Care Cups (TM) – A Summer Project with Permanent Impact
Oak City Coffee is teaming up with Wake Enterprises in Raleigh, NC for a project to purchase equipment, create a new product, and provide permanent meaningful work to adults in our community with autism and other developmental disabilities.
The purpose of the project is to create a marketable product that can be manufactured by persons with these challenges. Our market will be to Raleigh businesses as the product of choice for their office coffee.
The product itself is the single serve coffee pod commonly known as K-cups. But we're calling ours Care Cups because we think this is a way to express compassion in the community. By including people with these needs into our company, we're sharing in the challenges of many families in this city. Here's some more benefits:
The cups themselves are recyclable
They're filled with freshly roasted Oak City Coffee- roasted on day 1, filled in cups on day 2, and delivered to you on day 3. Super fresh. One of the benefits of going local!
We'll sell them at a lower price than what you pay at the market- typical retail price is 83 cents/ cup, we're aiming for below 75 cents/ cup.
The new business will be entirely run by people with developmental challenges, and produce a marketable product with their name on it. As market share grows, profits will support additional persons and equipment, and the business will be off and running, providing meaningful work to those in our community with special needs. Fully scalable to meet market demands.
All Backers (and it only costs $5 to be in on this) will receive video updates whenever we get equipment in, have some logo or packaging ideas, or as we are starting up the equipment. This will be pretty cool because you'll see us starting up and producing the first Care Cups. You'll also all receive a "compassion it" wristband. This is an awesome movement happening all over the world, and we want you all to be part of it! (Watch the video below about that) Oh yeah, and you get some "Yay! Coffee!!" stickers 'cause they're fun.
Over the $25 mark is when you start getting coffee - Yeah! All backers over $25 will receive a package of Care Cups when we begin production and a bag of my favorite Oak City Coffee, Kabum! (that's pronounced Ka-boom!)
$50 backers get more of everything- including an Oak City Coffee mug, two bags of OC Coffee, and Care Cups when we begin production.
$100 and higher backers get more Oak City gear and coffee- two mugs, and a 3 month subscription to shipments of free coffee, and Care Cups when we begin production! Yay!
$1000 backers are incredibly in on the whole process- as much as you want! Design discussions, equipment start-up, how much of this can you take?!! And, of course, all of the rewards at the lower levels.
Sara Schairer - Founder of Compassion It
A lot of you have expressed super enthusiasm for this project! Even making plans to move to Raleigh to make it happen! This is so awesome I'm falling off my chair! It's that enthusiasm that has led us to launch a Kickstarter campaign rather than wait to save up the money through coffee sales. This is the real amount needed to pull this together. We've got the equipment lined up, the partnerships in place, and an excited team. All we need are the funds.
The Kickstarter funds will pay for:
New equipment, some purchased outright (for cup lidding), some designed by Oak City Coffee specifically for use by the developmentally challenged (for repeatable dispensing).
Development of retail packaging design for the product
Summer interns to run the project under Oak City Coffee's supervision
Development of the retail market among Raleigh businesses
Initial inventories of cups, packaging, etc.
Now, admittedly, we're going lean on the budget to get an initial product out the door and into the market. If funding goes over the target mark of $20,000 we'll be able to go big on packaging design, and make it look really great.
The objective of this project is long-term, full time employment for adults with autism or other developmental challenges by making a product that is in demand.
The expected duration to develop packaging, create market, purchase and install equipment and produce our product is four to six months.
Wake Enterprises is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing vocational opportunities to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Typically receiving "piece work" from area businesses to work on in our facility, we will also place individuals with companies.
Oak City Coffee is an S-Corp with a vision to create business opportunities for at-risk or physically and mentally challenged persons. Our vision is that a business can show compassion in a community by creatively providing meaningful work, even offering business ownership, to people in these groups.
A little background
We're in this to make a difference in our city. Our bottom line includes meeting challenges in our community with creative solutions.
For families faced with a lifelong commitment to caring for a family member with special needs, this is a way to say we see you, and care. For the person with special needs, well, they want to find a place in the world just like you and me. It doesn't take a great deal of effort to provide that, but it does take an intentional decision to do so. We think that as business owners, we can be instruments for bringing meaningful solutions and, well that could change the city.
