The women behind the fair trade coffee business Jenipher’s Coffi discuss how the business came to exist
From the farmers to the designers, project manager and communications team, women run the show at Jenipher’s Coffi, a new fair trade coffee in Wales named after Jenipher – vice chair of a co-operation of 3000 farmers at Elgon Mountain in East Uganda.
Ffion Storer Jones, farm girl from central Wales, Project Communications Manager
“I oversee all brand communications activity – from creating the brand to working with the press to creating educational resources and Instagram. But it’s not just me who does everything, as I only work one day a week, it’s a privilege to work with a crew of women, like Meg and Elen who truly believe in the brand and its values.
After meeting Jenipher and her co-farmers on Elgon Mountain in Uganda over 5 years ago, we and many others from Wales wanted to support them through Fair Trade. People across Wales have met with Jenipher over the years, during Fair Trade Week, and they also wanted to support her and her community. We knew that the best way to support was through buying their coffee on Fair Trade terms, and after receiving a grand from the Welsh Government, Jenipher’s Coffi was born.
Jenipher is an inspiration. A widowed mother of 6, she has climbed, despite the number of obstacles, to become a leader in her field and comunity. She raises other women up to become leaders themselves, by working to create a more equal community that respects, and listens to women’s voices. This is just one reason of many that I am so proud to be part of this project. Our choices when buying can have a huge effect on women’s lives, and communities in Wales and across the world – I feel very passionate about this.
The brand has been established, and hopefully reflects respect – of women, of environment, of tradition, culture and community. The coffee is roasted by hand in Bridgend, and we’re very proud to work in a collaborative way, by connecting communities in Wales and Uganda. Holding the farmers, and the Welsh language, close to the heart of a sustainable brand was very important to us. The coffee has been grown to a Fair Trade and Organic standard, and the packaging can also be recycled. The coffee is also available to purchase zero waste in Cardiff and Penarth – we hope we can extend this service in the near future. Teaching people about how coffee is produced and the people behind one of our favourite drinks in Wales, especially how climate change effects them, is an integral part of our brand, and our community too.
We’re only at the start, but we have big dreams! Our dream is that every coffee-lover in Wales has the opportunity to buy Jenipher’s Coffi, and come to understand the difference their daily choices can make. We’d also like to roast the coffee ourselves someday and employ young people so we can develop future generations’ skills.”
Meg Richards, Communicator from Central Wales, Jenipher’s Coffi Instagram Curator
“I help create content for Jenipher’s Coffi’s Instagram page. I joined the brand back in November after seeing an advertisement on Ffi’s Instagram story. I’d been looking for working with a cause for a while because I wanted to be able to say I was proud of my work; when I saw her story I knew instantly that I wanted to work with the project.
Jenipher’s Coffi deals with matters that are important to me personally – as a fair price to all who are part of the process, promoting and supporting women in the workplace, and that the production methods are sustainable and aware of the needs of the environment. It’s a privilege to be able to educate the public about our journey in relation to these matters. The work is totally worth it. But also – the coffee is lush!
One other thing I really like is that the company is bilingual. After leaving university, I worked in a communications role; although some of the companies I represented were under commitments to use the Welsh language because of the Welsh Standards, it always felt as though using the language in a clever and dynamic way was at the bottom of the list of things that were important to them. I think that we’ve seen the use of the language in a ‘cool’ way amidst young people these days and it is very exciting to ben part of that movement. The fact that Jenipher’s Coffi functions in both Welsh and English is important to me.
For a small brand that’s at the very beginning of its journey, there is so much history behind Jenipher’s Coffi already. Looking back, there wasn’t anything that could prepare me for my first meeting and de-brief with Ffi and Elen! Both of them have worked tirelessly to develop the brand from the first day and there is an obvious fire in their bellies. I love being part of a team of women that work hard for something they really believe in, and it’s hard to not be enthusiastic whilst working with them. Jenipher’s history is unique and interesting. Making sure that her story is told fully, in its full complicated excellence, and illustrated to our Instagram audience can be a challenge, but it’s always fun. We’re all committed to the fact that Jenipher is the star of the show, and our Instagram page is a creative way of being able to share her story, and the story of the coffee.
Currently, I work with Jenipher’s Coffi freelance, a few hours a week. Over the months I’ve watched as people’s interest and trust in the coffee has grown and it’s been lovely to see. The feedback from everyone has been so positive and it’s enough to make me want to do the best possible for Jenipher and all of the farmers over in Elgon Mountain.
If you have any questions, our DMs are always open.”
Read issue 4 here.
Follow Jenipher’s Coffi on Instagram.