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Meet Lindsay Ries Windsor

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lindsay Ries Windsor.

Hi Lindsay, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My husband, Wade (the roaster), and I were in San Francisco working regular corporate jobs with long hours. On our honeymoon in Australia, we were asking ourselves what the rest of our life was going to look like and getting inspired by the casualness of that country. We realized we didn’t want to spend the rest of our life in cubicles and climbing corporate ladders. Wade was really into DIY at the time, like everyone back in 2009 (see reference Portlandia), meaning he was pickling, making beer, etc. We had tasted coffee roasted by our friend’s father with a Jiffy Pop popcorn maker on his stove and Wade was so excited to try it out at home. He found a coffee source called Sweet Maria’s that only sells to home roasters. The Sweet Maria’s website reads like a travel/farming/adventure log and Wade quickly linked finding good coffee to finding good surf, which is another hobby Wade is passionate about.

Meanwhile, I was on a small marketing team for a consumer electronics startup (soooooooo very SF 2009) and learning about how augmented reality was being integrated into social media was the nail in the coffin for me. Being the pragmatic Virgo, it was time I put my energy into something tangible that I could create myself. We dreamt of traveling to remote coffee farms to meet the farmers, then cutting over to the closest beach, then heading back home to serve coffee sourced directly from the farmers. Albeit naive and misunderstanding how commodity trading works, the dream was enough for us to quit our jobs and go for it. We chose Long Beach because we had friends living here and when we would visit, we could never find good coffee like you could in SF. Long Beach had all the things we needed to try out our coffee roasting/coffee shop idea…relaxed culture, music, art, close to surf and major airport (we thought we would be able to continue our world travels while starting a business…HA!!). The three biggest advantages Long Beach had for us was 1) a gapping hole in the craft coffee market, 2) rent was cheap, and 3) friends (and their friends) to be our first customers. Cut to now…married for 11.5 years, shop has been open for nine years, five employees, two kids, a house and a dog 🙂

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
No, not smooth at all! First, we have a lot of debt. Accepting that and living with that has been very hard. Last year was the first year we finally got a handle on it as the cycle of debt to borrow more to more debt was out of control. Second, in 2017 we were no longer able to roast on-site. It was a huge blow to our whole business model and operating expenses. Thirdly, it was challenging for Wade and I to figure out how to work with each other. Usually, you don’t see the professional side of your life partner. Even speaking in professional lingo in front of each other was awkward at first. Identifying boundaries and skills and priorities took many years. Staying in our own lanes was a lesson we learned the hard way.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Wade is the “coffee” and I am the “company”. Wade gets to focus on the one thing we provide…the best cup of coffee we can source, roast and serve. I focus on all operations, logistics, finances, wholesale accounts, future growth opportunities, etc. We always appreciated the business model of doing one thing really well (looking at you In and Out!) and with this division of labor, we hope to achieve that. We are very proud of the relationships we’ve created with employees (old and new), customers, partners, community members, and fellow coffee roasters/companies.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Transparency, humility, approachability, problem-solver, solution-oriented, tactful, team player, respectful, reliable, intuitive, flexible.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Sayer Danforth

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