Podcast Guest
Darron J. Burke
Darron J. Burke
Ceo of Burke Brands and Don Pablo Coffee
Podcast host
Martin Zerrudo
Martin Zerrudo
SUEG logo mark.
Martin Zerrudo
Martin Zerrudo
Seller Universe logo.
July 15, 2022

A Better Cup of Coffee With Darron J. Burke

July 15, 2022

A Better Cup of Coffee With Darron J. Burke

Darron Burke

Darron J. Burke is the Founder and CEO of Burke Brands and Don Pablo Coffee, a world-class grower of specialty grade, small-batch, roasted-to-order coffees sourced from the world’s best coffee growing regions and delivered throughout the world. Darron moved to South Florida in 1989, met the love of his life, and traveled to Colombia where he recognized an opportunity to grow and sell coffee. Since then, his brand has been actively sourcing the best quality specialty grade beans from the top 2% of the world’s coffee production.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Darron J. Burke talks about how his first trip to Colombia ignited his passion for crafting specialty coffee
  • What are the key differences between the Arabica and Robusta coffee beans?
  • Darron explains some of the challenges with growing and scaling a coffee company
  • The importance of customer service for expanding your brand
  • Darron shares his testimony on moving forward with his coffee brand when the odds were against him
  • Why you should believe and have faith in your product to be successful
  • How Darron established a connection with big-brand retailers to market his company
  • Darron details how he created a bourbon-infused coffee bean

In this episode…

Are you curious about what goes into brewing a delicious cup of coffee from a quality brand? In an industry that is immersed in high-profile brands, how can your business gain a foothold?

Darron J. Burke began his enthusiasm for growing coffee when he visited Colombia and started growing his own coffee beans. But establishing his brand was not without its challenges. Darron knew that scaling a brand isn’t based on wishes, but on hard work, faith, and a “never give up” attitude. To compete with the bigger brands, Darron took marketing his coffee beans to a personal level.

Join Martin Zerrudo on this episode of What Do You Do Next?, as he sits down with Darron J. Burke, Founder and CEO of Burke Brands and Don Pablo Coffee, to discuss producing and scaling a brand with a quality product. Darron talks about overcoming some of the obstacles that come with growing a brand, why a little customer service can go a long way, and crafting a bourbon-infused coffee bean without any alcohol content.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode:

This episode is brought to you by Seller Universe Ecommerce Group.

We provide essential Amazon and NetSuite service solutions for brand growth.

Seller Universe Ecommerce Group provides essential service solutions for brand growth and scale. We position brands for success through cost-effective growth initiatives and operational efficiencies. Our synchronized approach allows brands to dominate in today's complex, multiplatform ecommerce marketplace and ecosystem.

Our team at Seller Universe not only helps your brand on Amazon, but we also do Netsuite implementation and anything that gives you a headache around inventory management.

To learn more about what we can do for you and your brand, visit selleruniverse.io.

Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:00

Welcome to the What Do You Do Next? podcast brought to you by Seller Universe Ecommerce Group. Whether you're just starting your ecommerce journey, finding ways to grow your online brand or can't seem to find the right tool or partner to help you break through. We're here to help. We interview experienced sellers, strategic service providers and other ecommerce experts who will help you answer the question. What do you do next?

Martin Zerrudo 0:20

Hi, I'm Martin Zerrudo we're on the host of the what do you do next podcast? Whether you're just starting your ecommerce journey, finding ways to grow your online brand or can't seem to find the right tool or partner to help you break through? We're here to help we interview experienced sellers, top strategic service providers and other seasoned ecommerce experts who will help you answer the question what do you do next? We've had past interview guests like Misha from Pacvue D Brian from Elements Brands Mike Jackness this from ecomcrew and so much more. But today we have the man the myth the legend we have Darron Don Pablo Burke joining us today on our podcast now this episode is brought to you by Seller Universe Ecommerce Group. We are a global ecommerce agency providing central Amazon, NetSuite and Shopify services. Now let me give you a quick example. We had one client in manufacturing they sold on Amazon but they weren't doing as well as they wanted to. We introduced I started handling their DSP ads and brought them from A to row as to 8.3. So in layman's terms, they basically spent 300k and my 2.4 million if that sounds interesting to you, please visit our website at selleruniverse.io now today, we do have Darron joining us He is the Founder and CEO of Burke Brands and Don Pablo Coffee they’re growers and roasters of specialty coffee who rost to order in multiple small batch roasters and sell globally to Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, and Amazon as well as to restaurants and other food service customers. They have an in house video production studio and produce their own social media content as well as content for other customers and their newest venture called Global Feinstein shop, which is a digital marketplace for specialty goods for small producers delivered to your doorstep. Hello, Darron, thank you so much for joining us. That is a quite illustrious resume that we have. They're probably the longest intro I've ever read so far.

