Aerial Resupply Coffee - 1 Year of Supporting Veterans, First Responders, and Outstanding Customers
It's hard to imagine that almost 1 year has passed since the launch of Aerial Resupply Coffee. So much has happened within that time, and the company has grown by leaps and bounds that how it looks today is so radically different than when we started.
To celebrate where we started and how we got to this point in our business journey, I felt that it would be awesome to review some of our awesome wins, not so great losses, and most importantly, key events that occurred along the way.
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support and interest of YOU, the customer. After all, we can speak about supporting veterans, roasting great coffee, and delivering exceptional customer service across the board, but it doesn't happen without you.
So THANK YOU!
August 15, 2021
Launch day. When I first pushed submit on LinkedIn post #1 about Aerial Resupply Coffee, I was a nervous wreck. Aside from the fear that everyone would look at my business and decide it wasn't for them, I was afraid I had set something up wrong on the website. I was afraid that I something would break, and I wouldn't know what to do or how to fix it.
And you know what? Things did break. It wasn't a smooth launch. Looking back, I could have done a soft launch to work out the kinks and figure out how to make systems run smooth, but I guess I chose the hard way.
But then something awesome happened. People were understanding. They were patient as I worked through many errors in processing, emails, shipping, and product delays. They were understanding that this was brand new.
And they LOVED the branding. While I came from the Army, I knew that the Aerial delivery function was primarily an Air Force mission - but watching helicopters for 20 years sling load supplies forward to any Army unit was always something that I loved. I knew I had to do it.
It wasn’t long before one customer turned into ten, and ten into twenty. Before I knew it, August had come to a close and the first month was in the books. I had surpassed my goal of one bag of coffee… and was now a functioning business.
August - December 2021
Five months after our launch date, we had already achieved so much:
- Launched our subscription coffee club
- Certified as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)
- Available on Amazon
- Available on Walmart Online
- Available on Facebook/Instagram shopping
- Grew from 1 roast to 4 roasts
- Had our first successful holiday campaign with Christmas Kitty
- Grew 400% in 5 months
All of this was a whirlwind, while simultaneously interacting with customers, potential business partners, potential distributors, and friends about how Aerial Resupply Coffee was growing.
We had grown from 1 roast of coffee to 4 roasts. While our initial roast was Fire Watch - our medium roast 100% Colombian Supremo bean coffee, we quickly realized not only the need for more options, but to deliver that coffee in a way that would suit our customer needs. That meant single-serving K-cups for Kuerig machines.
The first roast we expanded to was Spectre - because we had heard the light teasing and complaints that we didn’t offer a dark roast. Spectre was the answer to those complaints. As a dark espresso roast, it was immediately well received and quickly rose to one of our favorite flavors, as well as our customers. And with the added bonus of carrying the AC-130 gunship on the front of the bag (our favorite Air Force aircraft), it nearly became the flagship roast for ARC.
We also recognized that we needed a roast that addressed the high-energy requirements of the U.S. Military. Energy drinks just don’t cut it. A double caffeinated roast was the question, and MOAB with it’s unique robusta bean characteristics was the answer. MOAB (Mother of All Brews) is a one-mug solution for anyone’s caffeine needs. It’s smooth flavor as a medium roast means it’s squarely a go-to solution for anyone who loves coffee.
With three primary roasts and a bevy of merchandise options from logo coffee mugs, to tumblers, to awesome Shirts and stickers, we were finally starting to feel like we had momentum behind our brand - and a way for our customers to share their love for ARC coffee.
January - June 2022
The train never stopped during these months as we:
- Attended the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association Charlotte Race in March
- Operated our first Kiosk at the Army Air Force Exchange at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii
- Added our Logistics Wins Wars shirt and sticker to our merchandise collection
- Added our first logo Richardson 112 hat!
- Continued to roast awesome coffee
- Continued our growth trajectory surpassing all of our sales targets
- Added care packages to support deployed service members.
But the absolute best thing that happened during this window was that we hired our first employee!
Not only that, we hired our first Veteran employee! As a veteran-owned and operated business, it is paramount that our employees not only represent our company, our mission, and values, but that they also represent the customers like you, who are also veterans or veteran friendly consumers. That is our priority.
As we continue to grow - hiring veterans, military spouses, and first responders will only make our business and brand awareness stronger. While we aren’t going to make any claims such as “it’s our goal to hire 10,000 veterans” - we will say that it’s our desire to employ veterans first.
August 2022 and Beyond
So what’s next? As we enter year 2, it’s become increasingly clear that Aerial Resupply Coffee is here to stay. More and more people are learning about the awesomeness of our coffee, our mission, our brand, and our awesome people. We continue to have outstanding people who share our mission in the form of brand ambassadors talk about our brand to others every day.
We are excited to bring new products into the fold. More T-shirts, more mugs and tumblers, more everything! The only thing holding us back is our creativity (and budget)!
So continue to pay attention to the good things that Aerial Resupply Coffee is doing.
Pretty soon, we will be discussing what we will look like in year 3.