purchasing a product from them? For me, the answer was never. Not until Red Rooster Trading Company. My coffee mill came with a hand-written note from Britta expressing her gratitude for my order. This attention to detail and thoughtfulness can really make you stand out as a business and prove you care for your customers.
Justin and Britta not only make a beautiful and quality product, but they also make customers feel appreciated and important. I enjoy giving these types of companies my business time and time again.
3 Replies to Lessons from a Coffee Mill for All Small Business Owners
Austin... Wow... just now seeing this. Thanks so much for sharing this... it really means a lot that you could tell how much we do love what we do and appreciate your support!
Nice one, Austin! The NY garbage selling reminded me of the Brazilian documentary, 'Waste Land' - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1268204/.
Enjoyed your story...great example for us to emulate. I took passion out of this story...for I feel it is the greatest attract-er for us wordsmiths. Thank you for the great read