Darron J Burke 2:01

Yeah, you're too kind. I don't even know where he found that. But it was all correct. Thank you so much for having me.

Martin Zerrudo 2:06

We're very, very humbled to have you I got to ask first question, where did the Don Pablo moniker come from? How did that start?

Darron J Burke  2:13

So 33 years ago, I met my wife, who's Colombian and fell in love with her. We met in Miami. And then she took me to Colombia to meet her family, excuse me, and I fell in love with Colombia and her family and her grandmother was so sweet. But she could not pronounce my name, which is Darron was difficult. She's saying, Here's a lot of things other than Darron so I needed a nickname. And one night we were my Spanish was terrible. I had no Spanish. One night we were discussing tongue twisters. And one had to do with a guy named Pablo, Pablo, Pablo and Kavita, like I said, ikalgo Wow, I can say it now but back then I totally botched it. Nobody laughed at me and they pointed at me and it got quiet and they laughed again and it got quiet and they laugh more after that. And it was just a really big deal. So I became Pablo. And then I found this nifty hat and then I became Don Pablo out of respect for the hat.

Martin Zerrudo 3:11

I love it. I love it when they started calling you Don Pablo was it first like oh it's kind of funny or like you know want to kind of like the name No, I

Darron J Burke 3:18

love it. Yeah, I insist on it. Most people don't like to call me that but I Yeah, yeah, no, that's

Martin Zerrudo 3:23

awesome. Now of course worst if you're the name of your wife if Maya if a mask Eliana Eliana thank you so much Eliana for introducing Darron to the culture, Colombian culture, is it? Yes. There you go. And the Don Pablo moniker great origin story. So of course, synonymous with copy Colombia, you know, is this adventure that you've always wanted to do going up? Did you kind of just fell, but you know, fall into the coffee industry? What's the story there?

Darron J Burke  3:51

Yeah. I mean, I was always entrepreneurial when I was a kid, just naturally. And you know, if the school was selling candy, or, you know, whatever they were selling, I was hustling. I was hustling. I was always on it. And I always had to be number one. And, and, you know, I wanted to do different things. And before this, you know, I did, I probably had 200 jobs. And I'm not even exaggerating, wow, 30 years ago. But like I said, when I went to Colombia, I had that cup of coffee, and it just blew me away. And I brought it back and gave it to family and friends. And they had the same exact experiences I did. So I said, Okay, this is something that has, there's an opportunity here. And, you know, I was very naive, because even to this day, you know, for companies control 95% of the global at home coffee market, all the brands that you know, on the shelves there, they're really from for able to name them just for our audience understand. Number one is Nestle. Right Nestle, Nespresso and a bunch of other things. They're number one. Number two, was JB Delic birds, and they, you know, they bought and sold and I don't even know what they're called now. But they're huge. Number two and the three is the most interesting one for me because it's smokers and smokers. Yeah. Is the jam company so they own Dunkin Donuts. The at home coffee for Dunkin Donuts. Oh, wait. Yeah, and they own Folgers $2 billion brands. Smuckers owns both both and also P loan and boost. Hello. Wow, all my Latin friends out there.

Martin Zerrudo 5:22

I did not know the jam game was so lucrative that they're buying up coffee companies.

Darron J Burke 5:26

Yeah. Smuckers is a great company. They really are. I respect them very much. I'm sure. Not really big on those coffee brands, but but they are I go to

Martin Zerrudo 5:36

thought Neva was one of them to No way. Which one named Bob?

