The other day we were fortunate enough to hang on a Zoom with one of our customers, the fine folks at Show Me The World. We are genuinely inspired by their brand story and how our packaging has helped them along the way. Here's what co-founders Samantha, Sylvester, and Boahemaa had to say about their mission and how Roastar’s bags have been a part of it all.
Tell us about Show Me The World. How’d it all start?
First of all, Samantha is an educator, Sylvester is an entrepreneur, and Boahemaa is a PhD scientist.
Wait! That’s like the ultimate trifecta!
Haha yes! As an educator in St. Louis, Samantha was able to identify inequities and opportunities that some students were granted over others and wanted to do something about it. What made sense at the time was finding a way to take her students on an international trip to Costa Rica, so we raised money to make that happen. Many of her students who went on these first trips were the first in their families to travel and the first in their family to have a passport. We saw the impact it had on our students and their families, their science test scores, their leadership skills, and beyond.
Very cool. So what’s the SMTW mission today?
Well, when we realized, "OK, this is great, but it's not sustainable!", we became a non-profit. Our mission is to provide youth from under-resourced communities equitable access to transformative educational experiences both at home and abroad.
So how did coffee become a part of it?
As a small business owner, you have those "Ah-ha!" moments, right? We were in Costa Rica with about 15 students from St. Louis, and we were looking for souvenirs for people back home. We were at a grocery store and realized: "Costa Rica. Coffee. Everybody back home wants it. Wait. Fundraiser? Yes!" That was our "A-ha!" moment. It became an in-tune fundraising opportunity that made sense with the Costa Rica connection and the quality of coffee they have there.
And then you needed coffee bags?
We sold our first coffee out of blank, brown bags. Then we evolved to a bag with a sticker. But now, look at our bags! Are you serious?! When you open these bags up, it keeps getting better. The design connects to our students' learning, science, philanthropy, how the coffee sales benefit the kids, and then you get to see it all on the back of the bag. Now the heart of our program matches the branding, and the heart of our program was always there. But now we finally have that heart represented on our packaging. Shout out to Upstart Food Brands for introducing us to Roastar! You can't help but feel the heart of the program by taking students on this leadership journey.
Thanks, Upstart Foods! We appreciate you! It sounds like meeting Roastar was another A-ha! moment?
It sure was.
So tell us about the effect the new packaging has had on the SMTW brand?
Once we introduced the new bag from Roastar, we had our largest farmer's market selling event. We believe that the quality of the packaging and Roaster's ability to print the way they do make a big difference for us. When we've been on sales calls to grocery stores, it used to be that we didn't have confidence with our first bags. Since we've gotten our new branding and packaging, we have a lot of confidence going into grocery stores. We are expanding the number of locations where we sell our coffee, and we owe it to the packaging.
It sounds like these bags have been confidence boosters?
Absolutely. We've always believed in our mission, and now we believe in our packaging and brand. Our bags are finally a great representation of what we've been building for nine years. It's helped take our mission to the next level.
These Roastar bags are the first touchpoint anyone has with our brand. And it's not only about selling the coffee. People who are impressed with the brand want to be involved in our organization, and it even makes them feel more connected to the project.
Anything else you want to share with us about your Roastar experience?
Roastar has the most user-friendly language on its website to make it easy for people like us – educators and scientists! – to order bags. It's so easy to navigate and place the order. We love it.
Finally, we offer a transformative experience to our students, and for us to communicate that message clearly, concisely, and at all touchpoints is critical. If your first entrance into our brand is our coffee, it's a great experience now, and Roastar plays a significant role. The packaging and branding are now on-point.
Thanks for taking the time, Samantha, Sylvester, and Boahemaa! We’re looking forward to seeing the Show Me The World program continue to grow, and we hope to be a part of your journey for a long time.