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Small Business Series No. 18: Mariposa Coffee Roastery

Today I want to share with you a company that I think is absolutely the bee’s knees. I got to spend a afternoon with Daniel and Amyie Kao of Mariposa Coffee Roastery as they did a coffee cupping session (for quality control) and it was amazing! Honestly I’m not a huge coffee drinker (be known that this post is from Ely, not Ryan– he is a huge coffee lover) but hearing their story and passion for a quality product was inspiring. But even beyond that, the heart behind their product is to have a socially minded company that has a positive global impact and social justice. A portion of Mariposa’s proceeds go to partnering with Water4 to help give people access to clean water, specifically in the regions that their coffee beans are grown. Amyie recently gave a Ted talk and one of my favorite things that she said was “local actions can have a global impact.” I love this way of thinking, and I love Mariposa’s goal, in their words, “to honor the hard work that is poured into every every single coffee bean that’s gone before us.”

Mariposa Coffee | Small Business Series | Ely Fair Photography Mariposa Coffee | Small Business Series | Ely Fair Photography

Name: Daniel and Amyie Kao

Business Name:  Mariposa Coffee Roastery

Website: www.mariposacoffeeroastery.com

Favorite Dessert:
Amyie: Depends on the season and the occasion, maybe a meyer lemon sorbet during the summer and creme brûlée in the winter

Daniel: Homemade Chinese Egg Tart. Brings me back to the memories of my childhood.

Favorite Artist/Album:
Amyie: This one is tough—all time favorite? I’d say “Winter Trees” by the Staves? Since it’s the holidays maybe a compilation of She and Him and Sufjan Stevens.

Daniel: Never thought I’d say it, Elton John. His Tumbleweed Connection album, definitely an all-time classic.

When did you start your business? 2009

What inspired you to start it?
It was serendipitous, really.  Daniel was fascinated with how far each bean traveled, the transformation of taste during roasting, and the endless tinkering that came with crafting specialty coffee.

We were just two broke college students, really. He didn’t have money for an actual roaster so he used an old-fashioned popcorn popper and later built one from a barbecue grill. In the beginning, we planned to use our passion for coffee to fight injustice and both ended up falling in love with the very art of craft coffee. Plus, we discovered that there is much injustice that is tied to specialty coffee alone. So we are focused on doing life as responsibly as possible. We’ve just sold our house and have gone back to renting and our hope is to do business as responsibly as possible and stay true.

We are dedicated to supporting our local and global community as well as crafting the perfect cup for each person we serve.

One of the things that I love most about Mariposa is its social consciousness. Can you speak a little on what things you do to make sure that your company is having a positive global impact?
In the beginning we rotated different causes and then we realized that there was so much unmet social responsibility within our own industry. We were shocked to find that our number 1 ingredient and the very tool we use to curate the very best handpicked coffees (in the world!) were often not available to the very people picking coffee cherries and I think we were heart broken. So ever since we discovered the overlap between economic water scarcity and coffee growing regions, we haven’t stopped advocating and saving funds to build wells. We’re a tiny operation and so we’ve only managed to put one well in but are working towards our second in Rwanda. Here’s a link to some pictures and videos:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.618903774788220.1073741824.117870724891530&type=3
and some blog posts:
http://mariposacoffeeroastery.com/blog/2014/3/13/more-than-a-beverage
http://mariposacoffeeroastery.com/blog/2013/8/17/coffee-with-a-conscience
http://mariposacoffeeroastery.com/blog/2013/8/16/community-passion-justice

What would you say was your biggest challenge to overcome?
Financial resources and space.

Our parents came to this country with nothing of their own (Amyie’s parents were refugees) and we do not have the wealth or space to slowly renovate.  We have dreams of cultivating a enchanting cafe but will have to grow slow and roll with our coffee trailer for now.

Who/what was your biggest encouragement and why?
When people from our very own community and those who we do not know but enjoy our coffee become advocates of the way we craft our beans and do life—when they catch our vision and become advocates of Mariposa.

