Strictly speaking, the world did not need another coffee roaster in 2011. There were already so many places that took pride and care in preparing a cup of coffee. True, the satisfying balance between the signatures of the roaster and the farmer hadn’t been accomplished in the Highwire way, but there was lots of decent coffee.
So I admit, Highwire exists at least in part because of a personal need rather than a market need. The personal need to answer a voice in my head that has always distrusted business to do the right thing. We need this to be different. I believe in the power of voting with one’s wallet, and judging one’s actions rather than words or images. We have run Highwire with these ideas in mind. We want Highwire to be worthy of our employees’ and customers’ trust and loyalty.
Rich, Eric, and I are very different people, who approach work and life individually. We do have some key qualities in common, otherwise, we would have never come together! First and foremost, we care deeply. We care in a way that is personal and political. We really want to change and improve the world. But we’re also pragmatic. We know our impact will be limited. We insist that our beliefs and our work be aligned in a way that can do good, however modestly.
A year ago we wrote a company vision and values statement that we wanted to serve as a commitment to ourselves and our employees. It’s been understood between the three of us for years. We want to make the values explicit. It’s a promise to try and live up to our aspirations. It’s a promise we take seriously. It goes deeper than making popular decisions or winning a branding/pr contest. It’s a sincere intention to use our business as a platform to amplify the good a coffee company can do for its community.
In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing more here about the values that drive this modest experiment in entrepreneurship. I believe we’ve found purpose in driving toward these ideals and hope you'll find them as inspiring as we do.