Episode Thumbnail
Episode 18  |  01:05:31 hours

S2:EP18 - Adam Bossie, Building A Brand With A Story

Episode 18  |  01:05:31 hours  |  02.17.2021

S2:EP18 - Adam Bossie, Building A Brand With A Story

This is a podcast episode titled, S2:EP18 - Adam Bossie, Building A Brand With A Story. The summary for this episode is: <p>In this episode, I interview Adam Bossie, CEO of the Afficionado Coffee Roasters. In the next 60 minutes, we dive into building a brand with a story, growing a team of excited employees, and his learnings as he explores more digital strategies for his business.</p>
Takeaway 1 | 01:12 MIN
Product transparency
Takeaway 2 | 01:03 MIN
The Hospitality Industry Ecosystem
Takeaway 3 | 01:47 MIN
Differentiating Your Product
Takeaway 4 | 00:51 MIN
Taking time to go-to-market

In this episode, I interview Adam Bossie, CEO of the Afficionado Coffee Roasters.

Adam started Afficionado Coffee Roasters in 2008 and has been on a mission to grow the business year after year since. As of today, it is one of the most respected coffee purveyor's among many of the top New York City restaurants and businesses like Instagram.

In the next 60 minutes, we dive into building a brand with a story, growing a team of excited employees, and his learnings as he explores more digital strategies for his business.

Guest Thumbnail
Adam Bossie
CEO of Afficionado Coffee Instagram

Brett Linkletter: In this episode, I interview Adam Bossie the CEO and Co- Founder of Afficionado Coffee. Adam launched Afficionado back in 2008 and has been on a mission to grow the business year over year since. As of today, Afficionado is one of the most respected coffee purveyors around the choice of many of New York City's top restaurants as well as big time businesses like Instagram. Adam left a solid career in finance to pursue his coffee company and couldn't be happier about his decision. Starting a brand with little experience in this industry and with zero in investment dollars was tough, but he says he's enjoyed every single step along the way growing his business. Adam's close relationships with coffee purveyors in Central and South America as well as Africa have allowed his team to develop a variety of unique coffee products for both wholesale and retail markets. And as the pandemic hit, he began allocating more resources toward hitting a direct- to- consumer market. We discussed many topics from building a brand with a story, growing a team of excited employees, how traveling inspires him and his business plans and his learnings as he explores more of a digital strategy for his brand. So, let's dive in. Hi, my name is Brett Linkletter, CEO and Founder of Misfit Media, the best damn restaurant marketing agency on the planet. Here at Misfit, we help restaurant owners grow and scale their business through strategic online marketing practices. Right now, you're listening to our podcast, Restaurant Misfits. We'll discuss all things related to restaurant marketing, management and everything else in between growing a restaurant business. This podcast is also brought to you in collaboration with Total Food Service. For over 30 years, Total Food Service has provided the restaurant and foodservice industry with exclusive interviews to the latest news on products, trends, associations and events. You could sign up for a free monthly subscription by visiting totalfood. com today. And from all of the Misfits over here, we hope you enjoy the show. Cheers. Adam Bossie, how you doing?

Adam Bossie: Brett, nice to see you. Thanks for having me on today.

Brett Linkletter: Absolutely. Welcome to the show. We're so excited to chat. So, you are the CEO and Co- Founder of Afficionado Coffee Roasters. You guys have been killing it. Tell me about how you guys been the last year or so? How's everything going during this crazy time we're all experiencing?

Adam Bossie: Yeah, so I mean, clearly, a lot of change in the dynamic, especially in New York that's how we're operating. We started this company in 2008. And our focus since day one has always been on wholesale until, of course, COVID happened. And so, we've been playing around with the idea of switching tracks a little bit and expanding a little bit into the DTC market. And I think that clearly COVID has catapulted us heavily into that segment. Well, we've learned. We've been really nimble and we've started looking at other wholesale segments, like Florida and Texas and states further south that are kind of bouncing back a little bit faster than New York. So, it's been, we're very lucky and grateful and things are pretty good.

Brett Linkletter: Yeah. So, you were saying you're more focused on getting in retail stores and maybe restaurants and things like that and now you're going more direct to consumer because of the pandemic?

Adam Bossie: Yeah, so and typically how people start in our industry is most of our competitors have started as retail coffee shop operators and then realized that there's this whole other market, which is wholesale. And for us, I left the finance industry, started this company, had no idea what I was doing. I knew that failure wasn't an option, but I didn't... I was very frugal out of the gate. So when you have a retail operation, it consumes a ton of resources and funding. So, we never really had that, so we always stuck to wholesale, which was pretty easy to grow as long as your product is amazing and you're telling a story that you're passionate about. And so, that's always been our thing. In the past year, we've hired our creative director, so we've definitely allocated more resources to the D2C sector and it's, I thought it was going to be a lot harder to build that piece. I mean, there's so many people that go into our media team, but we have a really organic story that comes from the heart. And for me, I'm not embarrassed or ashamed to admit that I'm not the typical guy that owns a coffee roaster or a girl that is a coffee fanatic. I like coffee. It was a focal point for my family growing up. It was always something that was shared around great conversation, but for me, it's about the farm and the social commitment. That is what I love about it so much.

Brett Linkletter: That's awesome, man. Yeah. I wish I wasn't such a coffee fanatic, but I am. I am an absolute coffee crosstalk.

Adam Bossie: I mean, I love coffee. Yeah, for sure.

Brett Linkletter: But I'm addicted, I'm very much addicted. And by the way, your guy's coffee, which I received last week is fantastic just, so you guys know. It's delicious. It really is.

Adam Bossie: crosstalk. The whole thing about growing a great company is, of course, myself as a CEO, I like to think that I'm a pretty solid leader, but I think the most important to being a great leader is hiring, the best most diverse team and always plugging someone where there's a void. And so, from the support role of me building the inroads into Latin America and Africa and trekking there, three to four months out of the year, I was able to open the doors to then bring in people that would really excel best. And so, we never had the mentality that just because I'm the CEO, I can do everything the best. You always leave an open door for anybody that is willing to seize the opportunity, so and I have the best team in the world. So, I mean, my collective, we're a small group. It's 11 full- time people and then we have some consultants for PR and stuff like that as we're going to go to COVID, but it's a tight knit crew and I couldn't have done... I couldn't do it without them.

Brett Linkletter: 100%, so you guys are still obviously doing your wholesale, you're doing direct- to- consumer, what percentage of revenues is split amongst the two and how many retailers even by the way?

Adam Bossie: Yeah, so for sure. So, wholesale is still, even through COVID, about 90% of our revenue, so crosstalk% of revenue.

Brett Linkletter: Wow, okay.

