Second Post: Meet Our Founder
My name is Savannah Case, and I am the founder of Prosper Coffee Co.. I began this journey last July, and I can't wait to share this wonderful experience with all of you. The number one question I always get asked is, "How did you even start Prosper Coffee?" My answer is always the same: hard fricken work.
Okay let’s start from the beginning. I got hired at Dutch Brothers Coffee the day I turned sixteen. I was this little, blonde, 105 pound, teenage girl ready to take on this coffee world. At first, I was probably the slowest barista in the whole entire coffee stand. I got stressed out, cried a couple of times, and could barley remember the recipes. I wasn't the fastest, but I really felt a passion for the coffee. I saw how a simple cup could brighten someones day-- even week. I continued my barista adventures for four years, and yet I am still pursuing a career in the industry. I guess I really must love this coffee stuff.
After my four years of putting ice in lattes and steaming milk for a dry cappachino, I decided to call it quits. My last job as a barista was my sophomore year in college at Starbucks. However, the endless barista jobs may have not been what prompted me to continue a career in the industry. What really pushed me to start was my fascination with the business world. I have always been inspired by education and business ventures.
My freshman year at Azusa Pacific University, I got involved in Entrepreneurship classes. The summer of my freshman year, my entrepreneurship professor nominated me to attend the Praxis Academy Entrepreneurship Conference held in Los Angels, CA. I felt unexperienced, young, and incompetent; but, my professor saw something in me. It was Tom Buckles that made me feel like I could be something! I remember telling people that I was going to start a coffee shop; however, I didn't have any money for a brick and mortar, so I pivoted and thought, "Why not start a cold brew coffee company?”
At that time, I was going through my first hard break up-- my eyes were swollen for weeks and my heart was broken. That entrepreneurship conference was just what I needed. My aunt suggested that I make a bucket list with everything that I could possibly want to do, that's how she got over her first heart break. One of the top things on that list was: to start a coffee company. I didn't know how I was going to launch it, but I sure knew that I would figure it out. I mean, it was on my bucket list!
Fast forward to my sophomore year in college, and I decided to participate in a pitch incubator. The preparation work for this incubator was over 20 hours per week. I remember going into the business building at 12:00 at night, shutting all the doors and plastering sticky notes with my ideas all over the walls. I had to think of innovative ways to make my cold brew coffee stand out. I had to prove to the investors that I could really make this happen. I would stay up way too late making powerpoint presentations, figuring out all of my costs and financial projections, and better my public speaking skills. This was not easy work, but it actually prepared me for the launch of Prosper this May 2018.
That competition may have been the most terrifying moment of my whole life. I pitched to investors and about 30 other people in the room. My first time pitching was quite a disaster. One of the investors actually made a comment and said I looked like the dog from "Up" chasing his tail. I was pacing on the stage-- I guess a lot. I pitched at least 5 times, so by the end I had the whole pitch memorized. I mean I definitely should still have it memorized, considering that I practiced at least 1000 times (not joking). I did not get any seed funding, but this didn't stop me! I also got one of the best networking connections possible. I found my bottle supplier through one of the investors/judges of the competition. If it were not for this connection, my startup expenses would have been through the roof expensive.
In the summer of 2018, I participated in another incubator. I was part of the ACU Startup Madness pitch competition, and guess what? I GOT FUNDED. I placed in the top 4 out of 32 teams. If it were not for this funding, I don't know how I would have paid for my inventory costs. Thank you ACU! I am now doing everything by myself. I pick up the coffee, brew it, bottle it, stick on the stickers, and deliver it myself. As of right now, I don't have any employees, but I will soon! We are expanding quick; it's quite exciting, actually. Right now we sell in 3 New Seasons, John's Marketplace, Cherry Sprout, Barley & Vine Tavern, and two Farmers Markets.
BAM, that's how I began. I cannot wait to tell more stories.
I love you guys!
Savannah Case-- CEO & Founder