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Inspiring Conversations with Natalie Webb of Cafecita

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Webb.

Hi Natalie, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’m a native Angeleno, I grew up in Mar Vista until I was 18 when I took off for what I thought would be one year of working and traveling abroad.

15 years, 70+ countries (including living in 9), and 10 years working as a human rights lawyer later, I moved back to LA to start a social enterprise that combined my passions for coffee and social justice.

The result is Cafecita, a specialty coffee roaster based in Culver City. We source exclusively from sustainable women-owned coffee farms and co-ops, and a percentage of every sale goes to supporting women’s nonprofits around the world. All our coffees are single origin, grown using regenerative agricultural practices, and freshly roasted each week using 100% renewable energy.

Being one of the only women-owned roasters in Los Angeles, and the only one focused on women’s empowerment, we hit the ground running when we launched in 2020. We started as e-commerce, quickly moved into corporate gifting and wholesale, partnered with some incredible restaurants, including being offered at all Poquito Mas locations in Southern California, and will be opening our own physical locations this year.

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?
Haha no. Small business life is hard. I bootstrapped Cafecita using my own savings from working as a nonprofit lawyer. All profits were reinvested into the company to allow it to grow. Thankfully Cafecita became profitable quickly and has continued to grow, however trying to compete with coffee companies with wealthy investors, well-resourced teams, and huge marketing budgets is very hard. Small business life is all-consuming and it’s a struggle, both financially and mentally, to make it through the first few years. It will absolutely test you.

As you know, we’re big fans of Cafecita. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Cafecita is about uplifting communities and bringing people together. We source exclusively from sustainable women-owned coffee farms and co-ops, and a percentage of every sale goes to supporting women’s nonprofits around the world.

We focus on women in coffee because although women make up about 70% of the manual labor on coffee farms, they’re far less represented in ownership or any type of leadership position. Only 5-20% of coffee farms around the world are owned by women, and even when women do own the land and the farm, they receive far less money for their coffee. This disparity continues all the way up the supply chain to your local roaster. In the United States, 75.8% of coffee roasters are men. And no surprise, in the US women roasters earn 84¢ for every $1 earned by male roasters.

The UN has found “just giving women the same access as men to agricultural resources could increase production on women’s farms in developing countries by 20 to 30 percent. This could raise total agricultural production in developing countries by 2.5 to 4 percent, which could, in turn, reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12 to 17 percent, or 100 to 150 million people.” Just providing the SAME access to agricultural resources, not even more, would reduce world hunger by 12-17%!

When Cafecita launched we were the only roaster in the country sourcing exclusively from women-owned farms. We partner specifically with women producers to provide market access, ensure our producers receive their fair share of the profits, and that gender equality is respected at every stage of production. This empowerment leads to better outcomes for families and communities, and the beans consistently score higher in quality.

Cafecita is very fortunate to be part of the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI). With LACI’s support, we’re working to open our own physical locations this year which will continue to promote sustainability and women’s empowerment throughout Los Angeles.

How do you think about happiness?
Slow mornings drinking strong coffee, listening to music, and setting intentions for the day.

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