We’re happy to have Todd Carmichael as one of the speakers at our upcoming PSFK CONFERENCE NYC 2012. On March 30th, the Co-Founder of La Colombe Torrefaction will talk about making brands that matter and how he built his successful coffee business using human-centric practices.
Why do you think La Colombe has stood out in what was already a popular market? What is it about coffee that appeals to you?
Why we stood out? Our people, us.
As for what it is about coffee that appeals to me personally, in short, there is no me without coffee. Coffee is who I am, it is my craft, hardly separable from me as a person.
We asked you to speak because of our appreciation of your brand, how it manifests across the product, service and retail–even the people. Has there been some grand master plan behind your success?
Our first rule is to always be ourselves and in a way that can be viewed as a master plan of sorts. Part of what makes us unique is that none of us look at the company as a Corporation per se, with a brand to exude. Instead, La Colombe is an ever growing collection of people growing and operating a company, which in turn is allowed to reflect the traits of those who work it, human traits, real feelings, our personal tastes, our thoughts, desires and opinions, good or bad. Our “Brand” can better be described as our “collective personality,” in doing so we naturally exude a certain style and ethic that is uniquely and genuinely our own. In this, our creative process is more “doing” than “thinking” about what brand people might like. Often our reasoning behind our aesthetic and most all things is “we liked it that way”. Our Brand is 100% human, and 100% real.
How do you keep the brand creative. What do you do to inspire your work?
The best way to stay creative is to 1) be interested in what you do and 2) to continually be fixated on setting the newest standard of what can be done, in everything, from the cup, to a cafe, to a coffee farm relationship, or even a country, like Haiti or Angola. As a CEO, my rule is to resist isolation, from operations, from people, co-workers, customers, coffee farmers or any other aspect of what we do. I soundly reject the corner office and the thinking that naturally goes with it. I soundly reject the corporate
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