Darron J Burke 5:39

I don't know that one. No. Oh, man. Maybe

Martin Zerrudo 5:42

it's a Canadian brand. Maybe. Let's see who their parent company is. Probably one of them. Oh, they're owned by Kraft. Okay, there you go. Yeah, Kraft Canada. Okay.

Darron J Burke 5:52

Kraft was, you know what Kraft actually had the distribution for Starbucks for a very long time. By no way. Yeah. I haven't followed up with that. But whether they still own that or not? I don't think they do.

Martin Zerrudo 6:05

Sorry, Kraft

Darron J Burke 6:07

actually changed the name to monopolies?

Martin Zerrudo 6:09

They did? Yes, you're right. He knows he knows. So walk us through how old were you when you're in Colombia? And you try that first copy? Can you tell us that story?

Darron J Burke 6:19

Yeah, I was 22. And so it's a good story. I had never traveled outside of the country. And Harry was going to Colombia and right as I got off the plane, you know, just hit with a humidity that was different. It was good. It was vibrant. It was and then the green and the mountains everywhere. I was just like, blown away. And then the people were so friendly. I had no idea what they were talking about, because they didn't speak Spanish at that point. But I really was digging it. Anyway. We went to from the airport to a very small town where my my mother in law lived. And nobody spoke English. My my wife's got eight sisters and one brother. So the brother took me around the town. It was little tiny town. And he showed me my first coffee plant, which was like, blew me away, because I never thought about it. And most people don't think where coffee comes from. Right. What

Martin Zerrudo 7:14

were you doing at the time for John, for work?

Darron J Burke  7:17

back then. And I don't know exactly what I was doing. But I was always in sales. And yeah, it was I was. Yeah, I have, you know, like I said, I have over 200 jobs that I had. But anyway, interesting story. The brother was taking me around, he was telling me a lot of different things that I couldn't understand because it was he showed me a building a small building and everything is like, you know, it's forget the construction method, but it's actually counting in dirt that they build the walls with. They make a sort of concrete out of it. And sort of like an Adobe type deal. Anyway, there's this giant hole in the building. I'm like, wow, that's odd. And anyway, later, I found out when he translated to my, my wife that the gorillas had below that was a bank and the gorillas had thrown a grenade at the wall to blow it up so they could go in and steal the money. Oh, my dad happened a day earlier. Oh, great. That was great. They probably were able to steal the 30 dollies that were in there. And they anybody, but what happened was that, you know, I was a little bit nervous. I was young, and I you know, not

Martin Zerrudo 8:25

gorillas? Yeah. I

Darron J Burke 8:26

mean, you know, it's, you know, back then. He looked like a young man. I don't know if you remember what it was like. Back in the late 80s. Right. So

Martin Zerrudo 8:35

it was quite an interesting time around the meta urinaria. area.

Darron J Burke 8:39

Yeah. And they had the FARC and Eln. And these big burly groups, right. And so I was a little bit nervous about that. And anyway, so we went home, we had dinner, and then all of a sudden, we started hearing these loud explosions. So we're, I was freaked out. And I wasn't getting the information because nobody knew exactly what was going on anyway. Right, right. But so it got louder and louder and bright flashes, and they were starting to get freaked out, which freaked me out even more when the locals are freaking out. Oh, yeah. And the lights went out in the little house. And we're all sort of huddled together wondering what's going on. Right. And long story short, thunderstorm, thunder and lightning.

Martin Zerrudo 9:24

That's thankfully not the bank robbers.

Darron J Burke  9:28

Literally on that one, but that was my first trip and in the next day was really great because then we started to visit coffee farms. If you live in Colombia, if you don't grow coffee yourself, then your cousin does or your uncle or your neighbor or somebody you know someone that's doing it. Yeah. So we found ourselves at coffee farms and I started to get my education in growing coffee. And and like I said, you know, we brought roasted coffee back to the US and gave it to family and friends and they went wild over it like I did. And I got the idea. Let's do this thing. But when I was young, I didn't have any money. And everybody I would talk to would say like, oh, that will never work. If that would work, somebody would be doing it already. Now, mind you, Starbucks was not a household word. Back then nobody had heard maybe some people on the West Coast and that was it. So, you know,

Martin Zerrudo 10:17

while I drink out of my Starbucks cup, Oh, yeah. Oh, there you go. Cheers. Cheers Do you dump all

