Episode 007

Coffee, Culture and Leadership with Travis Rivera (007)


December 13th, 2019

1 hr 3 mins 23 secs

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

Love coffee even more, appreciate failures, and embrace leadership through the inspiring story of Black and Brass Coffee. Know the secrets on how to establish connection and maintain a good relationship between business owners and customers in order to achieve success.

Show Highlights

2:18 (Ari)- I have some questions for you and one of them was about the decor, how that turned out to be something now that we've started talking about that lets you know, just have it out. You said you started off with very little budget and you chose that decor based on your budget which makes a lot of sense and I think it looks really nice. Actually. If you look on places like Craigslist and stuff like that you often see that people are selling furniture like that and for somewhat premium prices .....

2:56 (Travis)- Well, a lot of it was not just budget also to upcycle. So I wanted to Black and Brass was kinda founded on being ecologically friendly as well as having pretty coffee that we roast onsite...

3:38 (Ari) - Ahh you're Black and Brass coffee roaster is really awesome,
I have to say

3:43 (Ari) - Travis told me he showed me the machine while I was there. He told me that that she actually was custom-made to fall right in with the whole black and Brass name, correct?

3:50 (Travis) - Actually, the machine is the namesake. When I said it out loud when we were talking about the machine, it will you know, can it be black and brass and as soon as I said it was the name..

4:11 (Ari) - Yeah, and then also by your Countertop you also have a very interesting Decor over there as well where you have I think the Black and Bress name set up underneath that piece of glass. If I remember it correctly. You want to describe that a little bit ?

4:23 (Travis) - It's all made out of copper, pieces of copper. Years ago I used to be a smoker and when I quit I needed something tangible to kind of help me in my nicotine withdrawal.

5:24 (Ari) - When I quit smoking I actually I found these cinnamon flavored tea tree infused toothpicks. Now, I don't use them anymore. But like the first months, 3 months 6 months 12 months.

5:50 (Ari) - I checked out some of your materials on your website. You say you have a family history of coffee. Can you tell me about that?

5:54 (Travis) - Yeah, my great grandfather. Well, my grandfather came from Puerto Rico and his family were coffee growers in Puerto Rico and when my grandfather died his family members came out all but the worst my grandmother's signed over the right to family property...

7:54 (Travis) - Coffee is such an inexpensive commodity that why wouldn't you have the best?

8:06 (Travis) - Take a moment to appreciate all the things that are good and have a bit of gratitude.

8:18 (Ari) - Yeah way back when I used to live with a group of Israelis and one of the people in the house his morning ritual and I don't I've done this before and it's amazing when I do it. I don't do it all the time and I should do it more often, but he would get his drink in the morning. I don't remember if it ended up being coffee or tea or whatever it was and you would just sit down in a dark room...

9:30 (Ari) - When I was in Pennsylvania I ended up in your store and I was trying to figure out who's this guy working at the counter and it took me a little bit but I think we I don't remember if it was through conversation or through other stuff, but I realized that you were the owner of the store. Can you tell our listeners why you decided to work behind the counter that day?

10:13 (Travis) - Well, when I opened up we were open for four days a week, I was the only person on the team. I work at I searched every latte at work every cup of coffee and the three days that we are closed, I was working as a carpenter. So in those early days, I was working seven days a week still working seven days a week...

13:30 (Ari) - I recall in that conversation that we have had at your front counter that we had started talking about leadership and how leading is not forcing people to do what you want. But rather to define a vision and then helping the people around you to see your vision and joining the journey to achieve it. What are some ways that you define leadership?

13:46 (Travis) - The biggest thing is you got to help. You got to steer the ship so you've got to avoid the iceberg. But the whole time your team needs to be to be able to trust you to know that that you have their back if you're in it for yourself. You're not a leader.

15:57 (Ari) - Having spent some time at one point in my life at a store where it was difficult to say the least for people to leave there and go on to bigger and better things. I appreciate greatly the fact that you're like, you know, I want my people to be here until they can't be here anymore because they got some amazing opportunity and then I want them to be a full success, full true success.

18:38 (Travis) - There's three things that we want from the customers and not one of them is your money. We want to smile, we want a genuine thank you and we want to get it worthwhile and this is the secret, I think anybody can take this and use it for any position, any job, anywhere, anytime.

21:59 (Ari) - Out of all the leadership tools that you've been using what's one very flexible one that you found to be useful?

22:03 (Travis) - Understanding what people want and giving it to them. That's my most powerful tool. I spend a lot of time with each and every member of my team. I try and figure out what motivates them.

24:03 (Ari) - The next question I have written down is how do you create your vision with your team? But do you feel like the appreciation is very like do you have specific exercises that you do with your team to help them fall in line with your vision for where you want to go?

24:14 (Travis) - That is phenomenal question and repetition is the answer. You know you tell them, straight up. We want to build this business to a multimillion-dollar national company. Here's how we do it step by step by step and you're in this, you're part of this and you let them know and you remind and you ask them. You know, what do we stand for? What are we here for?

26:12 (Ari) - You mentioned you grew up going to Starbucks. There's other big names out there depending on what city, state, country or and you know Starbucks, Pete's Coffee, Coffee bean and others. I'm not comparing what you do to what they do. I don't think they have anything on you. But mass culture knows and loves these places. So as you start to expand and bring Black and Brass too more, Pennsylvania to Maryland to New York wherever you end up going, How do you plan to combat this mass culture?

26:45 (Travis) - As long as your focus is to add value and make the community better, adding value cultivating joy

30:48 (Ari) - The name of the podcast is Way To Greatness which talks about you know, success Etc. What's your definition of success?

30:55 (Travis) - My definition of success is being your best possible self, whatever form that takes. It doesn't stop.

32:20 (Ari) - Well, when you get to being your best possible self at one point in time, if you ever have like when you achieve a goal, let's say what do you do then? Do you actually take the time to say? Okay, I've made it over here. Let me not Coast for like let's say weeks or months or anything, but let me just appreciate the fact that I've achieved that...

32:43 (Travis) - So there's a couple of elements here. First of all, you should always experience gratitude and remind yourself even when you haven't achieved your goal, be grateful great for the journey you're on and appreciate the process enjoy the process because you know, it's in the journey that is rich and rewarding as in goals

38:45 (Ari) - I would challenge you to try and perhaps create an additional definition of success for yourself. The one that you have is great and being in constant state of growth is amazing. And that being said I would also point out that part of life is growth and I don't know if I want to use the word failure.

39:24 - (Travis) - Failure is so important

42: 20 - (Ari) - I completely understand if you don't answer it. Just let me know be honest, but answer an unasked question something that you know, no one would ever ask you and you would not usually volunteer.

43:15 (Ari) - I was taking a look through your website and you know, just looking at about looking at the information you have up and in your video which by the way is very well done. I think. You talk about Coffee Culture. And I think we touched upon this a little bit at the beginning. What is that? And what does it mean to Coffee cultures?

48:35 (Ari) - Do you find that you like the cofee or the people better?

51:42 (Ari) - Lastly I like to leave our listeners with something, you know a thought and action something that they can put into place today to make a difference in their lives. What can you offer our listeners. It could be something that you do, could be something that you thought about doing, could be a thought that you've had or something that you've been ruminating on anything that you can leave our listeners with when they listen to this podcast they can put into practice immediately and find that they noticed a difference.

52:10 (Travis) - The think that I would challenge everyone is to dream big. Set a huge goal for yourself and don't be afraid to fail. Because I would rather fail building a hundred million dollar National company than fail at building a 1 million dollar company

Originally recorded 1/8/2019