Adam Bossie: For us, despite transferring the resources into D2C, I learned early on by seeing advertisements pop up on Instagram, when you talk about coffee Instagram, they trace what you're saying. So, you see inaudible advertisements for I'll say it, brands like La Colombe, which had done an amazing job getting to where they are, but the last thing we wanted to do is post ads that made us look like we're thirsty or trying to push product or discount product with promotion codes. And we're trying to do it in a fashion where we're staying very true to our core. Good product costs money. And everything that we do at the farm wouldn't be possible, we wouldn't be able to sell our coffee if we weren't dealing with these things at the farm. So, the reason why it costs what it does and so, you always get what you pay for. And so that's, also mention, we're one of the, if not the only, midsize roaster in the New York market that has no angel investor or private equity money behind us. So this is, we just don't have the resources to throw money at the wall for advertisements and we're not looking to sell out, like so many brands have done over the past five years as you've seen.

Brett Linkletter: Yeah, I respect that, by the way, man. I mean, me, personally, I've never taken any investments for any businesses I've started and I respect people who don't. I respect that you need it sometimes. Sometimes there's just no way around it, right? Sometimes you got to seek money, right, of course. But for those who are able to do what you're doing without investor money, without private equity money, I mean, damn, I respect that, because you learn the value of$1 and how far that dollar can go so much better in my opinion. I mean, we talk about the hustle behind it, the grip behind it, like that is, that shapes you into that kind of businessman that you are. You know what I mean? At least, I feel that way, right?

Adam Bossie: crosstalk.

Brett Linkletter: I mean, that's bad ass.

Adam Bossie: Yeah, I think and we talked about Chernow before. I think that I shared some of these things with him and it's, he asks the question, " Is it instilled in you from birth or do you learn it as you go on?" And I think for me, I grew up in an upper middle class family. I'm not going to say that I grew up impoverished and I made struggles, but my family was always strict with their spending. We were never frivolous. And so, I do think that that was instilled in me. And then in 2008, when we started our company, it was the financial crisis. And so, we had to have so many things happen for our coffee company with so little money. So now, we have unfortunately seen a lot of competitors struggling through COVID because they're very fat on rents, and they have a lot of location inaudible. So for us, we don't have that. And with my team, most of my team members have been with me pretty much since day one. So, they know that when I say, " Listen, it's back to bootstrap and reel it in," we know exactly how to do it. And it's interesting, because I've always stuck with my finance roots. I've always managed a trading account. It's not something I've gone into during COVID, like so many of my friends have. And so, I've always found that my hobbies are like I actually really love reading about companies and how they grow, whether they're privately or publicly traded companies. And so, I won't mention the company particularly, but I was bothered by a CFO of a very prominent company this way during earnings calls, saying like, " You know what we started doing during COVID is doing a weekly burn of like what our expenditures are." For me, I don't care what size the company is, you should know every single week what you're burning, and so many companies to find out that they're not doing that when you hit a situation like COVID, how do you possibly even know where to start? So I think sometimes the basic things that you start with there, you should have them with you throughout the journey of your career.

Brett Linkletter: 100%. 100%. No, I think that's really cool, man. So, you guys, and I'm reading my notes here. I mean, you guys are pretty, pretty, I mean, primarily in New York City area, right? That's where you guys are based at, that's where you guys have expanded quite a bit, right?

Adam Bossie: Yeah. So, we've learned a lot and we've made a ton of mistakes over the years. And one of the mistakes was we hooked in with a few several prominent chefs over the years and they would maybe venture out to Chicago to open a restaurant or one of the ski resorts in Colorado, we had a few in the Midwest. And so, we learned over time, we're a small company working. We have so much opportunity in New York. It's the best playground to have a business. Basically, execute as much as you can there and focus on that. And it's okay to turn down some business or turn away some business, even if there's a relationship there. That being said, other markets that we have expanded heavily into to where it is scalable for us are Boston, Philadelphia, D. C., a little bit of Baltimore, and like I said, Miami and Texas, especially Dallas area has been a very big target for us where we've had a ton of restaurateurs from New York heading down there. And it's been great. It's-

Brett Linkletter: Got it.

Adam Bossie: Things are kind of slow in New York right now, so we're focusing our team into Miami to try to hire some people, build that team out. And then when New York comes back, we're here all ready to rip.

Brett Linkletter: 100%. What's it been like in New York as of recently? I mean, look, a lot of our clients are New York, our agency works with clients all over the country, and also in Canada. And so, I am always looking at" Hey." It's hard for me to keep track of everything that's going. Everything's changing every day. Right?

Adam Bossie: Right.

Brett Linkletter: You look at Miami and things are basically back to normal, right? You look at New York and it's definitely not.

Adam Bossie: I've always been pretty optimistic, but real about COVID since the onset, and of course, everybody has friends whether on both sides of the spectrum. And for me, of course, there's days I wake up and I'm like, " What am I doing in New York still?" I mean, I've left a little bit to travel. But the whole notion to me, like again, I go back to 2008, when things were really bad. I can't understand why any real entrepreneur, any guy, anyone that started from the bottom would not want to be in New York right now. Because New York, people are saying, "New York's not going to rebound." New York's New York, it's always going to be New York, I don't care how much traffic Miami's getting, Tuloom's getting, all these places. Not that's it's going to happen, that's going to be great in 5 years, 10 years in New York is happening right now. So for me, it's like this is my home, it's not seasonal, so I don't let go of New York just because it's having its hard times like this is when you want to be here to embrace it.

Brett Linkletter: Got it. I mean, and I've heard obviously, I've heard similar things for let's just say that tech industry in San Fran, right? We're based in Los Angeles, but I'll tell you as of the last couple years, there's been this massive tech boom here, right? A lot of people are realizing, " I don't need to be in the Bay Area to be in tech," because, of course, everything's going online. And obviously, because of COVID now, things are spread even more so. I mean, I don't know. I kind of feel like in some ways, look, I love New York, too. New York is absolutely awesome. It's badass. There's so many great things happening, but we're noticing, as an agency, just like the E- commercialization of so many of these brands, specifically in the restaurant space, right? I mean, I spoke to a coffee shop yesterday, they have 12 locations, and they're number one initiative this year is how do we become an online brand? How do we become maybe, it’s like, well, you guys are looking into it, how do we be more D2C? Right?

Adam Bossie: Yeah.

Brett Linkletter: And so for them, rather than looking at their next location, they're like, " Hey, we want to be an E- commerce brand. We want to be, well, not specific to any location. We want to serve worldwide." You know what I mean?

Adam Bossie: Yes. So, it's interesting, because possibly one of our biggest hurdles why we haven't had faster organic growth is because we never had the presence of a retail shop, and it's always since they want to say, " No way, we're not doing it. I don't even want to consider it." And then right before COVID on the corner where I live on 54th and 11th, there's this really awesome little shop that was for rent. And so, I looked at it and I kicked it around for a little bit. I was like, " You know what? I just don't really want to get into retail." And then COVID happens. The broker called me and he was like, " This is what I could do for you." And it wasn't even thought. I was like, " No brainer." So, it's funny because people are running away from retail right now. I look, I inaudible, I always tell my team, " Take the blinders off. Always be open to opportunities if they change." And so for us, I never wanted to get into retail. This presented itself and it's a great opportunity, so I'm not going to say no. And I think that that's what's really important, regardless of if you're a hospitality or whatever industry is, you got to constantly look at opportunities, even if you've turned them down before in the past.