Darron J Burke  10:24

this water. But anyway, so that's how we got started. And, you know, we get started 1010 years after that 18 years ago, about, we bought a roaster and started roasting coffee. And I was super naive, I didn't know that I didn't know about, you know, four companies controlling all the, all the distribution. And then and then the people the company is under that. They do all the restaurant service, and they lock restaurants up in contracts and give him all this free equipment. So you know, we bought a roaster, I brought him with a credit card. I had no money, we started in a garage. And that was going up and down Biscayne Boulevard over here, it's big street and going into restaurants, you want to buy my coffee, you want to buy my coffee. And people were like, I was given out free samples. And people were like, not really very receptive. And actually some got angry about it. And stuff. How dare you give me free samples? I don't get it. But but that's the way it was. And the guy says, okay, yeah, I'll buy you coffee. All I need is this Brewer, this grinder, these air pods, these satellite stations, and I'm like, what he's like, yeah, all the big companies give all this free equipment. And, and if you buy the coffee from them, so they you know, I found out later because I had a friend that worked for one of the bigger ones and they have a 10 month formula. So in other words, they give you all the free equipment, they don't make any time on the coffee, they sell you for it until 10 months later. It's the repurchase where they pick it up. Unbelievable. I heard that and I was just, I was like, There's no way we can compete. But we got into Costco. And that's a whole long story too. But

Martin Zerrudo 12:02

I'll let you talk to if you want. Yeah, Darron. So for those who are listening, you know, for me, I'm a tea guy, my wife. You might you might convert me after the call. But I do love the occasional like, like a cappuccino or like a mocha. For those who aren't as well versed as you in coffee. Can you walk us through? What are the differences from the cup of Joe, that you'll get it a Dunkin Donuts versus something a little bit more expensive at a Starbucks versus something that you would get in like a K cup? Or K pod for for Keurig? You know, or what you would get an artisanal like, cafe, how do you break down the difference? Because it's all coming from a coffee bean, presumably. But what is the process in differentiating the end product from all those different types of versions? No, that's a loaded question. I'm sorry.

Darron J Burke 12:49

No, no, no, it's a great question. It's a it's a very good question. And it starts with the beam. So there are two commercially viable species of coffee ones are a booster and one's Arabica. That's the very foundation of the question you asked. And most people are totally unaware of this. And the reboost. The beam is grows in Vietnam, parts of Brazil, it's low altitude, it's acidic, it's bitter, it has doubled the caffeine. So it can make it nervous and jittery. Very poor quality, not a lot of depth of flavor. And it's a caffeine hit. Yeah, it's caffeine hit. But it's that's why you loaded up with cream and sugar because you can't stand the taste of God. And yeah, and then the Arabica bean grows higher in the mountain. It's got a deeper, richer, fuller body, it's smoother. It's got a cleaner finish. It's got half the caffeine. And it's just a better quality in the reverse that trades at half the price than Arabica. So that's why, you know, the big companies that you see the brands in the supermarket's, they'll either use their boost 100%, or they'll blend or boost and Arabica just say Yeah, so the better stuff is 100% Arabica. And then the next thing is, since 990 5% of the industry is controlled by these giant companies, they roast in these massive batches, 2000 3000 5000 pounds at a time, and they're putting eating elements in the hopper of the roasting machines. So the green coffee is baking. So when it hits the drum, it's more of a five minute cycle rather than a more normal 20 minute cycle. And it's all on a production schedule, and they're pumping coffee out. And it's sitting in these third party distribution systems and warehouses just waiting for an order. So by the time you get some big brand coffee in a supermarket, it's several months since it was roasted, and in some cases up to two years. One of the bigger companies I won't say who they are, but they have a two year code. And if you go into their cafes, you can look on the back and you'll see that stuff is almost expired. And and we don't do that, you know, we use the best of the best bean and then we roast everything to order So it doesn't matter if it's going into Costco or Sam's Club or Amazon. We roast it, we package it, we stamp the PIO right on the bag. And then we ship it out, though just in time. And that gives us the, we had to do that, you know, we had to be better and a lot better than these big brands just to be able to compete. Unfortunately, you know, we have a 70% customer retention rate. Fortunately, 70% of the time people recognize that difference. You know, that's

Martin Zerrudo 15:25

fantastic. Now, if we can go back a little bit when you mentioned the five minute versus the 20 Minute, what are the benefits of a longer roasting time.

