I didn't found Sussen until several months after we started development of The Kivu Mason jar French press, but I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to create a company whose purpose would be to make sustainable, sensible, everyday products with social purpose.
By dumb luck, at the very fist meeting with Ratio Product Lab, I met a coffee roasting mechanical engineer (check out Docent Coffee) who knew Jonny Golden and knew about The Nziza Collective. I connected with Jonny soon after. So, right from the start, this project was about creating economic opportunity and positive social impact for The Nziza women.
Land of a Thousand Hills' Do Good Initiative founded The Nziza Collective and gave the women supplies and education so they could make goods to sell during the coffee growing off-season. The women have supplied Land of a Thousand Hills with the hand crafted baskets, mugs and other items (as well as their amazing Nziza coffee) that can be found in their stores and for sale online. This is great to have an outlet stateside, but it also presents a problem. It's bad business to rely on one channel of distribution. Do Good was concerned about this. Fortunately that same dumb luck presented us to them.
Sustainability can mean a lot of things, and initially I was really only considering environmental sustainability. The Nziza women were seeking economic sustainability. Sussen's need for components is The Nziza Collective's opportunity to diversify. Not only does Sussen represent the chance to sell product to an outside organization, it is an opportunity to be part of a supply chain, and that means the possibility of long term sustainability as a business.
This is so much more substantial than charity alone.
Jonny Golden spoke about this last fall:
We are seeking your support on Indiegogo to help us raise $65,000 in funding to cover the costs of tooling and manufacturing of 2000 units, so we can make The Kivu available to consumers. Contributors can reserve The Kivu for a standard contribution of $40 USD, or for less through various bundles. The women of The Nziza Collective are hand-crafting the grips for each press, which are unique to The Kivu.
Thanks again for your interest and support!