Brett Linkletter: So, you guys, you've opened it or you're in the process of opening a retail store?

Adam Bossie: We're in the process of opening it, so we break grounds, actually, this week. I've been saying that for a while, but this week, we are breaking grounds, and-

Brett Linkletter: I do the same thing, man.

Adam Bossie: It's like when you have so many things going on, it's just like, you know?

Brett Linkletter: Yeah.

Adam Bossie: And then you look at it, every once in a while, you're like, " Oh, we've advanced a little bit." So, yeah. No. We're breaking ground weekend. Actually, after we wrap up today, I'm going to meet the contractors to give him the key, so we're really excited about it.

Brett Linkletter: Wow.

Adam Bossie: And it's going to be inaudible. For us, like retail, I don't look at it as like a revenue generator. It's more of like a marketing piece for doing it as a flagship. We hired this fantastic girl, Lula, who is Giuliana, who is doing all of our decoration inside and design work and her work is awesome. So, it's really embracing our brand and our values and our identity. We're having artists from all over the world, some of my friends from like South America creating art pieces for it. So it's really, it's bringing and embody like everything that we believe in, in Afficionado.

Brett Linkletter: That's awesome. That's awesome. Well, hey, congrats, man.

Adam Bossie: Thanks.

Brett Linkletter: I mean, I love that. But I think it's cool that you're open- minded with all this stuff. I mean, look, like you said, " We're never go into retail store," now, you guys are, right? Times have changed. I mean, I'll tell you, obviously, this podcast is mostly just restaurateurs. Our audience is mostly restaurateurs, people in the restaurant space, in general, food and drink space. The one thing that everyone can agree with right now is yeah, COVID has been a pain in the ass. But hey, a lot of opportunities have opened up. Hey, rent is at all- time low. A lot of cool new spaces just opened up. Right? So, hey, take advantage of that.

Adam Bossie: Yeah. I mean, look at David Burke. I mean, I think you interviewed him not too long ago. I mean, David was one of our first big clients and there was outside of the fact that we're both Jersey guys, the guy just has energy like no other. No one can keep up with him and he always finds his groove. And so, when I see clients of ours like this and David's more than a client, he's one of my dear friends, it's so inspiring. And so, I think, New York, maybe some will not like me saying this, but I think New York needed a little bit of a kick in the ass in the hospitality space. I think that there was a lot of competition. I think that rents were out of control. I mean, labor costs are continuously going up and we needed a little bit of a reset. So, I do always believe, I don't need to be cliché, but like, there's always a silver lining in everything and sometimes you need to go steps back to take a step forward.

Brett Linkletter: Totally. Yeah and David is a total badass. That guy's the man. Yeah. He's a good dude. So, I mean, I'm kind of curious your marketing process now, how do you go about getting in front of restaurateurs and getting in retail space in these restaurants?

Adam Bossie: Yeah. So, I mean, right now, we're just utilizing our time to spend as much quality time with our clients that we have and just organically growing that relationship, and then referring us to other customers or other, yeah, potential customers. One of the things that we did during COVID, which was really cool, so we need to talk about the back end of our coffee, but we have these coffee byproducts. So we, at Afficionado have come up with a way to consume multiple parts of the coffee tree, not just the coffee beans. So, we take the fruit, which is inaudible. There's other cascaras out there. A few guys in Brooklyn are making a drink out of it, but it's more of a novelty beverage. We've really taken each of these products and turned them into something that someone would want to have every day. It's an amazing product. And so, we took this product and we started making mixers for like cocktail mixers, because in the beginning, people were selling drinks on the street. In New York, people were walking around with a cocktail on their hands, but restaurants didn't have the financial capabilities to bring their bartenders back in. So, we made these like premixed cocktails, so if they had one person running the restaurant, they could do it on the fly. And so, from that, we've got a ton of great... we've connected with a lot of people through that. And the word has spread about our business, about what we're trying to do and how we're thinking outside of the box. And I think that that was a huge step for us, and yeah.

Brett Linkletter: Awesome. Awesome. No. That's cool, man because I mean, it is a competitive space being in the coffee business. I'm sure. There are so many great coffee brands, but I'm wondering, in your guy's opinion, right? When you're approaching a restaurant and they'll say, " Well, hey, like, " You guys are cool, but I got this other guy that's maybe this is better priced" or wherever the case. What does the sales process look like for you guys to get these guys on board?

Adam Bossie: Yeah, so I mean, here's the thing and in the beginning when I used to say this to my team, like they used to scratch their head and it was hard for them to digest, I think at times. I say to all of my clients openly, I say, " Great coffee isn't hard to find." I mean, you can go to an importer broker and never have to worry about direct trade, go into the farm and source great coffee. So, for me, I think or for us, the biggest thing, of course, is relationship is huge and our commitment to like what we believe to be full sustaining or true sustainability, the fact that we carry that out and we express it and it seemed like there's a lot of great coffee, like I said. With us, it's what we're doing at the farm that's really special. And so, if I can take it back to that. When I first started sourcing coffee, we did not go the general typical way a coffee roaster would go, which is, you work with specialty importers, which will send you great quality coffee, and then once you get to a certain size with them, they'll flip the bill to take you on a class trip down to origin. I never went that route, I come from the finance background, but I had friends that were able to connect me with the really large producers. And of course, they were more on the commercial side, but we utilized them to find the nooks and crannies of the small producers that we wanted to and we did this in a way with going around these importers and tying into products that we really love. And so, it's a very different dynamic than any other roaster that I know of has went about sourcing their coffee and the relationship we have with our producers. I mean, some of my best friends are my coffee producers, and it's the coolest thing ever. And so, with that...

Brett Linkletter: Totally.

Adam Bossie: ...people are like, "All right, yeah, great." You're friends with your farmer, but what does that do for me as your client?" What it does is the fact that we have this tight relationship and that we share other connections like culinary and food and cooking and wine. We do these wine trips down to Argentina to Mendoza and we found over the years that there's such as correlation between coffee production and wine, but coffee is like 40, 30 years behind the curve of wine. And so, how can we take some of these technologies or systems and implement them in coffee, so that our farmers produce better quality coffee, lower their labor costs. And so, this is true sustainability. So, doing this, and then taking that knowledge and plugging it into other farmers that don't have the resources or the capabilities to do that, you're creating stable pricing, because all of our coffees unlike, again, the majority of the roasters out there, we are price fixated and we're not price- fixated on the C market, we're hedging ourselves in the C market. But we're price fixating with our farmers at a fair price that they can sustain growth and continue to implement new strategies year after year to better themselves and their community. So, now how that translates to our customers especially in the hostel space, we were just talking about how everything continuously gets expensive in restaurants. It's always cost going up. Coffee is a very small portion of restaurateurs' concerns, but it's one less thing that they have to worry about and they always get that consistency with pricing and quality. And so, it's huge. And so for us, it's really sustainability. People talk about it broad stroke, but they don't really dive into like what it means to them. That's what it means to us and it's creating an ecosystem that is continuously evolving, but stable.