Darron J Burke 15:32

So you know, first of all right away, if you're gonna make the beam first, you're going to screw everything up. And it's not about flavor, it's about quantity at that point. So we have, this is also very unique about our company, we have multiple small batch roasters, and the difference is one of the big one of the other things that the big companies do with these big roasters, when all that coffee comes out of those roasters, it's hot, it's superheated. And if you don't quench it, you don't spray water on it as it comes out. It's going to continue to roast in its own heat, and it'll just be burned beyond recognition. So that quench all that water washes the oils off robs the coffee of its body, what we do is we don't roasting machines above 120 kilos, so we have five of them by roasters. And it's, it's all air cooled. And the difference is, you know, your grandma making an apple pie in the kitchen or hostess cupcakes making a billion apple pies. It's just better quality when there's smaller batches. I

Martin Zerrudo 16:31

love that example. I love that example. When you create that process, is this a process that's been replicated by other brands, or do you really have a hands on approach to from being to shipment, you're in there in the trenches, making sure that everything is perfect.

Darron J Burke  16:47

So we grow coffee, ourselves, we have a small farm in Colombia eight hectares. And we're also partnered with a coffee milling and exporting company out of Honduras, it's actually the number one, they are friends and partners and, and that allows us the best access the best quality beans, and when others can't get them, because it's a certain time in the year or, you know, whether, like now it's very difficult because there was a frost in Brazil, and Brazil is the largest producer. So that increases all the price. And it also makes it more difficult for roasters to, you know, to get coffee. So we have that advantage where we can get what we need when we need to get it. And we only use the best of the best quality. And people don't, you know, it's a very small space that we operate in. Because usually it's either on the top end it says massive roasters, I was telling you about very artists and very local smaller people on the street corner that have very limited reach. And those guys are true artisans. They don't even have electronic profiling systems where they can, you know, maintain consistency, because they don't believe in but but it's not scalable, and the reach is very limited. So we're in between those books and the great big guys, we can produce the best quality specialty coffee, at scale, and at a at a good price that represents a really good value.

Martin Zerrudo 18:12

There's not a lot of people. That's fantastic. And you've been doing this now for almost like, what, 20 years now? Yeah. Is this our 18th year? That's fantastic. First of all, congratulations there. And that's amazing, you know, from your early 20s, to potentially being attacked by guerrilla bank robbers to now running, you know, very successful Don Pablo Coffee Company in the early days. What was that? Like? What were some of the challenges that you were hit up with? Right, when you decided I want to start my own coffee company.

Darron J Burke 18:38

So you know, it pays to be ignorant and naive, because if I had any idea, I would never have done it. Or maybe I maybe I'm also self destructed and maybe I would have done it. It's been super, super hard. You know, we've been through hurricanes fires, floods, the market price of a raw material going up 135% overnight, you know, cashflow issues, many, many challenges and, and I'm just it's in my nature that once I started something i don't i don't give up. You know, somebody said, I'm like a pit bull that grabs onto the leg and just doesn't, doesn't let go. And you know, I didn't mind that analogy. I never would have thought of it by myself. But I don't go backwards. I don't like to, you know, go straight to the man.

Martin Zerrudo 19:29

Where did you learn that? If I may ask, you know, that pit bull mentality. I don't like to give up. Where did you learn that?

Darron J Burke  19:34

I you know, my family? Probably, you know, my grandfather was a big influence on me. It was very hard working guys that play tracks for the Pennsylvania Railroad. And yeah, long time I've

Martin Zerrudo 19:47

written that railroad. It was like the train through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, like, I think I've written

Darron J Burke  19:54

that's granddaddies tracks right

Martin Zerrudo 19:55

best fantastic.

