Business Name: Mugging Whales Coffee Website: https://muggingwhalescoffee.com/ Established: 2018 Questions answered by: Heather Klassen
Can you please fully explain your business or product line?
We sell fresh-roasted whole bean coffee. We offer whole beans only because they stay fresh longer than ground coffee. We select single-origin coffees that are as unique as the countries they come from. Our whole bean coffee is roasted in small batches once a week and can be shipped right to your door or mailbox anywhere in Canada!
With the Winnipeg local maker community continuing to grow, what is the most important thing you’d like potential customers of your company to know?
We want to help more people become mindfully aware of the type of coffee they consume and where it comes from. Our goal is to source specialty coffees that are purchased above fair trade prices, providing a sustainable income for the farmers. We also want to tell the story of where our coffees were grown. Our name has a story, and so do our coffees.
Fun fact: our name comes from a whale watching experience in Maui, Hawaii!
What inspired you to start your business?
The idea for Mugging Whales Coffee began on our vacation to Maui, Hawaii in 2018. We spent some time seeking out little coffee shops while we took in the island life. In fact, much of our love for coffee comes from our travels. The experience of drinking a cup of coffee in the place where it was grown is something very special. We want to bring a little bit of this experience to you through the rich aromas and flavours of our coffee.
What was the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome?
Coffee is something that people want to taste and experience before buying. Since we’re an online business, this has been a challenge for us. We’ve had to do a lot of sampling at markets and events to build up our customer base, especially when we first launched. Now, thanks to our customers who have shared our coffee with their friends and family, our online sales have taken off!
What has been your biggest success as a maker?
Our coffee bag recycling program has been our biggest success so far! We’re so thrilled by how many people have responded to this program.
One of the things we struggle with is finding environmentally-friendly packaging that also maintains the freshness of our coffee beans. In order to maintain freshness, the majority of coffee bags are high barrier, which means they have a foil lining on the inside and a thin layer of plastic on the outside; these are the type of bags you will find on most grocery store shelves, as well as in coffee shops. Because they’re made up of these two materials laminated together, most recycling programs in Canada won’t accept them.
After some research, we discovered a company in Canada that recycles the “non-recyclable” including used coffee bags! This inspired us to start our own recycling program to help reduce some of this waste that ends up in our landfills, oceans, etc.
We also give back to Main Street Project with every purchase! In August 2019, we started to donate coffee every month and by July 2020, we switched to a $75 monthly financial donation, which allows Main Street Project to use the money where they need it the most. By purchasing our coffee, you are helping to support an organization dedicated to serving individuals in our community who are experiencing homelessness and addiction.
Do you have any advice that you would pass on to someone hoping to start up their own business or product line?
Find something you’re passionate about and go for it! If you’re not sure whether your product will sell, put a few items online and see what kind of feedback you get. Grow at your own pace. Don’t compare yourself to other businesses that look like they’re doing so much better; you don’t know what’s really going on behind the scenes.
Please share any upcoming events as well as the best place(s) for people to purchase your product!
We’re so excited to be part of The Scattered Seeds Market on October 15th – 17th and we would love to see you there!