Brett Linkletter: That's awesome. Well, no, I think you're right. People talk about sustainability. And I think the thing is, especially the restaurant space, like you said yourself about the New York area, specifically, I think people, you're right, to say that people kind of need a little kick in the ass, as of recently. I mean, there are... it's so funny, because I ask my clients all the time or I joke with them all the time that, " Hey, at some point, I'm going to open a restaurant concept." And they say, " Oh, Brett, please don't. Stick to the marketing side. You never want to do this business." And they joke about it and they're light hearted about it, but the truth of the matter is there is a lot of issues in the restaurant business. Rising costs all over the place, rising the minimum wage all over the place, rising rent costs all replace, not being able to raise the food costs, these and things. So, what you're saying is a big deal, right? Massive.

Adam Bossie: 100%.

Brett Linkletter: I mean, and so, the thing with COVID is, again, it's woken people up to the problems that they have, right? People are rethinking, " Do I really need five servers? Maybe I only need three. Do I really need this person than that person? I don't think so. Where are these other costs that we can cut down on? Where are the opportunities online that we're not thinking about?" Right? So, I think people are thinking about this and I think it's cool that you guys are doing that for sure. So, Adam, you had a pretty damn civil career, it seems like in the financial space and then you just basically dropped it to do this. What was like the big reason for that? What was the trigger to make you want to do that to begin with?

Adam Bossie: Yeah, for sure. So, I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My brother is a self- starter, has several successful companies. My mother had started her younger career as an entrepreneur and then would later finish out in real estate as well. And so I followed this over the course of my life and I guess, going to college and seeing what some of my friend's parents did, it was finance always intrigued me. And so, I thought that that was like the route that you should go. And so, what I didn't realize is, I'll back up, in high school, I had my own business. And I always had pretend businesses since I was five. And then I had this legitimate business. It was a car and boat detailing company in high school, carried that on through college. I met a lot of clients that one of them would later go on to hire me and my finance career working at the 3PM, this hedge fund marketing firm that I was working for. And I realized I love finance, but I really didn't like working for someone. And so, I got used to being my own boss and calling my own shots. And I think that that was the massive catalyst. Of course, the market started to change. A few of our funds that we were managing were starting to blow up. And their writing was kind of on the wall. And one of the things that I was realizing is growing up, you might see the car behind me, I had aspirations to buy things, but I realized, as I got older, that I didn't need all these things. And the things that really made me happy were things that involved food and travel. And so, which I could do it in a luxurious fashion or I could backpack it and be just as happy at the end of the day. So, I think that that was the catalyst for me and being able to grow in an industry where I shared common passions with people, it's the most fulfilling thing. It really is amazing. I mean, going down to origin at times has been really dangerous, to say the least. I mean, we were having a conversation with at a dinner party last night about some of my encounters. But some of them have been the most beautiful moments that I wish I could have cherished with my family or friends back home, because nobody really understands. And it's, I mean, it's amazing, like when I go down to Peru, it's a lot of hard work. At times, we'll stay up on the mountain side, it's 32 to 34 degrees at night and you're freezing. There's no heat, there's no running water, nothing. But then, what makes it all worthwhile is seeing these group of villagers succeed without having any of the resources that we have. And then, I get to go and stay at my friend Yan's plantation and walk out my front door and pick any tropical fruit that I want under the sun. So, it's like, it's-

Brett Linkletter: crosstalk.

Adam Bossie: It's crosstalk. It's pretty awesome.

Brett Linkletter: Wow. No, that's cool, man. I mean, but it's cool, you had this realization. And I think to your point, you mentioned that you had this aspiration that you wanted to buy these nice things, and this and that, whatever. Man, I could say in a lot of ways, I felt the same way. Being in the L. A. area, seeing all these flashy things. There's something really attractive about getting some kind of crazy sports car and this and that, or whatever. But I think like you said, you made a good point that it's like at the end of the day, it's really about, " Am I passionate about really what I'm doing? And this isn't just the means to the end, but like what I'm doing on a daily basis, is that actually what I want to do?" And I think what's cool about the food and drink space in general is like I think everyone shares that and then is cognizant of that, right? It's like a lot of these restaurateurs, they're doing it because they love to see people smile when they enjoy their product. Right?

Adam Bossie: For sure. 100%.

Brett Linkletter: They love the journey. They love what it's about. So, obviously, it seems like doing this is giving you a lot more fulfillment on a daily basis. I mean, it sounds awesome from my end, just saying.

Adam Bossie: Yeah. It's what makes it all worthwhile. And it's funny with the restaurant industry, again, going back to like rising costs, but I mean, I remember, on the onset of my career and even like growing up in high school, I worked at a French restaurant part time while I had this other business that started, and it's where I really fell in love with food. I noticed that chefs used to travel a lot more like international and to get inaudible.

Brett Linkletter: Interesting.

Adam Bossie: And it's, I get why I don't see it as much now and it's so expensive. And so, I think that you kind of get stuck in this bubble. And from what I've seen from my chef friends, where it's like it's kind of redundant that you're going through the motions. And you're looking at what the restaurant next to your right and your left is doing, but you're not stepping outside of your bubble and traveling to see what else exists. I mean, it's crazy. I go to South America and I'll eat fruit on my farm. And I'm like, " We don't have this fruit in the States. Like why?" And it's like, there's still so many, as global eyes as this world is, there's so many products that are delicious ingredients that totally are not readily accessible here. So, we need to, there's evolution to be had. And I would love to see, if anything else that we come out of this and New York's restaurant scene becomes better because of it.

Brett Linkletter: I think you're totally right. There's, I forgot where I read this one time, but it was something like, " The person you are today is only different with the person you are next year, based on the experiences you've had, based on where you've traveled and based on the books you've read," right? And I think there's too many damn Americans that just they don't travel enough, they're not inspired enough. They're just stuck in the way of doing things. I mean, I make it a point for myself to travel quite often. I mean, as an agency owner, my job is very demanding, too, right? I mean, it's hard for me to get away all the time, but I've created systems and processes that allow me to do that. I mean, next week, I'm going to go to Dubai for a week, which is...

Adam Bossie: Awesome.

Brett Linkletter: ...on the other side of the world, but I'm going and I'm actually going to meet a few restaurants out there and from what I hear the place is totally there, it's like Mars compared to the United States. I'm hoping to get inspired from some cool shit. That is what it's about. And I think...

Adam Bossie: For sure.

Brett Linkletter: ...it's so important to do that. You got to do it.

Adam Bossie: Absolutely. Well, we'll have to connect after the podcast and I'll set you up with some great places there. It's crosstalk.

Brett Linkletter: Amazing.