Darron J Burke  19:57

So one of the things that he did do when I was Probably about 10. I used to work the summers with him. And we had a flatbed truck and he was like a scrap metal dealer, and like Sanford and Son, truck and stuff and we run around. And he got a contract with the post office that cut up all these warehouse racks, right. And it was just like what looked like a mile a warehouse rack and he had the torch, and he's the cut up pieces, I stepped the load on the truck. And while he was cutting out the pieces, he used to wear these plaid polyester pants, I'm sure they were in fashion at some point in history at some point. So he laid them on fire and he you know, he's passive be on fire and he'd be slapping out the pants. And anyway, so the pieces he cut up were small, and I'd go load them on the truck. And then I noticed they got bigger and bigger and bigger until they were like twice the size of me. And I'd have to take them end over end and like leverage them onto the truck. And one time I look back and he's laughing. He's laughing really hard because he was doing it on purpose. He was testing me he was I would give up right? And I never gave up. I didn't want to disappoint him. I didn't want to you know, be the one to you know, make the job was successful or whatever. Then that's my earliest memory and maybe you could wait, what's his name? Grandpa? Andrew, we call them pop, pop. And you

Martin Zerrudo 21:21

look at that. Were you must have been like swole by the end of this like, summer of like

Darron J Burke 21:26

Lou Ferrigno was green to

Martin Zerrudo 21:30

smell the burning.

Darron J Burke  21:32

Yeah, we after lunchtime, you'd open up the thermos and there was beer in there, it was

Martin Zerrudo 21:38

just a little bit of a kick.

Darron J Burke  21:41

And then after the job, same thing, and then we'd hit bar after bar, we go to the Marconi club and shoot pool. And we go to the southern place and play bocce. So I mean, it was great. That was 10. Wow.

Martin Zerrudo 21:53

I mean, it's, it's fantastic to hear those kinds of stories because like you mentioned, you know, people think, Hey, he's living in Miami and beautiful condo, super successful is Colombian, but really a lot of those roots ball back to you spending time with your grandfather, 10 years old, learning, you know, the value of the dollar and putting in a hard day's worth work. That's fantastic. Darron, I have to say it's a so you know, you get this Pitbull mentality from your grandfather, you started to start running your own coffee company. What are some of the turning points in Don Pablo, when you're like, hey, we're really hitting our stride here. We're starting to make something out of this. Yeah, honestly. You know, I

Darron J Burke  22:27

remember we were doing maybe maybe a million dollars. And, and you know, things are tough. Cash flow is tough, right. So the margins aren't super huge. And you know, if you're growing like, you know, my parents owned a drycleaners small one. And I didn't know that we weren't rich. You know, I mean, because we had the nicest use car in the block. And it wasn't a mask. It was a Cadillac. And it was a nice one. My bad is 10 years old. Kind of like LA Yeah, gold. Gorgeous. I'll never forget that car. I mean, it was massive. You know, they don't make them look like we made a dad we made the Cadillac, it's gold. I mean, all the neighborhood kids used to pile into it. We used to go to friendlies ice cream shop for ice cream. But after they rake the yard, they had the rake the yard, of course, but he just managed his money really well. kept everything small. Yeah, the place was a mess, though I will have to say that time into anything. And then what happened was attrition, right. So I watched this as a kid growing up until the day he passed away. And I saw his customers just he was the best dry cleaner in the in the bull area. He was not just saying that. The only ones crushed buttons. It was a small town. So there wasn't a lot. But they you know, he was really great. But the place was a dump. And my mother, my mother, my sister, they were not like trained and good customer service. So if you said anything bad to them, they would let you know what they thought. So year after year, less customers. So I'm watching this not knowing you know that I'm learning by learn. Anyway, I say that to say this that, you know, we always invested in capacity and growing bigger and bigger because we wanted to be bigger and bigger. And we never said no to any orders. Right? So. So that's what we did. So I remember telling a guy that worked for us back then. Oh, yeah, you know, if we get this new customer, there's going to be so much cash, we're going to be picking it out of the way it's going to be in the way we're gonna have to move it out of the way. And then you know, 18 years later, I we're still not kicking cash. It's getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Yeah. No piles of cash anywhere. So that kind of stinks. But But yeah. Okay to answer your question right now is the answer to that question. We just got ourselves a very large private label customer that that is going to God willing, and I believe it's going to happen 5x Or our sales over the next 12 months was the acquisition or a partnership or No, it's a private label customer that I've been working on for a couple of years that was doing other other business and I and I convinced him that it would be really great idea to do coffee with his own brand. And it just is and he's got the reach. And, you know, we were doing $3 million with an email list of under 100,000. On our own DTC platform, he's got 6 million. He's got an email list of 6 million customers, and he does the infomercials, and he does radio and all that other stuff. So the reach, I'm really excited for him, and I'm excited for us. And it's going to be really something to

Martin Zerrudo 25:36

see. That's a pretty significant milestone, if I may ask, he can he doesn't have to be too specific. But around where where would you say Don Pablo, is that right now in terms of annual revenue? We did 20 last year. Now, What's your dad's name?

