What is the goal of any business? The bottom line. Generate a profit and then increase that profit margin. Produce and sell more goods. Over time then become more efficient in producing goods at a lower price and enlarge your distribution channels and network. That in a nutshell is what the bottom line is all about. Without it businesses would falter and eventually shutter operations.
And then we hear of a double bottom line. That while we seek to earn a profit we also are mindful of social causes and issues that we particularly want to address or be involved in. Think of TOMS Shoes … buy a pair of shoes and they give a pair of shoes to those in need. They build this into their bottom line and thus they have a double bottom line with how they measure success. What the double bottom line means for us at Loam Coffee is our growing involvement in supporting trail building, particularly in areas where mountain biking growth can spur economic development.
And then … yes, there’s a triple bottom line. That while businesses seek to make a profit, and address a social issue that is near and dear to their heart, they are also mindful of the environmental implications for their business. It could mean better (cleaner, more energy efficient) production processes, choosing delivery by bike versus car to cut down on carbon emissions, or going organic so as to not spray crops with chemicals that would ultimately pollute groundwater. Again, this is all key. Every business should be about the single, double, and triple bottom lines. This could be summarized by a value put on profit, people, and place (or planet). The how will then vary from company to company and industry to industry.
We could go on about addressing the quadruple or quintuple bottoms lines (and keep going). The point? Businesses are so much more than simply creating and selling products (or providing goods and services). More than that, they can create meaning and influence culture. You see, a brand is more than a brand. It ends up connecting people and gathering them into a family or tribe (i.e. cultural grouping) who share similar values. We continue to see and find this with Loam Coffee.
As our Loam Family continues to grow we are bringing more people into our community from literally around the world. What then is the common bond? Coffee … stories … stoke. That could be then our own take on the triple bottom line. While ultimately we’re about curating, roasting, and selling coffee we find value and meaning in the stories we share and tell (including yours) and the stoke found in mountain biking. Our hope is we can spread this stoke (love) and do so as a growing group of people from all corners of the planet.
Words by Sean Benesh, Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager. Photo by Ben Wurmser and Tina Gerber.