Adam Bossie: But yeah, I think that it's 100% true. I'll go back to my one of my stories from Mendoza, when I went down to the wine region down there in Argentina. And going back to talking about how my friends back home and my family don't really understand what I do. If I say I'm busy, they're like, " Well, what are you busy doing? You roast coffee and you're working from home? So are you that busy?" And I'm like, " Clearly, you don't understand what goes on behind the scene." So, I took my mother down with several of our producers down to Argentina and it was the first time that she really got to see inside of what I do and the inner workings of it. And so, it's until you're in it, you need to talk about travel, but until you really go off the beaten path and get a taste for it, you really don't know what you're missing out on. It's like if you haven't experienced it, you're probably not missing out. But once you get a taste of something really good, it's like it makes you want to go further and further. And that's like that's always been my drug is like is travel and it's not travel where I'm having a conversation with a bunch of friends and it's like, " Oh, have you been to inaudible?" And it's like, " Yeah, I've been to inaudible." It's like, or told them, it's like I don't... if five people in the room are going to know the destination I went to, I'm probably going to say that it wasn't that eventful for me. So, I like really finding great crosstalk-

Brett Linkletter: Really interesting.

Adam Bossie: Yeah. It's amazing.

Brett Linkletter: No, that's cool, man. I personally love South America, too. I've gone to Brazil several times for New Year's. I love Colombia quite a bit. It's just, it's so cool and different and I feel like that's really awesome. I mean, it seems like you've gotten a lot of inspiration. It's obviously come out into your business. It's come out to you and as a business owner. Talk to me about how do you build your team? Because I think a lot of things for restaurant owners or business owners in general, owners like yourself is how do we motivate our team members to share the same excitement that we do as owners? Do you have any crosstalk? How do you do that?

Adam Bossie: I'm glad you brought this up, so this is probably the biggest struggle with employment has been through COVID and it's taught me a lot. And so, one of our sectors of business, which we didn't really hit on is we're actually going heavily into institutional business. So, clients like Instagram, Facebook are our clients. We handle their coffee in New York. And so, the main person that we work with there, for fulfillment, often echoes like autonomy. And so, autonomy, I never really understood autonomy from a standpoint of being a small business owner and how you could really have that. And when I started to really see my team accelerate on an individual basis was when I gave them that responsibility, that accountability, and that autonomy and you got to just make them realize, like, " Listen, it's okay to fuck up, it's okay to make mistakes, as long as you're learning from it." And so and you give them that autonomy to go out and utilize their time the way that they think is best for them. And then you constantly re- evaluate. And then you say, " Okay, implementing timelines," and stuff like that. But not to get off topic of what your question was, I think autonomy and making them feel like they really own the position that they have. And I think, some would frown upon this, but I think putting them under the spotlight and right now, we're completely tearing apart every layer of our company and we're saying right now is no better time than ever to really look at everything and make everything better. I mean, that's always been our philosophy. Every single day, every day you wake up, you want to look behind yesterday and say every part of what we do is better and ask yourself what to make it better. And so, I think that a little bit of friendly competition within the workspace is great. And so, we're a very tight knit group. We joke around a lot. We make fun of each other a lot. But we've created an ecosystem that is really friendly and we're there for a mission, and we want to be the best that our craft and we've made it known that there's no... it's always on, we're always on. And our customers are first and whatever they request from us, we make it happen. And that's our simple philosophy that we live by.

Brett Linkletter: 100% No, I mean, I like what you're saying, though, I think a lot of employees, they're scared to make mistakes, right? And I think it's good to encourage that it's okay to make mistakes just as long as you learn from it. I mean, I know, from speaking to the friends that are in the VC world and private equity world it's like, they say that the biggest reason for a business's success or not is just action, it's action takers. It's just, " Hey." People who take action and either you do something and then it's wrong, and then you learn maybe the right way the next time or you do something and then it's right and then it helps you. But not doing anything isn't helping anyone. Right? So.

Adam Bossie: Yeah, of course. And I think, going back to our initial start back in 2008, we didn't have... I think, probably the best thing that we did was that we didn't open coffee shops and we didn't promote ourselves as fast as a lot of other companies do. And that allowed us to kind of make mistakes behind the scenes and not be under a microscope. So, we've learned from very early on a lot of the mistakes that we don't want to repeat, and we learned what works well for us. But I think, yeah, I think you should never have a moment where you're sitting down, really spending a half a day contemplating if something is a good action or not. If you're contemplating it's hard, move on. And then if you have time come back to it, but always-

Brett Linkletter: 100%.

Adam Bossie: You always keep the cylinders firing and there's not a day that goes by at Afficionado where a new project or opportunity doesn't present itself, so if that ever happens, that's when I'm concerned.

Brett Linkletter: 100%. Random question for you. I mean, how do you personally get better as an owner as a CEO? What do you personally do to get better every day?

Adam Bossie: Yeah, so I think that Gary V. often talks about it, he says empathy. And I think finding that perfect balance between being a boss and someone that your employees can talk to is the hardest thing. And it's something that I can, on a continuous basis, try to improve on. And I think that that is the most important when you're building your foundation. I mean, we've been around for 13 years now, but I still look at myself as a startup, like a very young company. Where we're going is nowhere in comparison to where we are today. We have very big ambitions and plans for ourselves. And I think that it's not possible without having the most robust and sound foundation. And that's our core, and I tell everybody at my office, you're still, " One day, we're going to have 100 employees." And the fact that we only have 11, we operate as a business that probably on a similar size of us has like 30. So, when crosstalk and everybody here has the opportunity to continuously be a director or a department head. And so, I think being there to consult and talk to my employees and always have an open door policy, I think that that has continuously made me better. And I think that there's a trust factor there and that that continuously makes me better as an owner.

Brett Linkletter: Any kind of books or mentors that you've utilized? That have made a big impact for you?

Adam Bossie: Yeah, so I think my biggest mentor these days, I mean, it's a lot of people's mentors, it's probably Elon Musk. And I think it's funny-

Brett Linkletter: I love Elon.

Adam Bossie: Yeah. It's like the guy's brilliant and he's brilliant and I think that people like that try to wrap their mind around constantly evaluating, putting an evaluation on Tesla, it's like, do you not get it? You're investing on Elon. You're investing in knowing that he's never going to stop. And so, it's always like a catch- up effect. And so, Elon's very inspirational to me. I think that there's guys out there like Gary V., who's also a client of ours, and I have a ton of respect for him.

Brett Linkletter: Wow.

Adam Bossie: He often talks about how to open the door and get your start, but I think Elon really talks about, " Okay, now you're a business owner. This is the next step." And I think that he gives the best clarity into that. I don't really have time to read books. I mean, I read about companies, and I learn about companies that I love. Those are my passions, but I'm not doing that. I started flying lessons 10 years or eight years ago, and I put it down.

Brett Linkletter: Wow.

Adam Bossie: And it's something that I'm going to take time to finish out because it's always been a dream of mine to have a small prop plane, so.

Brett Linkletter: Amazing.

