By Brody Smith, co-founder of Kua
7.30 Friday morning
Bri and I bump out of our Maroubra Beach home. We stroll a few blocks to a 2009 Mercedes Benz Vito. It's Sandy's van, but ours for the day. We open the lockbox and climb in.
Our first stop is Neoma coffee roastery. Inside, coffee tumbles in a drum roaster. Thousands of beans crack sweet chocolate and berry scents into the air. We load 100kg of our direct-trade coffee into the van and prepare for a big day on the road.
Welcome to a day behind the scenes at Kua. We're a social enterprise inspired by new thinking. We sell coffee to offices in Sydney, but we do a few things differently:
- We source exclusively from community-positive farmer groups we have met at origin
- We use all our profits for good, to empower women through sustainable agribusiness
- We're on a mission to be planet-positive: we don't do single-use coffee bags and Kua coffee never sees landfill after use; we collect it and turn it into new things
Our stance on waste means our distribution needs are unique. Traditional freight companies don't work for us, and we need delivery and collection with a smile for our happy workplace community.
After launching Kua last year, orders fast outgrew what my 1990 Holden sedan could carry. We considered buying a company van, but financially and environmentally it didn't make sense.
We knew about Car Next Door as we had used them for weekend camping trips. Car-sharing worked great for us then, so we thought it might be the answer for Kua. And it was, in terms of our finances, operations, and values.
Like Car Next Door, we're obsessed with better using resources. A circular and shared economy is the future, and together, Kua and Car Next Door encapsulate both. In the same way we borrow Sandy's van, our customers borrow our coffee. Both have plenty of value to give after their first use!
Before sunset we return the van, a hint of fresh coffee smell lingering in the cabin. Last month, we delivered our 1000th kilogram of impact coffee, all thanks to Sandy and Car Next Door.
So, if you are wondering whether to buy a car or hire from your neighbours, we recommend the latter. Just don't count on Sandy's van being free on Fridays.