What’s your life motto?
Think Big. About seven years ago I left my job in the Police and decided to book a last-minute trip to Mexico, to get some thinking time. I was longing for inspiration and redirection and Think Big was the first piece of advice given to me on this adventure by the passenger sat next to me on my flight out of London. “Think Big. Don’t shortchange yourself. Life’s to short”.
My interpretation of ‘Think Big’ has nothing to do with wealth or status. Rather, it’s an attitude that I try to foster when planning how to have the greatest impact on things that matter most to me. In the case of Blue Bear Coffee, how can we impact the fight to end human trafficking? ‘Think Big’.
What have you learnt so far?
I have been amazed by the impact of an individual. Our mission at Blue Bear Coffee Co. is to see an end to human trafficking and modern slavery. When you look at the stats and see that today there are estimated to be over 40 million people living in slavery, it is tempting to feel that the task is too great. To question the reality of your mission. To doubt yourself. To imagine that real change can only be influenced by government or big business. But I’ve learnt, time and time again, that it often only takes one person to stand up for the cause they believe in and create a splash. The consequential ripple effect can be staggering and history has shown us this again and again; Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Greta Thunberg…individuals with authentic and unquestionable passion create change. It can simply be that person at work who decides it’s not ok that the office doesn’t recycle or a lady on a bus who refused to give up her seat because of her ethnicity, regardless of the cost. It all starts with one person acting on their conviction.
Where is your favourite place to walk?
I am currently locked-down on the North Norfolk coast in a friend’s holiday apartment. Every morning, before breakfast, I go for a walk along the beach and it’s never looked the same twice. I love it.
Name your three favourite words?
Faith. Hope. Love. And the greatest of these is Love.
Can you describe your workplace?
Well, my workplace remains in flux and has done for a long time. I operate Blue Bear Coffee Co. remotely, so, in theory, all I need is a Wi-Fi connection. We use our profits to support established and effective organisations fighting human trafficking and caring for survivors, so in order to maximise our giving, we run as lean a machine as possible, which means I don’t get paid. I earn my living as a security consultant, which means my office has sometimes been in posh hotels and on private jets, it’s also been in hospital corridors and car parks. More recently it’s been on the living room sofa with plenty of coffee and biscuits.
What is your favourite food?
Chicken Fajitas, corn on the cob, nachos covered in salsa and cheese, all washed down with a Cuba Libre (dark rum, coke, lime) - perfecto!
What can you not live without?
What is the last thing you bought?
A jar of Nutella.
What advice would you give to the younger generation?
Don’t wait. Don’t be too preoccupied by your youth and the need to get educated and qualified before you can start. You may already know what you’re passionate about, so get at it now. Look at how you can impact the cause, the mission, the thing that you most believe in, where you are and with the gifts and abilities you already have. Start now.
Today, (as I write this) it was announced that we (Blue Bear) have been shortlisted for the Thomson Reuters Foundation Stop Slavery Award. This is a big deal for us. Blue Bear was an idea I had for using a business model to address a humanitarian issue. To take a product we all know and love and to use every element of it, from bean to cup, to combat the issue of slavery. Last year our sales grew by over 300% and today’s announcement comes as such a huge encouragement. The concept is working, and more and more people are choosing freedom, by buying Blue Bear Coffee.
We’re just about to introduce a new subscription service to take the hassle away for our regular customers. We’re also launching a new Coffee Club, when we’ll be sending out a different specialty coffee each month, sourced from independent farmers around the coffee belt, from Tanzania to Peru, Vietnam to Costa Rica. Exciting times! We’re also soooo keen to get out and about, and as soon as Covid restrictions allow, we’ll be keen to take Blue Bear on the road and visit some of our customer’s hometowns, up and down the country.