Adam Bossie: I just don't have that much time to read, unfortunately, for other things like that.

Brett Linkletter: 100%.

Adam Bossie: So, I don't really follow too many podcasts. There's a few people out there that I really enjoy. I'll catch an episode every once in a while, but for me, it's more like it's like self- experiences.

Brett Linkletter: Yeah, yeah. 100%. No and I think that's something that everyone learns differently, right? Everyone has their own thing that works for them. It's just a matter of what fine works for you. Right?

Adam Bossie: Yeah.

Brett Linkletter: I mean, there's definitely something to be said about some people who are just always analysis paralysis, always reading, always learning, but never making the move, and then shit, crosstalk.

Adam Bossie: It's like anything, right? We're talking about chefs. It's like the chef that has learned in by putting in the sweat in a kitchen versus in a classroom or my finance friends that they're brilliant people, but they've never actually worked on a trading desk. They've only went and gotten their MBA. And so like you got to learn hands- on. You need both. So, if you get caught up in just watching podcasts, I think people like yourself Gary V., Elon, they're great for that moment where it's like, it's like a work coach. Right? You get that inspiration whenever you hit that hurdle, but then you got to go out and do it. You got to train. Right?

Brett Linkletter: Yeah, yeah, you're right.

Adam Bossie: So, you got to put in the work, but for an inspirational piece, it's amazing.

Brett Linkletter: 100%. 100%. No, I think that's really cool. I mean, for us, we've had so many different mentors over the years and it's almost, I think, some people, they kind of know what they have to do, but then they kind of need someone to tell them to do it oftentimes. It's just like, " Dude, you know what to do, just go for it. Just do it. Just do it."

Adam Bossie: I say it all the time. Yep. Engagement is the number one. It's the hardest part and it's like a snowball. You start to do things and earlier on, I think it still happens occasionally, my team members will be like, " You're fucking crazy, right? Do you know what you're requesting right now?" And I'm like, " You're overthinking it, just do it. And if it blows up, flame it. Put it on me." And then it's like...

Brett Linkletter: Totally.

Adam Bossie: ...you see them go out and they take action a few times, and they look back. And I was like, " So, now explain to me what do you see? Why were we able to do this? And why were we not able to do it before?" And so, this builds confidence within themselves in a way that they never have. And so, it creates this snowball effect. And it's like, " You've tried this, now you want to try this, now you want to try this," and it just, it again takes the blinders off and it makes it easier to see that nothing's impossible.

Brett Linkletter: Yeah. I love that man. I think that's great. I mean, the best part of what you just said, though, which I think a lot, will probably went over a lot of people's heads is just letting your employees, letting your team figure out what worked, what didn't. Let them do the problem solving. Don't just hold everyone's hands through this. I see too many restaurateurs doing this. Too many crosstalk.

Adam Bossie: Yeah, micromanaging is a horrible thing. It's-

Brett Linkletter: Awful.

Adam Bossie: It's awful. And sometimes employees they'd like to be micromanaged whether they see that or not and if you're growing a team as quickly as we're trying to grow, there's no room for that. You need people that are comfortable with being in the abyss and running with it. And that's when you're a growing company and you're doing great things like that's the kind of team you want.

Brett Linkletter: 100%. So, a question I think a lot of people are asking themselves right now is how they become more direct to consumer. I mean, again, specifically in the retail, restaurant, hospitality space, a lot of clients we speak to and a lot of clients or potential clients we're looking at, talking to you on a daily basis, they're looking to expand their channels online, direct- to- consumer, shipping their product, right? Obviously, for you guys...

Adam Bossie: Sure.

Brett Linkletter: ... it'sbeen a big initiative as of last year. What are some of the learnings you've taken from that? And maybe what are some recommendations you'd give people who are diving into that space?

Adam Bossie: Yeah. So, we've had great mentorship through this. Again, going back to the team over at Vayner group, like I said, they're clients of ours. Zubin, who basically spearheads their web media side. He's an L. A. guy or a California guy. He's been really guiding us through this whole process. So, one of the things that the hardest thing for me to accept early on when we first teamed up with them was that, he told me, " Adam, you want your website to tell your story. Websites are no longer meant to tell a story. They're meant for people to go and execute, get what they want, what they came for, and execute and get out as quickly as possible. And that your means of communication and telling your story is social media." So, prior to COVID, we've never had an ad, we never had any directives to drive people or drivers to drive people to our website to shop. And right now, we're in the process of building out a Shopify website. And so, I was completely against Shopify prior to learning, really learning about them, and what advantages they offer. And so...

Brett Linkletter: Interesting.

Adam Bossie: ...now, we're utilizing Instagram and our Instagram is like really, if you look at it, it's kind of all over the place because our company is so dynamic in what we do, getting filters and pictures, they all look the same when we're taking photos at origin, at our roastery, at our clients' places. There's so many different looks and elements to tie it all together, but Gary instilled in me very, very early on that, " You guys have content that everybody wishes they had just like, pump it up and let social media, Instagram, Facebook, those mediums get your story out there and let the website do what it's there to do, which is make it easy for people to get to your product and get it to their doorstep as quickly as possible." And so-

Brett Linkletter: I have to do that, yeah.

Adam Bossie: So, our new website, which is rolling out in about a month, it's going to be completely different, it's going to focus less on really telling the story and more on just getting people, giving people easy access to our product. And we're also going away from, we're pivoting away from storylines, and writing these like elaborate... people don't want to read anymore, right? So, something that I started doing down at the farms about three or four years ago is I started recording all of our interactions, even our negotiations, like full transparency, what we're paying for green coffee at the farm. And so, people talk about transparencies sustainability, and they write it on a piece of paper and nobody knows if it's true or not. But the fact that we put this video clip together, you can watch the full 10- minute clip or you can watch the condensed version that's like going to be 30 seconds, and really see what we do and see the transparency in it. And that's what our website is going to be. It's going to be like, " If you do want to learn about the product, there's a video to watch, or you could just check out." And I think that that's a pivot that has changed significantly in web- based sales over the past year.

Brett Linkletter: Yeah. Yeah. You want the website to convert and then you said like your social tell the story. I mean, damn, man. It's pretty cool, you could talk to Gary about this stuff, too and he's the king.

Adam Bossie: He gave us some pretty awesome insight. I did a segment with him, Gary. Tea with Gary V., not too long ago as well.

Brett Linkletter: Nice.

Adam Bossie: And he's great. I mean, the whole Vayner team has been like super helpful with us, so.

Brett Linkletter: Amazing.

Adam Bossie: I think, hospitality, regardless of the industry, it's, again I say, ecosystem a lot, but it's really the collaborations you have within that ecosystem and we've learned, I've learned so much from David Burke, from a hospitality standpoint. I've learned so much from my friends in finance about how to, build conservative financial models. I've learned so much from our tech companies that we work with about autonomy. And so I think that you kind of got to always get out of your comfort zone and meet new people from other industries and it just keeps opening doors and opportunities that you might not have ever realized, so I think it's super important.