The way we see it is that this product doesn't exist right now. We're creating something new- Oak City Care Cups. So, we can create it any way we want. How about if we created a generous business model for this new product? One where we allowed less efficient manufacturing to be done by people who need a place in the world? Some might say that's leaving money on the table. Well, we could look at the market for this product and invest in high-speed automated equipment to maximize profits, we could squeeze our vendors and get the cheapest prices, we could squeeze our coffee farmers and get the best coffee at the lowest price. Does this all sound familiar? It should. It's common business practice when your bottom line is maximum profit to shareholders, blah, blah, blah... But that's not us. We don't think it's anyone, really. It's just what happens when we don't connect meeting our needs with the way we meet them. If we thought about it, we'd be more compassionate. We've just thought about it.
Risks and challenges
Every project has risks and challenges to it's success.
One risk we see is what happens if we do not meet our fundraising goal?
We're fully committed to seeing this project become a reality. If we do not meet our goal, and so, get nothing, we will have to postpone the project until we can sell enough coffee to raise the money through profits. This could possibly not happen for another year or more. For those of you who are extremely enthusiastic about this project, this would be disappointing. On the other hand, if 200 people around the Triangle contribute $100, we will meet our goal handily.
AFTER we are successfully funded, there are still challenges. The project includes developing unique packaging, logo design, as well as the market to sell our new product. We've researched the costs of equipment, design and initial inventories based on no huge obstacles occurring. If we have cost overruns, there will be delays. But, again, we are committed to seeing this project and this product become a reality. We are being realistic here, to say that we think we've done due diligence in exploring costs. Having been through many large facility start-ups, I have seen under-budgeted and unrealistic projects. We are lean, but I think we've accounted for the costs correctly.
Like we said, it's like K-cups, only better. Ours are recyclable. That's not the highest goal, but it is what's attainable right now. Compostable cups are a little ways away and are being developed- not by Keurig by the way, but by an entrepreneur in Portland. We'd love to get those cups for Care Cups. Keep an eye on things over the next year or so. Hey, if you're really motivated, we think compostable cups are worth a gagillion dollars- there's a business opportunity for you!
You are awesome! By contributing to this project, you're saying "It's important to express compassion in the community." For your awesomeness, you'll be in on regular video updates of the start-up progress. We'll also send you a unique, two-sided wristband that says "compassion it". Making compassion a verb. Its a reminder to practice compassion every day. Flip your wristband over when you "compassion it". We'll also connect you with the very awesome (and North Carolina loving) Compassion It community. www.compassionit.com
Thank you for being full of awesomeness! For your kind contribution, we'll send you an equally awesome bag of Oak City Coffee, and a package of Care Cups once we begin production!! You'll also get the unique compassion it wristband that everyone is taking home!
Yay! Coffee!! Thank you for this great contribution! You're a believer in spreading goodness across Raleigh! We'd like to send you an Oak City Coffee mug, and two bags of Oak City Coffee. Along with the two packages of Care Cups when we start production. And of course, all this in addition to the sweet compassion it wristband.
Thank you! Thank you for sharing in the vision of this project! You are one of the heavy lifters! For your partnership with us in this venture, we'll send you two of the first few manufactured packages of Care Cups, and two Oak City Coffee mugs to help you enjoy your 3 month subscription for a bag of Oak City coffee delivered to your door. That's two Care Cup packages, two mugs and a bag of Oak City coffee for three months, along with the compassion it wristband. It's a bunch O' stuff!
We are adding this level in the final week as our way of saying it's OK to go big! The rewards are the same as the $100 level, but you're more of a believer than that, You're a visionary, and we have a place for you in our hearts, and heck, in the business!!
Holy mother of pearl! You are all in! For your wonderful support of making Care Cups a reality, we'll invite you into the design process to sit in on our not-yet-created logo and packaging design sessions. You can be on hand for the start up of the new equipment, meet all the players and receive the first Care Cups produced by our new business venture! We'll also send you the rewards offered to the $100 backers. Thank you!