Oak City Coffee is teaming up with Wake Enterprises in Raleigh, NC for a project to create a new product, purchase equipment, 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 60 - 75 cents per 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 there's news- getting equipment in, new logo or packaging ideas, and 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
So many 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 (and paid for thanks to a foundation contribution!), the partnerships in place, and an excited team. All we need are the final funds.
This Kickstarter Re-Launch will pay for:
- Development of retail packaging design for the product
- A summer intern to run the project under Oak City Coffee's supervision
- Initial inventories of cups, packaging, etc.
- Development of the retail market among Raleigh businesses
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 $8,000 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, they 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 immediate 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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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