Brett Linkletter: Well, I think you probably have good point or two, but it's basically, it's knowing what you're good at and what you're bad at and knowing when to see help. It's like, I spoke to a guy last week or maybe two weeks ago. His name is Alex Canter. He owns a business called Ordermark. I'm not sure if you've heard of them before. They're just killing it. It's got$ 120 million from SoftBank in investments, like Series C investment. They're just...

Adam Bossie: Wow.

Brett Linkletter: Murdering it. I mean, this and the guy's, I believe, he's 27 years old. He's...

Adam Bossie: Unbelievable.

Brett Linkletter: ...just super genius. But we talked a lot about, a lot of people in the hospitality space, they have this resistance to some of this new technology. They have this resistance. So, this is I can still do mailers and it can still work. Television is still a thing. Yeah, of course, it is, but come on, there's better channels. And there's just some of this resistance. And I think that's hurting a lot of restaurateurs and I think those people, they're, unfortunately, out of business now probably.

Adam Bossie: Yeah. Well, it's there's always two sides to every story or three, right? Both sides and something in the middle. I think, again, we could talk all day long about what goes into operating a restaurant and the expenses that are behind it. I mean, technology is great, and it will catapult you. But even going back to us transferring to D2C, getting started with Instagram ads and we even dabbled with the idea of Amazon just to see what happened during COVID and it's expensive. And before you really start to see your positive cash flow off that, it's a lot of times, especially now, with restaurants, like they don't have the financial capital to beta test. And so, talking about how we've pivoted, and our wholesale team, we've grown two sales people, but the side of our team that really exponentially grew was our media marketing team. My company used to throw around, " Oh, we never spend any money on marketing." And I went to college for economics and marketing. And I'll admit, like my understanding of marketing and what it is and branding and what it is today versus when I went to school 2001 to 2005, it's completely different. And so, our media team, it's Joe, my creative director, it's Katie, who handles our PR. We have a guy, Alex, who does all of our beta test analysis, see what sticks. We have our designer who basically sets up all our photoshoots, and we have our photographer and videographer. I mean, that's five people. That media team, which mostly are consultants is almost half the size of my full- time staff. So, there's a lot of resources that are needed to go into it. I would love to see platforms that kind of tie all those elements and make it accessible to, especially people in the restaurant.

Brett Linkletter: I see what you're saying. So, it's a lot of money. It's hard to dive into all of a sudden. 100%. What about this, Adam? So, you obviously, you're doing so many interesting things. And it sounds like you're creating your own cool story in itself, I'd say and how important is let's just say your personal brand you think for your brand? Is that something that you're investing in that you think means a lot to the business, means a lot to your consumers, your customers?

Adam Bossie: Yeah. So, again, going back to saying there's no shortage of really great coffee industry, I think that people are looking for something that like, kind of sticks out and stands on its own. And I think that when we tell the stories of everything that we're doing on the farm, our involvement on the community level, I think people want to buy products that they feel like they contributed to society in some aspect. And the fact that we also don't have any venture capital and that every dollar that we make is reinvested into what our core values are, I think, I think people want to support businesses like that. Cold brew, the truth is, I actually don't drink a lot of cold brew and it's one of our biggest sellers. And so, when we were starting out, we used to sell to Whole Foods, and we were in about 18 locations. We were going to those 21 locations. Truth is we were making no money on Whole Foods. We were making, I think our net- net was like less than 3% on sign on.

Brett Linkletter: Wow.

Adam Bossie: And it was really hard to work with them. And they had asked us if we had a cold brew line then and we didn't. And so, we decided to pull away from them. But one of my biggest issues was that Whole Foods, they used marketing that was really easy for people to understand. And so, they brought sure, a lot of things that they, a lot of the brands that they talk about. And so for us, like we're trying to deep dive and I told her we're doing videos and all this stuff. So, now like you go into a Whole Foods and you go to the cold brew section, and there's like 30 different brands on there, and you try every single one of them and there's maybe like two or three that are good. And so we never rush to market just to have a product to be in the market. We only bring products to the table if it's exceptional. And so, our cold brew is like we use twice the amount of coffee in it that NBS uses. We don't... we didn't go out and buy some brewer that is now manufactured for people producing cold brew. We didn't go to some third party to produce it for us, like so many guys in Europe are doing right now. It's crazy. Like even like the big guys are doing outsourcing us. We created our own system. We learned how breweries worked. We hired a kid that worked at a brewery, the next town over from us, and we brought it together and we did everything from the ground up. And our customers see this. So I think that, yes, our story and everything that what we do. I think people now trust that. We want to work with Afficionado because we know that they're never going to cut a corner.

Brett Linkletter: Awesome. Adam, have you ever said this in any of your marketing videos what you just told me?

Adam Bossie: No.

Brett Linkletter: Why the hell not?

Adam Bossie: At least we thought... well, yeah. Listen, the hardest, when you talk about I think they're the hardest thing to do.

Brett Linkletter: I just got sold. I'm already sold. But that was awesome.

Adam Bossie: The hardest thing for a company to do when you are involved in so many different things, you can go back to like Tesla. Like there's like people are like, " Oh, it's their batteries. Oh, it's like their engineers and how they don't think like the guys at Ford or Chevy, like they think outside of the box." When you have so many different things, we just did an attribute survey. And so, we looked at every element of what we do as a business. Right? And so it's funny, like, you look at let's take a coffee company that they focus on like surfers, right? And all their social media is like surfing photos with a cup of coffee. That's their target audience. It's not really about the coffee, it's more about a lifestyle. And so for us, we have this social community awareness. We have this agriculture, love. We have this, the fact that we import and that we have the financial arm of where we have pricing stability. And then we have our roastery, where we didn't even talk about our roaster and how cool it is. It's a vintage roaster and like Peter Turso, who went to CIA, is our roast master. We don't roast off automated systems that everybody else is roasting on, so you have all these different elements and we have our lifestyle element. And it's like, " How do you tell what are..." and we go back to Katie. Katie, right now, they're trying to figure out how to take all these cool elements of what we do and put it into three sentences. How do you do it? How do you combine all that?

Brett Linkletter: I think you talk about it.

Adam Bossie: Yeah, I can't crosstalk, but crosstalk.

Brett Linkletter: No, but you... no. I think, I'm just sitting here listening to you talk about how passionate about you are about your brand, how damn cool the product is, how much you put into it, that's compelling. And I told someone this on the last podcast people buy from brands, but more so they end up buying from people, right? That's a more effective sale. Like, for instance, in our business, I run ads to acquire new restaurant clients through my own personal social pages, actually. I don't run it through our Misfit Media, Instagram or Facebook, whatever, I run it through Brett Linkletter's Instagram, my Instagram. And I'm this guy in front of them on newsfeed, " Hey, are you a restaurant owner? And do you need help getting customers or are you a franchise, a little frustrated with your corporate strategy? Check this out?" Right? And so-

Adam Bossie: For sure.

