This question still irks me to this day but not as much as It did when I started Elliott & Murrey. Over the past couple of years, I have pondered this question, trying to understand what people meant by that. Were they purposely trying to be condescending or genuinely asking, ” what makes YOU different.”
Of course, I would say ” it is roasted locally” or ” we use specialty coffee beans” … honestly for the everyday coffee drinker, most of them don’t give a shit. Sorry, but it is true; they want coffee that is within their budget and coffee that TASTE LIKE COFFEE.
I’m sorry, what? What the hell is that supposed to mean?
When I started selling at Farmers Markets, I felt like I had to pitch to people like I was giving a pitch of my product on Shark Tank and giving them a reason why they should buy coffee from me. Using the same talking points that every local coffee roaster in Portland, Oregon uses – Local, specialty grade, roasted on-site – blah, blah, blah. This person has probably heard that exact pitch and doesn’t care because everyone else has said the same thing. An everyday coffee drinker wants a coffee with no fruity fufu and mild to no acidity. Just a plain coffee that they are used to getting at the grocery store.
I have nothing against people who buy coffee from the grocery store; I have my coffee carried at a local grocery chain ( currently at two locations ) emphasizing locally made brands. The stores I have my coffees at have specialty coffee beans stocked on their shelves and in bulk bins, but you will pay a premium price for it just like you would buying directly from a local roaster.
I’m referring to MAJOR grocery chains such as Kroger ( here in Oregon, it is Fred Myers ), Safeway/Albertsons, Wal-Mart, and Winco. Which carries more national branded coffees that more people know the brands and have been getting for who knows how long.
Most of those brands have conveniently carried pre-ground coffee on the shelf, where they purge nitrogen into the bag to keep the coffee fresh and on the shelf for at least six months to a year. Also, these companies have huge advertising budgets that can advertise directly to the consumers through the internet, social media, TV, and print advertising.
For someone who runs a coffee company on her own with a minimal advertising budget, I cannot do everything to reach the target audience like the other big names. I try to make it happen by focusing on SEO, online advertising, and organic reaches but a limited budget. In advertising, you must get creative to give a clear message to an audience you aim to reach. It feels like a double edge sword; on the one hand, advertising creates brand recognition and trust by saying, ” Look at us. We are a brand you can trust! We have this vast advertising budget to tell you to get our coffee! “
It is one of the most uphill battles I have to endure
As a Millenial business owner, I grew up in a generation where computers were introduced in classrooms; the internet was accessible with a dial-up modem, AOL Chat, and Myspace. Thanks to Google and YouTube, I know my way around the basic setups of online advertising. Do I enjoy it ? No. It would take me a few hours or minutes to figure out how to do something and apply it—finding a way to advertise my coffee and brand to an audience I can trust and create that conversion of a skeptic to a returning customer. I had to find a message relatable to everyone, from the coffee fanatic to the everyday coffee drinker – a brand that would unite everyone.
The tag line ” Roasted by Mom ” was born.
When I started Elliott & Murrey, I didn’t know my identity. I followed the flow of other local coffee roasters and never branched out to identify what makes me and my brand unique. That’s bothered me for a long time because I never really had a label for myself, and I was just me. A woman who owned her coffee roasting business happens to be a mom. But that was just it; I’m a Mom- Owned Coffee Company. I roast the coffee, and hence the tagline ” Roasted by Mom ” was born. I realized this was when I wanted a unique coffee blend just in time for Mothers Day. I made a rainbow-themed label and called it ” Roasted by Mom ” – It was a smash hit.
Right then and there, I realized the marks I was missing with advertising and creating a brand that people could trust were right in front of my face. I decided to file a trademark with the tagline Roasted by Mom immediately through the USPTO Office and take a hefty $350.00 gulp of filling fees to make this a reality. It makes sense because I’m a mother of a seven-year-old who is about to start 1st grade in the fall. I want to ensure he grows up to be the best person and provide the best of everything. I want to be able to have my company still when he gets older and learn about the coffee industry.
Moms want the best for their family and children, especially when it comes to running a business; they want to provide the best goods or services they offer. That is how I roll when it comes to using high-quality specialty-grade coffee and roasting in a way for all to enjoy. I share with everyone my fufu light roast coffee and share coffee with those who want coffee that tastes like coffee. I have a little something to share: my love, my craft, and my passion for coffee.