She's Empowered Spotlight: Beverly Malbranche, founder & CEO of Caribbrew
"The employees I work with daily motivate me. I love creating opportunities for others. They love coming to work. If there are no orders, there is no work, so I am motivated to keep on growing as a company."
We are excited to introduce you to Beverly Malbranche, founder and CEO of Caribbrew! Caribbrew is a social enterprise that sources coffee and cacao from farmers in Haiti. They are making a huge impact in Haitian communities and we're excited to see Beverly's company continue to grow!
Tell us a little about you!
Hello. My name is Beverly Malbranche. I am the founder and CEO of Caribbrew, a social enterprise that specializes in coffee and cacao sourced from farmers in Haiti. We aim to bridge the gap between the Caribbean’s centuries-old coffee and chocolate traditions and our consumers in the United States and close the racial representation gap in the coffee industry.
I grew up in Haiti and came to the U.S. in 2009 to study business administration. I knew early on that I wanted to start a business. While pondering this, I fell in love with the flavors and aromas of Haitian coffee, courtesy of my uncle, who visited Haiti each summer and brought back coffee to share with friends and family.
I love to be creative, create opportunities for others, and make memories along the way!
What do you do for work? Tell us about your professional journey
Currently, I work full-time on Caribbrew. After college, I worked for many financial institutions, such as Credit Suisse, IHS Markit, and Bank of New York. However, I was always interested in social businesses and impact investing. I was a regular at conferences on small businesses, social enterprises at the United Nations, Women in businesses networks to name a few.
I usually worked my corporate job during the day. During the evenings and weekends, I worked on Caribbrew.
Since 2020, I decided to take a leap of faith and work full-time on Caribbrew. I wear many hats, from marketing, product development, to overseeing operations.
How do you stay motivated?
As a social enterprise, we get to directly impact the communities we source our products from and where we work.
Knowing that our purchases create a sustainable income for farmers in Haiti motivates me to grow the company, so we can continuously purchase from them at larger quantities. For example, our first year in business we purchased about 2000 pounds coffee. Last year in 2020, we purchased 17,000 pounds, and we are expecting to finish this year at 22,000 lbs. Now we are buying from 1000 small scale farmers!
Secondly, we create secondary jobs. When we pay the cooperatives a deposit, they use the funds to process the beans (harvest, dry, and sort by hand).
You have to hire people to do that. Without those deposits, they would have to get a loan from the bank to prepare the beans to get them ready for sale.
That puts them at great risk. In case they don't sell their beans, they still owe the banks and the interest rates keep on accruing.
Moreover, the employees I work with daily motivate me. I love creating opportunities for others. They love coming to work. If there are no orders, there is no work, so I am motivated to keep on growing as a company.
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in starting a business?
There are many advice I could give. The main one is to be flexible! Before the pandemic, we were going regularly to trade shows, local pop-ups, and festivals. When the pandemic hit, and these opportunities were no longer, we had to focus solely on our online strategy.
Instead of losing business, we actually grew. However, if we were not flexible or adaptable, we would be out of business by now.
What are your favorite ways to #spreadgood in your community?
Whether it’s cracking up jokes or buying from small-scale farmers, I love bringing joy to people.
Through Caribbrew, we have been able to change lives. First, we pay the farmers above the Fairtrade minimum, which is about $1.75 for organic beans. We are paying our farmers almost twice as much.
Many times, when there's a lack of demand and the farmers are desperate, they sell at a very low price to people who take advantage of the situation.
Thus, by having contracts with them, they have access to an established market and have a steady demand for their beans that create a sustainable income for these families and other people in the community who sort, package, and export the beans.
I also love mentoring younger women. Most of my employees are young ladies, and I love to encourage them as they grow in their own careers and find their passion.
Who is one person who inspires you and why?
I would say my mom. She is an educator, and she puts so much love in her work. She is very much devoted to educating the youth. It’s been 32 years now, since she founded a school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (of which I am an alumni).
Instead of retiring now at 60 years old, she is pouring more than ever into her students!
How do you work to stay centered and practice self-care in your busy day-to-day reality?
I love spending an early morning with coffee and doing my devotion/meditation. I spend time with my family, and I specifically tell them to not bring any business-related topics (I have to say that can be a challenge). I also have times when I do things I enjoy outside of the business, such as exercise, going out with a friend, or just doing my face mask while watching a show. I have also learned to say No at times and to not overcommit.
What do you like to do for fun, when you aren't working?
I am pretty outgoing. I love simple activities like going on a walk and enjoying nature to taking trips outside of the States. I have to say that during the summer, I am a regular at food festivals! I guess I am a foodie!
What are some of your favorite recipes with Ground Up?
Great question! I made smoothie with the Cinnamon Snickerdoodle butter and our cacao powder. It was so delicious! I used the butter, cacao powder, one banana, honey, and almond milk. It was amazing!