Win-win situations - Good entrepreneurs, good business people operate on a principle of win-win. If it's a good deal for you, and it's a good deal for me, then it's a good deal. I believe this is a principle of good business everywhere.
Yes, in the modern day, where someone who rips off their employees and vendors can become president of the United States, seems to be a reflection of the modern day business person. I, personally, don't believe this to be true...not in my experience anyway.
Look around and you'll see them. They're the businesses and the people behind them that are successful at life. They don't drive flashy cars or wear fancy clothes. They go about their business in a very average, blue-collar manner. Financially, they are probably doing pretty well for themselves. They'll tell you though that their financial success is not what they determine as a symbol of their success.
Rather, it is the relationships they have forged through the years that they use as gauges of success. Whether those relationships are with employees, vendors, or customers, successful people value, and protect these relationships.
I've come to know a lot of these types of people through the years, operating a small business. One such person is Sergio Dias, a successful entrepreneur, and Brazilian coffee farmer. Sergio is part owner of one of the larger screen printing companies in Seattle. He's honed his entrepreneurial skills operating this business for the past 20+ years.
Born and raised in the Carmo De Minas region of Brazil, Sergio came to Seattle at a young age for education and opportunity. Once he gained success as a screen printing business owner, he jumped at the chance to purchase the same coffee farm that his grandfather once farmed in Brazil.
We've been using Sergio's coffee for about 8 years now. Back then we were looking for a consistent, tasty Brazil for our Espresso Huli blend. At the time, through our coffee partners, we were not able to source a reliable Brazil. I heard of JC Coffee through a friend and contacted Sergio. When we tasted his coffee for the first time, it was a sweet, nutty, sophisticated coffee, and a great base for our Espresso Huli. Eight years later, Sergio is still producing great coffees from Brazil.
Sergio could have stopped with his own farm and coffee. He was a financial success, both with his screen printing business in Seattle and with his coffee farm in Brazil. Fortunately for us as coffee roasters, and for the many smaller coffee farmers near him in Brazil, financial success wasn't the bar of success. The bar was and still is the relationships.
JC Coffee is a small co-op between Sergio's farm called Canaan Estate, and a neighboring farm and friend, Condado Estate. Soon after forming, JC Coffee saw the opportunity to help his neighboring farmers, all of which were members of a larger co-operative, Cocarive Co-op. Cocarive's membership includes around 800 farms.
JC Coffee has been instrumental in helping the larger Cocarive Co-op improve quality standards both in farming and evaluating of coffee. A lot of Sergio's time is spent connecting farmers in the Cocarive Co-op to buyers all over the world. In Seattle, Sergio will hold public auctions of small lots of coffee from Cocarive. Once a buyer is found, Sergio connects the farmer directly to that buyer, acting as a channel between buyer and farmer.
"Farming is hard. Imagine spending all your money and time farming a product during the year. You have to pay for everything that goes into that out of your own pocket for one year. And you're poor. And then you won't get paid for that product until the following year. That's why I do this," Sergio admits.
Seven Coffee Roasters purchases about 15 bags a month from JC Coffee, a small amount, but a lot for a small coffee roaster. It's relationships like the one we have with Sergio that keeps us coming back. As much as the quality and consistency of his product, we support the manner in which Sergio runs his business. Old school, day by day, one cup at a time, tried and true, help don't hurt- these are the values that we share.