It didn’t take long today until I had people start asking how I felt about TOMS new one for one coffee product that provides clean water. I think the only way to answer that question is to be 100% real, open, honest, and vulnerable.
I pretty quickly went through a couple stages: shock, anger, confusion, sadness, and landing on hope.
In January of 2010, I traveled to Uganda with a group from my church. My life was forever changed by what I saw. I came back to the US and quickly launched Three Avocados as a non-profit with a dream and $5,000 (of personal funds and donations from friends)…four years ago. The concept was simple. You buy coffee, and we use 100% of our profits toprovide clean water in Uganda.
I think many people overestimate the size of Three Avocados. On average, we sell less than $50,000 a year in coffee. We don’t have a huge marketing budget or PR team. There are a grand total of 0 (zero) full-time and part-time employees. I (Joe Koenig) and my wife (Jen) manage the marketing and logistics of the organization in our free-time. I own part of a small software company and my wife is a stay-at-home mom to our three children. There’s a wonderful volunteer that handles shipping out your orders (his name is Gregg and he’s a lifesaver!), along with countless others that labeled bags, manned events, and helped in a multitude of ways over the years.
I’m proud to say that our late nights, amazing volunteers, and fantastic customers have now helped to provide clean water to over 20,000 people. So, to our supporters, a HUGE thank you, as we could not have done this without you.
I’ll be honest, seeing TOMS new product today did sting. However, the philanthropic part of me is happy to see a big name stepping into the game, as it can only mean more clean water for those in need, as well as a greater market for coffee that does good. In the end, that’s why I started Three Avocados. It’s the reason I (and many others) have poured countless hours into Three Avocados.
Since my trip to Uganda, I’ve felt that God had called me to start Three Avocados. I’ve felt that God had a plan for my life bigger than software. And that’s exactly why we’re dedicated to continuing to bring you amazing coffee and using ALL of the profits to make the world a better place. Just as we’ve done for the past four years.