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Earlier this month, we had the great opportunity to enjoy Kindly Coffee during our first ever Coffee & Case Studies event. Kindly Coffee is an outdoor inspired coffee company that sources, roasts and delivers beautiful coffees from the world’s best small-plot farmers to offices and homes. If that’s not enough to get you excited, their goal as a business is to bring you excellent tasting coffee that you feel good about drinking, that inspires you to create your best work, go on that next adventure or warms you up while relaxing comfortably with a book. Who wouldn’t want to get on board with that?
That’s why we’re sitting down with Dan Linstroth, founder of Kindly Coffee, to get the inside scoop in this month’s Sponsor Spotlight.
I spent about 3 years living and working abroad with much of that time being in Central and South America. While there, I was fortunate enough to travel quite a bit. As a die-hard coffee drinker, I was curious about coffee cultivation and agriculture. Seeing coffee at its origin, meeting the people who grow coffee and witnessing the impact that our coffee drinking habits have on coffee farming communities worldwide triggered a deep fascination and exploration that eventually acted as the inspiration for Kindly Coffee.
After returning to Minneapolis, I co-founded a small technology startup unrelated to Kindly Coffee that fizzled out after a couple of hard years. The day after we closed that business, I awoke to an empty calendar. Not one to sit around, I quickly created a website and a brand that I felt represented my vision for Kindly as an eco-friendly coffee company. I launched the site just in time for Holiday gift shopping and pre-sold the first round of orders to fund the business. After striking a few key partnerships, I was off and running. A lesson I learned from the first venture, Kindly Coffee was profitable from the first sale.
Today, we’re focused on using technology and sustainable business practices like composting to bring a better coffee experience to creative office spaces in the Twin Cities. We’re working with a small group of five pilot offices who have been great partners in helping us learn and iterate.
What began as a fun side-project fueled by word-of-mouth is now evolving into a growing business.
Having worked in the local marketing and technology community for some time, I’ve been to plenty of MIMA events and was eager to participate in a different way. MIMA board member Jamie Plesser is a friend and mentioned the Coffee & Case Studies events. It seemed like a perfect fit.
We began by establishing our identity and purpose as a company. The name itself, Kindly, was meant to keep us inspired to be as eco-friendly as possible. Our North Star, if you will.
Truthfully, at the beginning, we had no idea how that would play out but we worked with that focus in mind. Now that we’ve found our niche in improving the office coffee experience and have added in services like compost collection, making us the only full-circle coffee company (that I’m aware of), we’re ready to grow.
We’re in the process of testing different ways to tell our story, which is a ton of fun. As we learn what is working, I foresee our biggest marketing challenge coming when it’s time to efficiently scale those marketing efforts while staying profitable.
Building a brand worthy of people’s attention takes a lot of time and work. We know this is a long-term effort. In the meantime, the best way for a small business to market itself is through quality customer service. That is where we are placing our energy right now.
There are a lot of smart people in this community doing inspiring work. The swell of energy surrounding the technology, creative and startup communities in the Twin Cities is palpable. We’re on to something big here. Organizations like MIMA are playing a tremendous role. If Kindly can be a small part of that through coffee, I’ll be happy.
We are currently doing free office coffee tasting events. We’ll come to your office for an hour with two or three unique kinds of coffee and couple of brewing methods to demonstrate. While we’re there, we’ll serve coffee, talk a bit about where our coffees come from, the history of coffee and facilitate a coffee hangout. It’s a great way to shake up the week and start the workday a bit differently than normal.
You can register here: https://kindlycoffee.com/office-coffee/