On today’s date 11 years ago in 2003 Nanelle and I gave birth to Barefoot Coffee Roasters. We had no business plan, no money, no idea what we were doing, and no experience. What we did have was absolutely insane passion, a mission to make great coffee and thick, thick skin and big hearts.
We are proud and humbled by the experience. By far our greatest love, pride and joy was the amazing team of misfits, punks, lunatics and dreamers that we called family and other people called “those damn coffee hippies”. Our team of diamonds made all the hell, blood, tears, drama, stress and pain worth it ten times over.
If we had to do it over again without all of our glorious people we would never even think about it. But if for even a short time we got the joy of working side by side with our entire team of wonderful coffee professionals we would do it five times over with gladness.
We may not have had any idea what we were getting ourselves into when we paid the back rent on the failed coffee shop but that was probably a good thing in disguise. We walked in on that morning and said,
“Hi! We’re the new owners and we are going to make awesome coffee”
They stared at us and said “How?” We stared back and said we don’t know but we will.
11 years later I still don’t feel I know how to make awesome coffee, but I certainly know how to make it more awesomer. Coffee is a never ending journey into the barely known and rarely understood. The more you learn the more you realize that you know nothing at all.
We spilled more blood, spent more money, consumed more coffee and removed all color from my hair faster than we ever thought possible. We made more mistakes than anyone else did. We screwed up more, more often and bigger. We tried more new things and did so many things first it hurts. We had hands down the best team of so lost in love, over the top, all for the coffee misfits and coffee punks the world has ever seen. And it wasn’t us.
it was you.
We simply looked for and rewarded the crazy ones. The ones with vision, with passion, with sparkle and pop. It was not OUR drive and vision that made Barefoot Coffee such a game changing tour de force, it was the quality of our team, the passion of our people and the purity of our pursuit of coffee perfection. We didn’t always do it very well, but our people poured every last drop of soul they had into everything they did. My sons and daughter literally grew up amongst all our great people. Their lives are based on the assumption that people are freaking awesome, cool, passionate and caring. That’s rad.
Our location sucked, we had no money and we wore our hearts on our sleeves, but DAMN we had great people!
We sold the business at the end of 2010 to leap off our next cliff into the unknown and move to El Salvador to open the first ever Craft Brewery in the C4 of Central America and help coffee roasters connect with farmers in Direct Trade at origin. Selling our Barefoot Coffee company was the single hardest thing we have ever done and I have never experienced so much pain, suffering, rage, tears and terror in all my life.
Nothing we have done in our lives will ever equal the glory of what we enjoyed in our time working with the truly amazing employees, vendors, customers, farmers, importers, suppliers, competitors, clients and passionate people we were blessed to work with every day. On my recent return to my true love of coffee I am constantly reminded by all of the coffee people our team inspired and inspired by how awesome every one of our coffee team still is.
My how things have changed and improved from those early days. Proud of the entire band of coffee professionals that are still misfits and punks at heart.
I am literally wiping away my tears as I write this remembering all of my “damn dirty coffee hippies” and what an amazingly powerful, passionate bunch of true world changing visionaries you all are. Nanelle and I are humbled beyond belief that we were able to ride the crazy train of awesomeness with you all for the short time we did. Stay mighty and:
Never give them what they want, only give them what you do best.
That’s the Barefoot legacy.