We started our company with $100 and a vision to build up other small brands, marginalized communities, and local entrepreneurs. But there is more to the story on how Ethnos Coffee got started.
After moving back to Memphis from Chicago in 2018, Kenny Baker was in need of a side hustle as he searched for a job. A friend had given him some money to catch up on bills. "If I use all of this money for bills and debts, I am going to be back in the same position next month" Kenny thought. After spending the previous decade as a pastor in Texas and Chicago, he remembered a parable in the Bible where Jesus talked about men who were given talents (money) by the King and the point of the story was about using what was given wisely and multiplying resources.
So, Kenny took $100 and bought some unroasted coffee beans, bags, and labels and started roasting on a small machine he had procured in Chicago where he learned home coffee roasting. He chose to call it Ethnos Coffee because "Ethnos" means "nations" in the Greek language. The name communicates the vision and mission of the company to bring people across cultures around tables.
"I thought I would sell 4 bags of coffee the first month I started. 2 of which I thought would be from my mom," Kenny said. But after selling over 20 bags of coffee in the first month, he started to take it more seriously and looked to grow. Through a very supportive community and some important people who sponsored some of his growth, Ethnos is beginning to become recognized as company that cares about the community and provides quality products and customer service.
"We have a great vision here at Ethnos. We value people, quality, and collaboration. I want small local businesses to succeed because I know behind that business is a family or individual who is passion about their work and their family. They just want to provide and enjoy themselves in their work."
Ethnos has a vision to continue offering great coffee and dope collaborations that benefit people.
*Image by Erin Kim