What is your favorite part of your business:
For us, coffee is more than a beverage. Endless hours of labor and sweat are poured into the cultivation, harvest, and processing of each coffee bean. Then these beans travel millions of miles before even reaching us. Locked within each bean, are delicate flavors and aromas waiting to be released. We hand craft each small batch with the hope of honoring all the hard work that preceded us.

As craft roasters, we value the art of coffee and are fascinated with curating each coffee through a variety of brew methods. We love how the same coffee can illicit memories and inspire creativity. We love that a single origin coffee can be so different from season to season. The terroir of the coffee: soil quality, altitude of growth, origin, and roasting technique can all bring out the finer details of flavors hidden within a coffee bean.

If you had advice to anyone who might be starting a business like yours?
Carve out time for rest, and enjoy the everyday adventures living life! (Amyie)

I’m (Daniel) going to get sappy. You will never truly know how passionate you are about something unless you sacrifice every ambition to run after it. This may sound intense but I look back at our ambitions, and all of them have been shelved for Mariposa. Was it worth it? Absolutely, it’s made us know better who we are as people. It’s necessary to have a life outside of business and intentionally have relationships in your life other than those tied to the business. For me, when I leave the roastery, the work will be there the next day. That’s not necessarily so for people – particularly my family. We all age and we’ll miss out on moments of our children growing up. Will my work be there every Christmas and holiday the same way families enjoy each other? The answer is obviously no, so it’s a necessity for me to cherish every moment with my wife and child(ren).

Anything else about your small business that you’re passionate about?
Enjoying coffee is in many ways, a universal experience. It wakes us up on weary mornings, transforms the atmosphere of gatherings and, warms us on chilly days. There’s something magical about stories shared over coffee and the traditions that include it. We believe coffee is a key component in building community and encouraging creativity.  We love identifying the roast profile of each coffee and highlighting taste notes that spotlight its origins. When these delicate notes reach our palate they get us going. I think I can go on and on, but, it truly warms our hearts when our coffee becomes part of those storied traditions and gatherings.

Mariposa Coffee | Small Business Series | Ely Fair Photography Mariposa Coffee | Small Business Series | Ely Fair Photography Mariposa Coffee | Small Business Series | Ely Fair Photography

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Thank you so much Daniel & Amyie for being a part of the series. Your small business reminds me of the way little things can create an impact if you step back and look at the big picture.

So if you guys love good coffee, good people, and doing good things for others check out Mariposa’s website to purchase beans for your own brewing, or you can find them at Bleu Garten through the holiday season (see schedule here) and say hi to the Kao’s for me! Also, check out Amyie’s Ted talk, it really is inspiring.

We hope that this SBS post has inspired you to remember not only to give to your friends and family this holiday season, but also extend your heart and reach to those that could use a blessing. To give directly to those who need clean water, check out Water4 based out of OKC, or Second Mile Water who are dear friends of ours who are doing great things. Some other places to think about giving or volunteering are the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the City Rescue Mission, United Way and so many more. If you guys have more ideas please feel free to post in the comments!

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Travels with Ely Fair: Paris

Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer

Paris. Oh Paris. How I love thee. So on our UK trip I weaseled my way into a quick trip over to Paris. We were there for an evening, one full day, and then a morning. And of course it actually ended up being our favorite place to visit on the whole trip! But because we were there for such a limited time we opted not to do any tours or museums, just took in the beauty of the city around us. And ate Macarons of course.

Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer
Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer
Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer
Briezh Cafe was amazing. In Paris we were fortunate because Lori & Sam (Ryan’s Sis and her hubby, pictured above In the photo not of Ely. Duh.) had visited Paris on their honeymoon, so they already had some great spots picked out to eat. Briezh was their favorite Crepe place from their trip, and now I will go eat there every single time I go to Paris.
Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer
Paris Travel Tips from a PhotographerParis Travel Tips from a Photographer
Paris Travel Tips from a PhotographerParis Travel Tips from a Photographer
Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer Paris Travel Tips from a Photographer
Above: Excellent example of why you don’t receive every single one of your images taken at your session. Because sometimes you look like this. Also, these are the faces we use when trying to explain how to use the camera. Get excited all of you who have signed up for our photography classes!
Paris Travel Tips from a PhotographerParis Travel Tips from a PhotographerParis Travel Tips from a Photographer

