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Café to Café


Bad Boys Brands

Premium coffee and gourmet foods

In the Northwest, it seems there's always room for another coffee option and high-quality foods. Wanting to know what ingredients are in the food you buy, where they're from and how they're produced is not a trend; it's become a way of life. Bad Boys Brands are built on this principle of quality and doing things right. And there's a big story behind those principles.

Their first product was Bad Boys Blendä Campfire-Inspired Coffee: organic, fair trade certified, ethically grown. The beans come from the same family of plantations to ensure job security. With the goal of creating a smooth, bold coffee with no aftertaste, they partnered with a Portland roaster to get just what they wanted. And they're clear about their pricing-it's not inexpensive because you pay for quality. It's beautifully packaged to reflect their love of the Pacific Northwest. There's talk of doing other coffee blends as well.

Pistachio Cranberry White Chocolate is the first item in their Pacific Northwest Trail Mix series. It's an organic, healthy snack the Bad Boys love when they're out in the woods. And coming this summer, they'll be offering a garden fresh, all vegetable Pico de Gallo sauce/salsa and an organic and zesty campfire-inspired barbecue sauce.

A new company, they are focused on placing their products in the five-star food and hospitality market: high-end hotels, airlines, etc. The average consumer can simply go online and order from their store. The best news is that they are so sure of their products that they guarantee them. If you don't like something, they'll buy it back. It's part of that principle of doing things right.

In addition to their food and coffee, they offer a Bad Boys Hoodie (check out their social media contest: pose in their hoodie drinking their coffee and post it on their Facebook page-if you get the most 'likes' you'll be drinking free coffee for a year), and are working on an athletic gear line.

They're also getting a lot of attention for the photo shoots they do when they're in the woods, posing in their hoodies, surrounded by artifacts pulled from garages and basements of families and friends. It's reminiscent of firefighter calendars (hey, guys, there's your next project: a calendar).

An eclectic group of products it would seem, but they're based on what these guys love, the Pacific Northwest and camping in the woods where it's quiet and you can think and relax. They each have strengths and interests (all ten are equal partners/shareholders in the corporation), like Brian who works out constantly. He'll be the face (and body) of the athletic gear. The deer and arrows logo on the coffee reflects Shaun's sense of adventure and love of nature. The website, artwork and photography is done by Graham who also owns Brand G Creative. Every detail is carefully thought out because they're so important and meaningful.

Why this focus on doing things right? The men involved in this enterprise have all made some really poor choices in their lives and have spent years in prison. Some have come out and gone back in. A number of times. But as Brian says, "As soon as that door slides shut, you have some serious time to think about who you are. I still feel like me, but I've had people say I'm a totally different person."

 

Left to right: Josh, Shaun, Garahm, Brian, Nik

 Graham took the option of studying college level courses through a State program with Spokane Community College while in prison. He was fortunate to have someone there who saw his potential and rode him to do more and better. These are the more optimistic stories. There are others where State employees put prisoners down, take their few belongings, and almost ensure failure. And those aren't the bad stories. For these men to come out of prison, like Shaun who has been out for over a year for the first time since he was 17, and pull their lives together is remarkable. Josh, after being in prison from ages 17-28, is a married, working man with a son. Nik has a job that others had to convince him was a good thing. Out of his comfort zone, he made the leap. Five of them were able to take time to drive to Seattle to tell their story and talk about the company they've formed. "When people see how focused we are on changing our lives, they want to help. Trying to start a company or even get a checking account with our backgrounds is difficult. Wells Fargo has helped us immeasurably." A great Wells Fargo story is that they have offered to set up a conference call so everyone scattered around the state can discuss team financial. "They wanted a positive relationship with us," says Graham. "That's so meaningful."

Rezidual fx is a vinyl printing business started by Bad Boy Travis Talley in Spokane

Ultimately, they'd love to have retail coffee shops 50% staffed with ex-prisoners. "It's difficult to find work and still take time off to meet with parole officers," explains Josh. Almost all of these men are off probation. That's huge: people behave when they're on probation. Now off, they still want to do the right things in life.

What keeps them on the path to improving themselves is the company and each other. "For several of us, this is our first chance at ever owning anything or being responsible for something we've created. These are the very best guys I know. We share a passion for what we do, the chance to inspire others, a mutual love and respect for each other, and the building of a business that is the result of years of life challenges. We're one big family." They know that for the world around them to be better, they have to be better people. We could all learn something from these guys, and do it having a great cup of coffee.

Bad Boys Brands
www.badboysbrands.com

The Bad Boys are looking for someone to help build a mobile coffee bar for trade shows and street promos to use this summer. If you can help or know someone who can, please email Graham at graham@badboysbrands.com.

Connie Adams/March 2015


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