Single cup coffee fans, rejoice. Our new Fairtrade certified brand Woken’s delicious, Italian-roasted, compostable coffee pods offer you a way to have a great cup of coffee that does great things for people and the planet on its way to your mug.
We talked with Head of Woken Coffee Amanda Harari to learn more about their mission to help coffee lovers see the power of their everyday choices.
Please introduce yourself – what is your role with Woken?
I run the division of Woken Coffee, so everything from product to marketing, the P and L, making sure, you know, we’re hitting all the targets and building the brand. I also work with all the suppliers to make sure the coffee is what we’re looking for and what we want and dealing with all the different suppliers and components to build up the product.
Tell me about your company. What’s your mission?
We currently sell compostable capsules that are compatible with your original line Nespresso* machine, though we’re not affiliated with Nespresso. We import our product from Italy, so we use Italian roasted espresso, and then we sell it direct to consumer and on Amazon. On our website we offer a la carte or a subscription, and we also offer sample packs. So everybody could come in and try all the different blends. I think right now we have about nine blends. We also have a chocolate bar that pairs really nicely with our coffee that we launched with another company called Raaka and we did a co-brand with them for our chocolate bars.
Our pods are 100% compostable and, basically our whole mission is this concept that little things add up. Little things add up over time. You know, I think that sometimes people think, ‘Oh, what difference will one pod make? You know?’ Well, if 5 billion people said that, we’d be in a big, different situation. We have a sort of a philosophy that people have choice, and we want to give people choice and options with an eco-friendly product that makes them feel empowered to not only have a really good cup of espresso or coffee, but also to make small changes to make their lives and the world around them better.
Why did you choose to have your product Fairtrade Certified?
We launched our Fairtrade certified pods because we just found that a lot of people were asking “Is it fair trade?” We didn’t have a fair trade option at the time just because we’re a small company, we’re kind of in that startup phase. So, you know, when we were starting, we were like, “Okay, let’s start with the compostable factor. And as we grow, we’ll incorporate all these different aspects, you know, we’ll incorporate fair trade.” And we also wanted to give people options. We want to give choice to the consumer. So we paired up with some suppliers and got some Fairtrade coffee and started working with Fairtrade America.
What makes your product unique?
Our product is really all about doing little things every day that make a difference and those things have a big impact over time. I think the coffee, a lot of Italian coffee, does not incorporate any sort of eco-friendly component. There’s a lot of Italian coffee out there that just doesn’t do that. So we’re really trying to have this sort of old traditional roasting, which I like personally. I love Italian coffee or espresso. We’re just trying to bring a different element to it by having it be compostable and now also having incorporated Fairtrade, too. So it’s sort of modernizing a very old tradition in a positive way, still keeping all the good stuff.
How do you use your business to create a more sustainable and/or equitable world? How do you give back?
Well the capsule itself is made to be 100% compostable. It’s carbon neutral, and on our website you can pay $2.00 to add a carbon neutral effect. We work with a company called CarbonClick so that if the customer wants to have their order be carbon neutral they can.
We also have partnered with an organization called Verdin on one product, the Woken mix six pack. Whenever somebody purchases that we donate about 75 cents of the order to do plastic cleanup in the ocean, and each order recovers about 80 bottles from the ocean.
What’s next for Woken? Where do you see your company in 5 years, for example?
We just really want to grow the business and the product line. If we can, we want to get more Fairtrade coffee, we’d love that. Another thing that’s next for us is that we’re actually changing our capsules to be home compostable. Right now all capsules, like most compostable capsules out there, are commercially compostable. But we’ve found a supplier and found ways to now make ours compostable at home.
“I don’t really think I’d want to sell something that makes the world bad. I don’t know if I could sleep at night.” – Amanda Harari, Head of Woken Coffee Division
What inspires you and your team to work towards business for good?
I feel like today, if you’re building a brand, it’s sort of part of business. Working for broader good is sort of the norm now. I think if you’re going to be in business and you can do good, why not? I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. It always feels really nice when people love your product, and we love that it’s compostable and tastes great.
I’d say another one is also, you know, giving customers choice and variety with a machine. I think a lot of times, customers buy a type of machine, and then they’re stuck. This is a good alternative, I think. It always feels nice to do something good in general, and you know, for us at least, it’s just sort of how we operate. I don’t really think I’d want to sell something that makes the world bad. I don’t know if I could sleep at night.
What is one key takeaway for customers to know about Woken and your work with Fairtrade?
Our Fairtrade certified blend is the Riserva blend. When you buy a box, you get 10 compostable pods, and we have a lot of discounts on first orders, so definitely look for those!
How can a customer get involved with your brand?
The best way to get involved is really to, you know, get the product and then share it on social. We mainly use Instagram. That’s always a really helpful way to engage. And tell your friends, word of mouth is nice. Or leave a good review – any positive sort of spin or any sort of imagery that you can share or add is always helpful to any new brand.
Where can customers find your Fairtrade products?
*Woken is not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by Nespresso®
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