Paris Travel Tips
Since we were in Paris for such a short period of time, I don’t have a ton of advice to share, but here’s what I’ve got plus some from additions from family friends who love Paris:

  • Eat every piece of bread you see. This is my best advice.
  • If you are taking the Chunnel from London, buy your tickets far in advance because you will save some money. Non weekend days are also cheaper.
  • Go to the Ile St Louis – behind Notre Dame, little island – at night for dinner, in the day for ice cream at Berthillon. Look for “Berthillon vende ici” signs at restaurants all over the city.
  • Orangerie – museum at Place de la Concorde. It is small and they have the Monet paintings that are in the round and were painted specially for the building. We didn’t make it there, but several people told me it was nice.
  • Galeries Lafayette is the worlds best shopping. Go there to fawn over the stuff. Drink champagne at the champagne bar.
  • Check out a bookstore near Notre Dame called Shakespeare and Company, we hear it is amazing.

Paris Yays

  • Notre Dame- So lovely. If you have the physical ability to go up lots of stairs, make time to walk to the bell tower. We didn’t have the time and I was sad we missed out.
  • As mentioned before, Briezh Cafe was wonderful for crepes. We did a savory and a sweet. The caramel sauce was fantastic. They get busy fast, so make a reservation or be prepared for a wait.
  • The Metro was awesome and easy to use. Check on the hours, they stop at some point in the night and we almost didn’t make it back to our hotel. I was told that they have a good Uber system in the city though, so that’s always an option.
  • Boullion Racine (3 Rue Racine, 75006) Three words: Crème. Brûlée. Waffle. With a beautiful Art Nouveau restaurant to house the Crème brûlée Waffle.
  • Ladurée for Macarons just makes you feel special. And for a graphic design nerd like me, the packaging and branding of the shop make my heart happy.
  • First place in the world I have ever been where every single person said my name correctly. Thank you France.

Paris Nays

  • We didn’t stay long enough. A day and a half just isn’t enough time, we would have loved to go to the museum and explore the city and make the trip out to Versailles.

If anyone has ever visited Paris, please feel free to add your own advice and favorites in the comments! They will be appreciated for when we go back!

Next stop: The Cotswolds

 

 

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Kate & Randy’s Beaver’s Bend Wedding

 

Ely Fair Photography | Forrest Wedding | Beaver's Bend, Oklahoma | Nature House
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Randy & Kate’s wedding day was overcast with the hint of rain in the air, much like this morning in Oklahoma. It was, however, anything but gloomy. So much love and effort and hand crafting was put into the wedding by Kate & Randy, I think it held off the showers.

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Venue: Nature House, Beavers Bend
Photographers: Ely Fair Photography
Dress: J.Crew
Felt Flower Bouquets, Decor & Invitations: Handmade by the Bride

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Family

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Weekend Favorite

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Small Business Series No. 17: Sara Kate Studios

 

Sara Kate Studios | Ely Fair Small Business Series

So I don’t know if I’ve shared this on the blog before (probably because it’s a big commitment!) but part of my hopes for the Small Business Series is that every 5 years I can check in with my features to see how they are all doing, how their busiensses have changed and where they are at that time. So there, I’ve said it, now you can hold me to it.

The reason I mention it is that today is because with Sara Kate Studios I have already had the pleasure to see how Sara Kate’s business has grown and changed since first meeting her! Just over a year ago we were tucked away in a corner booth at Kitchen 324 talking about where she wanted to go with SKS, and since then her business and passion grew into realitiy from an in-home business to a brick and mortar shop on Automobile Alley! It’s been fun to watch her passion turn into something that she can share with all of OKC in a tangible way. I am looking forward to seeing where she is again in 5. :-)

Sara Kate Studios | Ely Fair Small Business SeriesSara Kate Studios | Ely Fair Small Business Series

Name: Sara Kate Huff

Business Name: Sara Kate Studios   

Website: www.sarakatestudios.com

Favorite Dessert:
Crème brûlée or a rose macaroon. I don’t believe I could choose between the two.