Darron J Burke 25:48

Be passed away. But Jerry, Jerry,

Martin Zerrudo 25:51

you know, apologize if he passed away recently. You know, if that 10 year old Darron wanted to your dad, Jerry or to your your grandfather, Andrew and was like, pop one day, I'm going to be owning a $20 million Coffee Company. What do you think the reaction would have been?

Darron J Burke 26:04

Um, I think they would have believed it. Yeah. I mean, like, no, seriously, you know, I've always been like, I've always had a big mouth. And I've been good at sales, I guess. And, you know, I think they, they thought so, you know, my father was a lot more, you know, conservative, and he passed away, you know, a number of years ago. Now, it's probably been about 12 years, but he saw us get Costco he saw us get Sam's Club. Wow, beside, you know, go up and up and up and up. And, you know, I think he would be proud. And I think he would have believed it back then. Yeah, who knows? That's fantastic.

Martin Zerrudo 26:38

And your grandfather been? Like, see, that's why a major push off. That was a well being to build the mental skills as well. Absolutely. For those of us who are listening, who maybe want to be where you're at today, you know, hey, maybe there's a 20 year old in Colombia, listening right now drinking a cup of coffee saying, hey, I want to be like Don Pablo, right? What are the things that you did that allowed you to get the most traction or results when you started your company? What's your future? Give them?

Darron J Burke 27:04

Yeah, I would. There's a lot of little things. But you know, honestly, what it is, is number one, you have to believe you have to believe you can do it. Right, you have to have an idea. You have to think it through, and you have to believe in it. And the other thing is you have to have faith. You know, I am a Christian. And I have this incredible faith because I've witnessed miracles that were around the business. And if you don't mind, I'm gonna tell you the first one. This is basically my testimony. So you know, we were we levered everything we had, which was nothing to start the business. I had my wife who quit her job, I had another employee. And, and we had no sales and the money, the little money that we had ran out. And so for probably weeks, when I knew this was happening, I was walking around with this pit in my stomach in my gut, like the worst feeling in the world, because I don't like to disappoint people either, right? And we started this thing, and I didn't want to have to close it. And I was just feeling terrible. And I didn't know where the money was going to come from, and that we were no sales. And one night, I couldn't sleep, none of the nights I could sleep, and I got up and it's my closet. And I got down on my knees. And I said, God, I can't do this by myself, you have to help me. And it's called crying out to God, right. And at that point, I had this rush of peace come over me. And I heard in my spirit, I have already blessed your business. And I mean, nothing like that has ever happened to me before. So yeah, it was amazing. And I went home that night, and I slept like a baby. And it was amazing. And what happened a one or two days later, I get a call on the telephone. It was the woman that had done our mortgage for our condo, who we had kept in touch with and you know, filled her in on the business. She says, Hey, I think I can get you some money. And I'm like, okay, and for questions over the phone $100,000 in the account, like two days later, ATM, right. But that was the and that is what fixed everything and allowed us to go forward. So a year later, you know, we grew the business nice using that money. And then I we were out of money again, and I call Bank of America and I said, Hey, we're out of money, can you loan us more money? And they said, We don't know how you got their money in the first place. That was a miracle. And like, I know why, though. So honest to god, I mean, listen, this is really serious. If anybody doesn't believe or they're like, you know, maybe maybe not. I've seen such things happen. There's so many miracles and they're still happening now. And you know, like I said fires, floods, hurricanes, all these terrible things. If it wasn't for my faith, we wouldn't still be here and still be growing like we are

