By Robert Kraft
I was recently quoted in the Huffington Post article, “4 Things I Wish I Knew in my 20s”, when asked how Millennials should approach investing in MicroCap companies, one should, “Determine how you can convert your interests into investment opportunities,” meaning, take a look at the products you use, and see if the companies that make those products are public. In my article in the MicroCap Review Winter/Spring 2015, I stated, “If you’re looking into investing in the Stock Market, and don’t know what companies to start looking at first, start with what you know, i.e., hobbies, what do you wear everyday, where you eat, what electronics do you use, etc…” Recently when I was brewing up some Marley Coffee, I looked at the Marley Coffee package. When I saw it was a public company, I decided to reach out to JAMN’s CEO, Brent Toevs, to learn more about Jammin’ Java Corp.
Stock News Now: Brent, Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about Jammin’ Java Corp. Let’s start with an overview of the company.
BT: I think in general the Marley Coffee story is one of growth. We started from the farm in Jamaica in 1999. Rohan purchased a piece of land in 1999 in Jamaica and when realizing that there was a coffee growing community on it, he thought of his father and his legacy to return to the land one day. He continued farming coffee in order to ensure that the community always had jobs. Everything he did to get us to where we are today has roots back to that farming community.
In 2011, after years of research and development and creating a plan for a sustainable business model, Rohan alongside our current President Anh Tran brought the product to market to a few key retailers. We started in places like Whole Foods, Dean and Deluca and a few other specialty retailers. London Drugs in Vancouver was our first large chain that took us storewide.
Since then, we’ve grown both domestically and internationally. We’re currently selling in over 10,000 retailers in North America and in over 10 countries. We continue to grow through innovative, great tasting products, and strong strategic partnerships with those who believe in the brand.
Stock News Now: I’m a big Bob Marley fan, and that’s what attracted me to purchasing Marley Coffee. How is the Marley Family involved in the company?
BT: Rohan Marley is our Chairman and Founder, and our company is based on his principals and those he learned from his father. When he acquired the Marley Coffee farm in Jamaica in 1999, he saw it as an opportunity to create jobs, promote sustainable farming, and improve the community where he and his father grew up. He then spent some time in Ethiopia, a region that historically grows beautiful coffee, and he became inspired to use the model he created in Jamaica and apply it to all the best coffee growing regions around the world. That’s why we source our coffee from Ethiopia and other regions worldwide. The Marley ethos is imbued in everything we do.
Stock News Now: Are the coffee beans from Jamaica?
BT: We have two products sourced directly from the farm in Jamaica. Talkin’ Blues is our 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend. Smile Jamaica is a 20% Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend, which allows us to offer coffee drinkers the taste of Jamaica at a lower price point. Our other blends are sourced from farms all around the world.
Stock News Now: On your website, it states that the company, “sustainably grown, ethically-farmed and artisan roasted gourmet coffee.” Can you explain how the coffee is “sustainably grown” and “ethically-farmed”?
BT: Our coffee buyer sources coffee from farms that adhere to the Marley Coffee principles of being grown in a way that’s in harmony with the environment, and the people who produce the product. All our coffee is either USDA Organic Certified or Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Stock News Now: How is the company supporting the communities and environment where you source your beans?
BT: Our current sustainability initiative, Waterwise Coffee http://www.waterwisecoffee.com/, is making huge strides on the ground in the Sidama region of Ethiopia. My personal favorite coffee from our lineup is our 100% Ethiopia Yirgacheffe called One Love, so it’s a project that’s near and dear to our company. Waterwise provides an eco-friendly way for coffee farmers to filter the water used to process coffee back into the Kolla River, which improves the quality of life for everyone in the community, since they use the river for every-day tasks like cooking and cleaning. 1 cent of every RealCup™ single serve capsule sold goes directly towards that initiative.
Stock News Now: What retailers are carrying Marley Coffee?
BT: We’re available at over 10,000 retail stores in North America, including Safeway, Albertsons, HEB, Winn Dixie, Kroger, Target, Whole Foods Southern California, and more. The full list is at marleycoffee.com/buy.
Stock News Now: What is your background?
BT: I’ve been in the coffee business a long time; I’m a third generation coffee guy. My father had a coffee company and his father before him. Before my time at Marley Coffee I worked at National Coffee Service & Vending, which is now one of our distribution partners, and before then USRefresh Coffee & Vending that served the United States and Canada.
Stock News Now: What does 2015 have in store for Marley Coffee?
BT: We have a huge innovation coming down the pipeline for 2015. EcoCup™ will be the first easily recyclable single serve solution out there, and we are launching on July 1. Single serve is a category that’s only going to gain more and more momentum throughout 2015, and our solution is going to make a huge impact on the amount of waste that would have otherwise went into landfills.
There were 10 billion single serve cups sold in North America last year. Right now, there's a huge push against the k-cup. The hashtag #killthekcup has gained huge momentum because people are really concerned about the 10B cups that are thrown into landfill every single year. We don't believe people will change their usage behavior, but given a better option, we think we can get people to switch to Marley Coffee. Think about this: if we can get 1% of users to pivot that's 100M cups we believe we could capture in the market, or about 50M in incremental revenue. EcoCup™, we believe, will be a huge bet for the company this year.
For more information about Marley Coffee, go to: www.MarleyCoffee.com
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