Brett Linkletter: I think you like, I don't know. I'm just spit balling now, but you got a good damn story.

Adam Bossie: I think you're doing it with your podcast. And I think I was kind of a late bloomer, when it came to interacting with social media. I mean, if you look at how many followers we have on Instagram, it's kind of sad. And it's even doing podcasts like we were late to show up for that because we were so focused on our infrastructure and building our company. So now that and I appreciate you having me on today, like the more you could do this or I can echo my story and get it out to as many mediums and people as possible, but we're just getting started. So again, the first part was building the solid core of the company and now, we utilize people like yourself to help tell the story.

Brett Linkletter: Totally, but I think it's awesome. What about... okay, well, I know Gary. Speaking of Gary now, he's big on this? What about TikTok? You guys on TikTok yet?

Adam Bossie: We don't do TikTok. We don't do TikTok. And I know like-

Brett Linkletter: I sense some hesitation.

Adam Bossie: If my creative director Joe was on this call with us he would probably try to come through the screen to strangle you right now. We're on such overload with trying to get out to as many mediums as possible.

Brett Linkletter: But here's the thing, the thing about TikTok, you said you're late to Instagram maybe. And look, I'm on Instagram. My brand is on Instagram. Instagram, though, as of lately, man, it's tough to grow the channel. It's tough to reach people. TikTok, I'll tell you this, me personally, I made an account a couple of months ago, I'm at 6, 000 followers just by posting cool shit about what I'm talking about. And look, it's not that hard. It's still new. You guys have all this cool video footage doing all this cool stuff. I mean, I look at that as you got a cool damn story that you could talk about on TikTok, it's not going to take you much time. I mean, I would say when you're down doing this thing in Argentina, make a little selfie video.

Adam Bossie: crosstalk. It's something that we need to open the door further on and look into for sure. I think there's a lot of platforms. What's the other one, Twitch? I'm still trying to wrap my head around Twitch because Twitch is like, it's a gaming platform, but businesses are starting to utilize it now, so there's so many. And so, what I'm trying to do is those are not the things that I'm really good at and we're just trying to build out the team that can run with that the best, but I don't disagree with you at all.

Brett Linkletter: Honestly, I think, yeah, okay, Twitch is more of a gamer thing. Yeah, you're right. Maybe there's opportunity there. I don't know a whole about Twitch either. I own a social media marketing agency, so I'm always looking at these things. But for me right now, and by the way, Gary was a big inspiration for me to even get on TikTok to begin with. Man, TikTok for me has just been so interesting. Your ability to create an account and go viral is nuts. And because you have, like Gary said to yourself, you have all this cool content already, you just got to get it out.

Adam Bossie: Yeah, so we're trying to figure out and I think that we're getting there is we know what our story is. We're not trying to curtail our story to the audience, like we have a lot to be proud of in what we do, but we're actually starting to evaluate like, who's actually going and buying coffee online. And so, what I'm trying to understand and maybe you can explain it to me, with TikTok, it is what I think to be a younger group of people on there.

Brett Linkletter: Everyone says that.

Adam Bossie: No?

Brett Linkletter: Everyone says that, but it's not. It's growing like nutso.

Adam Bossie: Yeah, so like our segment where we do best with is like 28 to 40, like that's the age bracket that we sell our product to. So, you know what? I'm going to walk away from this and talk to my team and we're going to get moving with TikTok.

Brett Linkletter: Hell, yeah. Add me @ Brett Linkletter, let's be friends. I mean, honestly, look, I'm the same way. My clientele is probably average age, 40 to 60 restaurateurs, right? So, I'm on TikTok and some would say, " What the hell are you on TikTok for? That's not your clientele. There's no restaurateurs on TikTok." I went live on TikTok like two weeks ago just talking about some random marketing funnels and whatnot. And the owner of a hotel in the Midwest reached out to me and she goes, " Hey, we also have a restaurant in our hotel. Can I talk more about with you?" I'm like, " Holy shit. Yeah." I mean, it's it will surprise you.

Adam Bossie: So, what's your take on Instagram Live? Do you think it's something that has become like a bit of an annoyance or do you think that it's still powerful? What's your take on that? Do you get involved on Instagram Live much or?

Brett Linkletter: I think Instagram Live is great. It's just you got to have a large following for it to be effective. I mean, the way I look at is this, I tell this to all our clients, too, is social media everyone's on it, right? But they've made it so incredibly hard to reach people organically now, honestly and unfortunately. That's why I like TikTok because it's still easy, but running, what we do is running ads, targeting people through social, but then collecting phone numbers, emails and actually, we utilize Facebook Messenger quite a bit. Facebook Messenger is awesome because you can create this one- on- one communication with the customer or a potential customer. I don't want to add another channel to your guy's Rolodex to look at now, too, with Messenger. But no, I mean, look. Instagram is king, Facebook is king. I just when I look at something like I mean, TikTok, you can literally post one video that's so damn cool, gets a million views, now you have 50, 000 followers in one week. And that's not a crazy thing to happen. I mean, I'm serious.

Adam Bossie: Wow.

Brett Linkletter: So, it's worth looking at.

Adam Bossie: Well, I appreciate the inspiration tip.

Brett Linkletter: Yeah, man. So, if anyone is interested in working with you guys, any restaurateurs listening to this or anyone in general, like myself, that's probably going to want to continue buying from you direct. How do they do so?

Adam Bossie: Yeah, so I mean our-

Brett Linkletter: What's the best way to find you?

Adam Bossie: Yeah. They can email us directly. It's my email. It's always available, adam @ afficionadocoffee. com. We can just got a message through Instagram or give us a call. It's pretty straightforward and yeah, we're always looking for partnerships. I mean, that's the biggest thing for us. Every one of our clients is viewed as like a partnership. We'd liked to work with the best in their craft and it's been a lot of fun and it's been great.

Brett Linkletter: Awesome. Awesome, man. Yeah, I can speak from experience. You guys have really damn good coffee. And you can tell by my energy today, it's the perfect amount of caffeine. It is amazing.

Adam Bossie: Well, I'll tell you what? Anybody that we can get to try our product if they put in the notes, I wish I knew, previously, I would have did a promo code but if they just put in the notes that they watched our segment today, we'll throw in a free bag of coffee or something like that for them.

Brett Linkletter: Yes. Okay, guys, if you're listening, you hear this. You want some good damn coffee, do that, you'll get an extra bag. I love it, man. I love it.

Adam Bossie: Yeah.

Brett Linkletter: Well, Adam, I hope to see you on TikTok sometime in the next week or so.

Adam Bossie: Yeah.

Brett Linkletter: Add me up if you find me Brett Linkletter and let's be friends. Anyway, man, thank you so much for today. That was amazing. That was really great. I'm going to keep enjoying your coffee, obviously. And we'll be in touch real soon.

Adam Bossie: Brett, this was fantastic. Thank you so much for your time.

Brett Linkletter: Cool. Thanks.

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