There's Edgeryders powered coffee from Nepal now – design ideas anyone?

Matthias's picture

As one of the first new endeavours Edgeryders is contributing to in 2017, yesterday we launched a marketplace with six smallholder farmers from upper Gorkha, Nepal, selling their coffee beans to European customers. (The marketplace is epelia.com, and for more information see the official project blog.)

The idea is to pioneer "globalization done right": leaving out trade middlemen creates a novel, P2P way of economic development. No donations needed, just paying normal market prices while farmers (in this case here) will get more than double for their coffee beans. For them, coffee suddenly becomes an economic opportunity. "Our" six farmers explain a bit more about their current difficulties with coffee farming in this beautiful mini documentary that Eva, Matjaz and @Dipti Sherchan shot for this project in Hansapur in early December:

Edgeryders LbG funded the setup of this first "direct trade hub" in Hansapur, Nepal, and that's why there is "Edgeryders powered" coffee now :-) If anyone here wants to try their hands on the product packaging for this, you are very welcome. Here's the list of must-have and nice-to-have requirements (off the top of my head, might change a bit lateron still):

  • Style: just like the video, the charme of this product is its down-to-earth simplicity and authenticity. So, no high-gloss expensive packaging of course.
  • Packaging material: A brown food-grade paper bag as used for grains etc. is our preferred backaging option for now. Eco-friendly, down-to-earth and cheap. (Green coffee beans do not need anything more fancy: no vacuum packaging etc. since the coffee is not roasted yet, so no aroma to deteriorate by oxygen contact.)
  • Label: The bag would get a sticker applied to it – which would be the main part to be designed (apart from selecting the exact bag and designing ways to close it etc. of course, if you like to dive into this).
  • The "brand" is always the name of the farmer, as seen in the shop names on epelia.com. So we have six different brands. If the label could be made in a way that (say) 4 of them are delivered on an A4 sheet and we can print in the different "brand names" by running these sheets through a black-and-white laser printer, it would be perfect. Means, if all the parts that differ between different sellers are black and white, it would be perfect.
  • Logos: The farmers are the ones selling this (it's "their product"), so both the Fairdirect and Edgeryders organizations can "only" appear in a supporter / enabler role on the label, not as manufacturer. For example, put both their labels somewhere with a "Brought to you by:" or "Supporting organizations:" line or similar.
  • There is a "Product Fairness Level" indicator that is a main part of this sales system. It's (for now) always the second product photo (for example here). That kind of thing incl. the QR code should be part of the label, but it may be redesigned.
  • The usual, legally required product information on the label is:
    • Contents: 500 g
    • Ingredients: coffee beans (unroasted)
    • Best before: [some free space for printing a date with the laser printer]

All that said, please don't feel restricted by the above. Outlandish proposals and ideas are very welcome :-)

like1

Comments

Got high resolution photos + names of the smiling farmers?

Nadia's picture

and of the fair-direct logo?

Would like to experiment and I think we might be able to involve our design students in this.

 

like0

Yes sure

Matthias's picture

@Nadia , I added all of these files to the Fairdirect Nepal Google Drive folder now. (The photos are still uploading, only some are there already.)

Photos have the farmers' names in the filename, so it should be simple to connect them to the shops on epelia.com, which are also simply named after the farmers.

like1

Made a flyer to ask the internet :)

Nadia's picture

How do we build a coffee brand

like2

Kudos

Alex Levene's picture

I think this is an absolutey briiant idea. Is it scalable? I've just come back from 3 months in Southern Ethiopia. There are a lot of coffee farmers working in the forest nearby. I don't know what their market rate is but i brought back 2kg of green coffee beans from the trip and the cost from the local shop was 200Birr (about 7Euros). Doing business in Ethiopia isn't easy, and internet access is limited, but i do know a few people out there who might be able to help navigate the paper bureaucracy nightmare of government.

Also happy to have a look at design options. Will get my PC out of store and sit down at the weekend, maybe create a couple of options (if nothing else you could use them to illustrate possible requirements) @Nadia i do like the idea of getting design students onto this as well, is there an obvious partner?

like1

On scaling direct trade

Matthias's picture

Thank you for the nice words, @Alex Levene . Ethiopia sounds very interesting (also that you are already so well connected there … Edgeryders is such a diverse thing it's hard to believe). This scheme could work there for sure, and we'd be happy to provide all the knowledge we gathered so far (for importing cofee into EU etc.), and of course the epelia.com marketplace, in case you decide at any time to start this scheme there.

However it needs quite a commitment (assume at least 2 months full-time) and dependable partners at the location to figure out all the details for direct trade with a new country and to get the first farmers started with the system. So … I think the system can scale / spread to include many other locations, but it's a bit of a challenge with every new place. Also for now, it will not work without going there physically, doing interviews with the individual farmers, taking good pictures and videos of them. Replacing that with "partner organizations" just won't work, as potential buyers in Europe are weary of the internal losses, inefficiencies and intransparency of big, layered organizational fair trade schemes.

On scaling in volume: that is simpler, and the system works better the more volume it can manage. For example right now, air cargo was the only meaningful option for the start for getting the coffee from Nepal. It's of course nonsense in every environmental aspect. With more volume, we can pioneer LCL loads in ISO cointainers going regularly from China to Europe by train now. But nobody has organized that kind of thing in Nepal so far, so we need a bit more trade volume / resources to pioneer it …

like0

Needs to be sexy/clean

Nadia's picture

I came across this and feel it's much closer to the esthetic I would choose than the traditional one. If nothing else because it would really stick out and you could build a whole merchandising sales thing around it http://visualjournal.it/mixmax/

like1

I think you're right about a minimalist design

Matthias's picture

Because the interesting thing is that a minimalist design can be seen from two perspectives: it's at the same time simple and very contemporary / "cool". And it has to be both. Simple to express the origins of the products in authentic ways (a rural, friendly, stunning but also backwards place). And contemporary to be sellable.

The problem is, I think, finding the right balance. To understand what I mean, you'd have to read a bit into this book: "From Modern Production to Imagined Primitive: The Social World of Coffee from Papua New Guinea". Eva found it, and it an interesting anthropoloical account of how (in the case of Papua) a fictional story is told to consumers, through packaging and all, about exotic coffee grown by "savages" in the jungle. So @Nadia , I really like your idea to go for a minimal design because it can make the product look both authentic and sellable. Can't say more atm without seeing something in front of me, as I'm everything but not a designer, and that with a limited imagination :P

Also, solely for inspiration purposes, I recently came across this packaging by a somewhat similar organization (but selling only inside Nepal). Kind of an unintentional cross between the "minimalist" and "homegrown" genres.

(Side note: Micha, who made the first Fairdirect logo with the two hands, suggested that we're also open to logo redesign proposals from your design students. It does not have to stay like it is if somebody more competent has a good design idea and that idea involves a different logo.)

like0

Recent site activity

Nadia's picture

Nadia has updated the OpenVillage Festival | Registration and Tickets wiki page in the OpenVillage group

Mon, 24/04/2017 - 10:02

Nadia's picture

Nadia has updated the OpenVillage Festival | Registration and Tickets wiki page in the OpenVillage group

Mon, 24/04/2017 - 09:59

Nadia's picture

Nadia has updated the OpenVillage Festival | Registration and Tickets wiki page in the OpenVillage group

Mon, 24/04/2017 - 09:44

Nadia's picture

Nadia has updated the OpenVillage Festival | Registration and Tickets wiki page in the OpenVillage group

Mon, 24/04/2017 - 09:32
Mon, 24/04/2017 - 08:07