In today’s post we’re introducing one of our founder’s, Rachelle Cummings. While new to the coffee industry, Rachelle brings her years of experience in content marketing to the table. She loves the vision of Coffee X People and is excited to continue to find ways to help tell the stories of people throughout the coffee supply chain.
Why did you choose to start Stori Coffee?
I’ve worked with my husband Joel for six years (we’ve been married for seven, no we didn’t meet at work). He started working with a guy named Arthur and telling me all about the things he was learning about coffee. He also started to tell me how messed up the coffee industry could be. For instance, farmers are often not paid for the coffee they grow for up to half a year, and are forced to take out loans so they get trapped in a cycle of poverty. And he told me that Arthur wanted to change that. I love coffee and I love people, and this seemed like the start of something really special, so I decided to come along for the ride, and see how I could help.
What do you do at Stori Coffee?
I’d describe myself as the Creative Director of Stori, which is sort of funny because we’re a tiny team, but it’s what I do in my “day job,” and the same principles apply. Basically as a team we worked with an awesome designer we know to develop the brand. We then made intentional decisions about how we wanted the brand to look, feel, and what messaging we wanted to convey. It’s my job to help ensure we deliver a consistent message, wherever the brand appears. Joel and I work together on the marketing strategy and then I work with the team to create content, part of our marketing strategy. I’m excited as we grow to be able to bring the coffee x people element of our brand to life, and start sharing the stories of people throughout the coffee supply chain.
What does Coffee x People mean to you?
I grew up in a military family. We moved all the time and I was super shy. I quickly developed the most awkward set of social skills to make friends. I found very simple questions like, “What’s your favorite color,” were great tools to build relationships. Asking questions quickly leads to common ground. I think today especially the world needs a whole lot of empathy and the more we can take the time to talk and get to know each other, the better we’ll be. Taking time to talk over coffee is a great place to start!
What would you be doing if you weren’t working in coffee? (Or what is your second job?)
Like everyone else on the team I have a day job. I’m a Creative Director in marketing who specializes in content and brand strategy. I love helping people find the words to describe what it is they’re trying to do, find the audience they’re trying to work with, and communicate to them in effective ways. And I’ll be honest, doing it for my own brand is really hard! It’s given me a lot of empathy for my clients, because being able to communicate clearly to your audience takes a whole lot of work!
What do you do for fun?
As an introvert who loves people, I’m a mixed bag of people and alone time! I love having people over for dinner, eating food together, cooking, going out to eat, days at the lake, swimming, painting, reading, napping, watching tv shows, gardening, traveling, animals!! and and of course drinking coffee! I like so many things!
What’s your favorite coffee beverage?
When I first met Arthur I thought coffee was a vehicle for cream and sugar. After working with Arthur for the past two years, I’ve learned to appreciate the natural flavors of coffee captured and preserved by farmers so carefully at origin. Also a quick side note, I found that caffeine contributed to my anxiety so four years ago I switched to decaf. I still drink coffee everyday, I LOVE the ritual. And we source the most tasty decaf!!! So my favorite coffee, in the summer iced decaf americano and in the winter hot americano. I still will occasionally enjoy an iced mocha, but that’s now a rare treat (it used to be a daily thing!)
What was your first experience with coffee?
Growing up, my dad and I would make waffles on Saturday morning and he’d always put on a pot of coffee. I remember the smell of that coffee so vividly! The taste was a no go (so so bitter), but that smell!
What is missing from the industry that you’re trying to change?
Honestly, this is why I love working with Amy and Arthur. I don’t know a lot about coffee, there’s so much more to learn. But I trust their vision and the heart for coffee and the people involved in the coffee supply chain. So while I know a lot needs to change, I trust them to help bring that change about and want to be a part of their vision for the future of coffee.