Favorite Artist/Album:
Ella Fitzgerald. I started listening to her in college and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

Tell me a little bit about your business:
My business is about creating a beautiful life with a story – it is part retail and part consulting. The retail component has been around for a few years but just grew into a brick and mortar in the last few months. The shop is full of vintage items and unique finds that make a home feel special and thoughtful… I like to think of the vintage pieces as heirlooms from a stranger. In addition to that I have a growing studio where we consult on interiors projects and for a few companies giving them creative direction. My day-to-day varies immensely from building something in the workshop, to roaming in search of pieces for projects, to meetings going over floor plans, and packaging shipments for the online shop – there are days when I feel like I’m leisurely juggling and others where I feel like I’ve been asked to pull a rabbit out of a hat. To be quite honest, the past six months have been the most vulnerable, although exciting, of my career.

“Design is a function of connection… there is nothing more vulnerable than creativity and what is art if it is not love?” – Brene Brown

What inspired you to start your business?
Honestly? One part panic and two parts necessity – I had graduated college and knew that what I wanted to create didn’t quite exist yet in Oklahoma City. I was trained and interested in interiors and wanted to work with an emphasis on antiques and vintage.

What would you say was your biggest challenge to overcome?
Everyone’s input and critiques. I think the first year was the hardest because I myself was unsure if it would work. Going freelance isn’t for the faint of heart and I have such respect for anyone who dares to try it.

Who/what was your biggest encouragement and why?
It’s impossible to choose one, so I would just say that my kindred spirits were my biggest encouragement. I have met so many lovely people over the years that are eager to connect and encourage other people’s creative endeavors. There are different people in varying degrees that have made the celebrations so much sweeter and the hard days lighter – I hope to mimic that in the same way that I have so graciously received it.

What is your favorite part of your business:
Goodness. It is difficult to choose one favorite part but could probably narrow it down to two. First, I live for the feeling of that great “find” and reimagining it for a modern customer. Secondly, I adore placing a great piece with a client and, if possible, arranging it for them… There is something so fun about placing an item and feeling like it is going to the home it was intended to go to.

If you had advice to anyone who might be starting a business like yours?
Take courage, dear heart. Jumping out and doing your own thing is such a vulnerable and courageous thing to do. Surround yourself with amazing people who will cheer you on during the days you say “I don’t know what I’m doing”… That is part of creating something from nothing, and as exciting as some of your days will be you will also have those hard ones mixed in.

Anything else about your small business that you’re passionate about?
Connecting with people and helping to create their home. Home is such an intimate and powerful place that is full of memories and moments – being able to learn about someone’s prized heirlooms and their family life comes with the territory and I feel so lucky to play a part.

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Thanks so much Sara Kate for being a part of the series, your shop and dream is lovely!

In addition to her beautiful shop that I want to buy everything, SKS is also joining up with Dutch (another one of our Small Business Series contributors!) for the OKC Popups (organized on by ANOTHER one of our Small Business contributors Allison Barta Bailey) at the end of the month. SO MANY SMALL BUSINESS IN ONE PLACE, I LOVE SMALL BUSINESSES, SMALL BUSINESSES UNITE! This makes me so happy.

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Windy City Family Session

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Jackie & Tim’s Elegant Philbrook Wedding

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Venue: Philbrook Museum of Art
Photographers: Ely Fair Photography
Florals: French Bouquet
Band: Dave & the Wavetones
Make Up: Ashlee Bivins
Hair: Heather Valentine
Wedding Dress Designer: Pronovia

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Sarah & Hunter’s Patriot Golf Course Wedding

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Venue: Patriot Golf Course
Event Design & Florals: Mom & Me Events
Invitation Suite: Cassie Drake
Hair: Breanna Ybarra

 

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