Social Justice: The Birth of a Social Good Company

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We have featured quite a few companies on here that are well on their way to mega success.  Never before have had as our subject a company that is just in the early, pre-launch stages of building a socially responsible company.

Until this week, when I came across The Simple Cup on my friend Ken Mueller’s Facebook feed.  Ken, who posted on our blog earlier this week, also has the responsibility of teaching marketing at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, and the post that pulled me in was about one of his students.

The Genesis of The Simple Cup

The Simple Cup is the brainchild of Ashley Hill, who was determined to build a business based on local products that also aimed to make a difference.   The brand is aimed at activist, socially responsible consumers, and it is clear to me that living in Lancaster, PA had a huge impact on Ashley Hill.

In her own words:

I was born and raised in the mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania, in a little town called Mildred. I ventured to Lancaster City to attend college and immediately fell in love with the culture and community surrounding me.

If you’ve never been to Lancaster, you probably think of picturesque farmland and Amish buggies; there’s a lot more to it than that.  Apart from the stunning countryside, the city of Lancaster was named one of the 10 Most Exciting Small Cities in America.   It is food rich, not simply from a restaurant perspective, but in its glorious farmers markets as well. It makes perfect sense that The Simple Cup would originate there.

More Than Money Making

Many of the companies we feature on Social Justice are founded by Millennials; The Simple Cup is another example of how much this generation cares about making a greater impact through business.  Perhaps born out of frustration with the political leadership and its inability to get things done, this movement on the part of companies to do good while doing business is not a fad.   As Richard Branson wrote in his outstanding post on the subject:

What brands would you miss if they all disappeared tomorrow? The value of a brand – and the value of a person – is the difference they make to other people’s lives.

The Simple Cup allows the consumer to purchase locally roasted, high quality coffee and partner with a non-profit.   Ashley describes its consumer as someone who “has a longing to be a part of something greater as well as those who simply love coffee.”

It works like this:

–  The Simple Cup creates a partnership with Local Coffee.
–  The Simple Cup sells Local Coffee dark roast in pound bags.
–  You purchase a bag of Local Coffee’s dark roast from The Simple Cup for $12.
–  You take the coffee home and enjoy a cup each morning.
–  The Simple Cup takes $9 of that money and gives it straight to Partner Nonprofit.
–  Partner Nonprofit uses that money to build schools in Ethiopia.

The first non profit to be the benefactor of The Simple Cup is Fields of Hope.  Based out of York, Pennsylvania, they work to help women escape prostitution in Ethiopia.

The Simple Cup is High Design

The ‘do something’ generation is not satisfied simply with brands that do good; they expect quality and high design as well. Ashley Hill brings all of the visual appeal Millennials will demand to The Simple Cup.

Currently a designer and developer at The Infantree, Hill’s talents are evident in the design of her new business. She describes what she does as ‘visual communication;’ it’s a talent that will resonate with her customers.

Getting The Simple Cup Off the Ground

 As we stated in the title of this post, The Simple Cup is still in its infancy.  If the idea of wonderful coffee, high design and doing good speaks to you, you can help Ashley launch by checking out her Indiegogo campaign.  Here’s how it works:

Donate $10 or more and you get a Simple Cup mug. The mugs are 16 oz., white, bistro style with The Simple Cup logo printed in charcoal gray.

Donate $25 or more and you get a Simple Cup mug and also a one pound bag of coffee from one of The Simple Cup’s local partners. If you aren’t a fan of coffee, it can be replaced for a half pint of loose tea, also from one of The Simple Cup’s local partners ( to be announced ).

Donate $50 or more and you get a set of 4 Simple Cup mugs and also a set of 4 handmade* Simple Cup wooden coasters. The coasters are hand cut, hand stained, and hand stamped with The Simple Cup logo. Available in dark stain with white stamp or light stain with dark stamp. Photos to come!

Donate $75 or more and you get a custom, handmade*, one of a kind Simple Cup notebook ( or journal ) and also a Simple Cup mug with a one pound bag of coffee from one of The Simple Cup’s local partners. The notebooks will be square and Coptic stitched with The Simple Cup logo stamped on the front.

Donate $200 or more and you get to be named an official sponsor of The Simple Cup. What does this mean? It means your name ( or logo ) will appear in Simple Cup newsletters, on the website and on other collateral pieces. You also receive a set of 4 Simple Cup mugs, a set of 4 Simple Cup handmade* wooden coasters ( see above for more info, $50 perk ). A bag of coffee from one of The Simple Cup’s local partners ( to be announced ) and a handmade*, custom Simple Cup notebook ( see above for more info, $75 perk ).

Transparency

Ashley Hill and The Simple Cup are not a client of ArCompany. The story of a young entrepreneur with a love of coffee and a mission to make an impact on her world resonated with us strongly, and we feel no shame in blatantly asking our passionate social good community to consider giving this project a boost off the ground.

As you can see, Ashley has a ways to go to make it to her $3,000 goal with 12 days left. So, if you love style, coffee and helping your fellow human, visit her campaign and give it a nudge.

VP of Content & Strategy at ArCompany. She has an extensive background in Sales, and focuses on generational marketing and content. With Hessie Jones she founded ArCompany’s Millnnnial, GenX and Boomer Think Tanks and writes and speaks on those topics from an insights/strategy perspective.

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