857
9 min 2 sec

Telecom Sales Manager Brings Mexican Coffee Across the Border

A telecom sales manager perks up with an opportunity to import and sell coffee for a small coffee farm in Mexico.
Coffee Distribution Model Product Reselling

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What It's About

A highly caffeinated side hustle!

Business Model
Reselling
Skills Required
Sourcing & Coordination
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Remember: do what’s in front of you. Don’t worry about a dozen other opportunities; focus on what you can do right now.

Choose to focus on the task that is waiting for you, the opportunity you already know about … instead of searching for something new and shiny.

Fun Fact

Disney World found Christina through employees from Mexico who recommended Capeltic coffee. They raved about how good the coffee is in their home country and said it would be great to sell in their Epcot village. After researching distributors in the U.S. for Capeltic coffee, Christina’s online brand and store, Inissor came up and they were able to connect with Christina.

Notes from Chris

Episode 857

What would you do if a side hustle opportunity dropped in your lap? In the summer of 2017, Dallas native Christina Rossini found herself facing this question. Christina was invited by a college friend to visit him on a fair trade coffee farm in Chiapas, Mexico.

Being an avid traveler, she accepted the invitation without a second thought. When she arrived, she was given a tour of the Capeltic coffee farm.

Christina was immediately drawn to this coffee co-op. She learned that Capeltic controls the entire coffee value chain from field to cup while paying the farmers a fair, consistent wage. She appreciated their sustainable mission—to keep the co-op 100% farmer-owned so they can stay and support their local economy. It was one of the most successful social enterprise projects in Latin America … but they also had a problem.

Their coffee was very successful among the Jesuit church in Mexico, and they wanted to expand their mission internationally. At the time, Christina was a successful Sales Account Manager in the telecom industry, savvy with sales and making connections. She saw an opportunity and jumped on it.

Working with her friend Stephen, she started small and began importing the coffee a little at a time to sell to friends and family. They wanted to see how the coffee was received before expanding. Since the coffee was heavily intertwined with Jesuit communities and universities, they set up a booth at a holiday bazaar where many potential customers would be in attendance. While at the bazaar, they landed a few institutional clients whose own mission and core values aligned with those of the co-op. They wanted to partner with Christina and begin selling Capeltic coffee.

It’s been nine months now since she quit her job to pursue Inissor full-time, and sales have continued to brew. Her brand has grown outside of the Jesuit community and found its way to other clients and universities, and even to Disney World.

That’s right, Mickey Mouse himself has indulged in a cup of Capeltic coffee after many of his Mouseketeers native to Mexico recommended it to him. This goes to show how valuable brand loyalty and a good social impact story can open more doors to success.

Christina is currently bringing in around $3-4,000 in profit each month and is on track for $250,000 in sales this year. And while things are roasting smoothly now, she had a lot to learn in making the transition. She spent a lot of time researching and connecting with others who worked with similar goods. And before she hired the customs brokers, she ran into some problems.

Her first big order was held up at the border for nearly six weeks because a license for the FDA was expired. They scrambled to get everything together to renew the license so that shipments could resume. Shipping costs have also been higher than she anticipated and have siphoned some of her funds to cover these underestimated costs.

Christina’s advice for anyone wanting to launch a similar side hustle or product is to find your smallest viable market and go after it hardcore. In her case, it was marketing to Jesuit institutions and universities throughout the United States. And from there the products have expanded to other markets. But only after she started with a very specific group.

While she was handed the right cup of coffee at the right time, it took time and dedication for it to brew into a profitable and fluid business.



MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Inissor International: Learn more about this coffee importation side hustle over on Christina's website

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"Find your smallest, viable market and go after it hardcore. It’s easier (and more profitable) to start specific and then expand."
—Christina Rossini #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau