Supporting female-owned small businesses
Women-owned businesses make up roughly 11.4% of Colorado businesses
Women’s Small Business Month is a time to recognize the tremendous achievements that our country’s female entrepreneurs have made. During the month of October, people were encouraged to support female-owned businesses, and celebrate these women who have made a substantial difference in the growth of our country’s economy. Even though the month has ended, this support cannot stop. Every month we should be lifting up female business owners and making a concerted effort to support them.
Women-owned businesses make up roughly 11.4% of Colorado businesses, a percentage that is far too small, but one that I am proud to be a part of as the owner of Copper Door Coffee Roasters here in Denver.
I have always wanted to own a business in an industry that I love—for me, that’s the coffee industry. Seven years ago, I purchased the company from a neighbor who was running it as a wholesale business roasting the coffee in his garage. Today, Copper Door Coffee has three locations in Denver and has wholesale accounts around the country. As a business owner, a mother of two children, and a former literature professor, I want to show other women that we can do more than we think when balancing parenting and work – especially when it is our passion.
As one of Denver’s 100% female-owned coffee companies, we try our best to support other female business owners by purchasing a majority of our coffee from other women producers both locally and around the world. Our customers purchase coffee from us because they not only want exceptional coffee, but they also want to support other women-owned businesses.
This cause is especially important to us throughout the pandemic. Our local community has helped keep us alive and thriving, but in April and May, our business took a sharp hit and we lost up to 70% of our sales due to closures. Given the environment, we really had to start investing more in our online presence in order to continue keeping our community engaged when they could no longer sit down and linger at our coffee shop like they used to. The pandemic really pushed us to build our online presence and social media has been monumental in our comeback this year.
We enhanced our website and began offering pick-up and delivery options. The Facebook Shops tool has also been a surprisingly easy way to sell our coffee directly to our existing fan base and reach new followers. All of our coffees are sold on the Shops tab, ranging from the Ethiopia Gedeb roast and our Four Sisters Espresso, to the River Rock blend.
With over 2,300 followers, this Facebook tool allows our customers to choose how large of a coffee bag they would like, whether they would like whole or ground beans, and they are also able to see what flavors are in each coffee, all on the platform. These online sales have helped us survive COVID and we were still able to open a new cafe next to Denver’s Botanical Gardens, which had been in the works for over a year and will help offset the revenue lost for a quarter of the year. This hybrid business model of brick and mortar and online sales will continue for us in years to come.
Owning a women-owned business faces many challenges in itself, let alone also going through a global pandemic, so we appreciate our customers who continue to visit and support us. Like others, our business is helping break down gender barriers in our industry, with every purchase going towards the 15 wonderful employees in our shops, as well as supporting the many female-owned businesses that we buy our products from.
There are amazing women all over the world that are crushing stereotypes and making instrumental breakthroughs in all industries, allowing there to be a better future for women to come. What can you do to contribute to this movement? Support women-owned businesses with your buying power and with your voices. We are proud to not only introduce more women into the coffee industry, but to also support strong women and help lift up others.
Hannah Ulbrich is the Owner of Copper Door Coffee Roasters.