Martin Zerrudo 29:43

there and you're gonna make me cry, man. I love that answer. Honestly, you know, for myself, you know, I met my wife were both very, very religious, and I never would have met her if we hadn't gone to this Church activity was in Washington DC, like, you know, six, seven years ago, and you know, I'm 35 now I'm turning 36 But I met or what else? If I may say this quick? Thank you? Yeah, so it's 29. And we're going to this, there's this huge Church activity that's happening Washington, like three months leading up to it. I'm like, you know, God, I'm going to work out, I'm going to eat right? I'm going to do everything that I can do in my power to make myself as as attractive and desirable, you know, and I really, I got my teeth whitened and everything. I'm like, I'm going to do everything I can. And every night, I had a, what you call a devotional prayer, right? Same time, every night, I prayed to God. And I was like, just, if I meant to find the one, mate, let it be at this event, but that I meet her. And if I don't meet her, then that's okay. That's your will. And I'll move on, and, you know, focus on something else in my life. But for three months, I worked out, I ate healthy, I made the commitment that I'll do everything I can, and then the rest is up to him. And then just by chance, my best friend was like, hey, you know, a Martin looked over there. And I just looked over. And there she was, you know, and that's where we met. And that's where we've we started our relationship and fell in love. And it was all because of that, you know, having that faith that what are the chances when we meet somebody from the whole world, everybody's traveling over there, but he has something to do us hosting the event. And like, I had no idea that it would be her I've never met her before in my life. She's from Atlanta, I'm from Toronto, what are the chances we're gonna bump into each other at like the rehearsal, she was going to get water or something like that. And when I hear your story about how, you know, you can only do so much. You put all your ducks in a row, and you feel like I've got a great product, I think this is going to hit there's a there's a segment in the market, I think we can capitalize on, but you just need to be a little bit extra, a little bit of extra belief, or push or whatever, whether you're religious or not. You don't have to have that extra sorry, go ahead.

Darron J Burke 31:37

I was just gonna say what you did was you said, Okay, I've done all I can do now it's up to you. Exactly, thank God, He takes care of it. And if you believe, then that's all you mean, I witnessed it over and over. I'm 54. So I'm a little older than you. And not by much. I've tested it every single time. And it works every single time may have not been the timing that I want it to, but it always does work. So

Martin Zerrudo 32:01

I appreciate that. And I think that's something sometimes it's missing, you know, when we pitch to clients, right? So I pitched earlier today to a client, they were in the Czech Republic, right, they are selling like baby food, their, their their company is relatively large. But our second slide in our pitch deck is always and you can see behind me, we scale passionate ecommerce brands. And what I tell in every single pitches I don't, anybody can make money in a lot of different ways. And I'm not interested in trying to make the most amount of money with every single person, it's got to be with people who understand the value have a passion behind what they're doing, right. So for you to tell me that, you know, the whole business model was hedged on your faith that this was going to succeed. And then it succeeds. And it's your choice to not be like the bigger companies and to focus on the Arabica beans and on the longer roasting process. And, you know, making sure that it's not a two year shelf life that's about to expire. For me, that's where that passion comes in. You know, it's that passion, merge with that like belief, and that faith, It's unbeatable. Honestly, I talk to brand owners all the time, you're the first person there, and honestly, that's talked about, and I'm very thankful that you did because business, you know, it'll suck the life out of you. It's not easy. It's not easy at all. And like you said, there's so many things you can't plan for a flood, you can't plan for a fire. But in those moments where you're like doubting, and you're like, Man, I thought I had everything figured out. For people like us who are faith based people, you know, it, it makes a huge difference in in weathering those storms. Have you ever spoken to other business owners and relayed this kind of advice to them? What what's been their reaction to it?

Darron J Burke  33:37

Yeah, I mean, I, you know, I always try to give the benefit of my experience. Um, you know, I'm not trying to impress people. You know, I learned that a long time ago, like, I'm not running around in a suit or anything. And it's nobody's doing that now. But you know, when I grew up, if you didn't have a suit on, nobody would talk to you. Right? Right. Didn't take seriously. Yeah, terrible. I gave that up a long time ago. Because listen, what I'm doing is I'm speaking through the product, right? The product is great. It's, I mean, I personally can't live without the product, meaning I get up every morning and I must have our coffee. I've tried the coffees. And it's very rare that I find one that I would like as much. And a good reason for that is because of the love that we put into it. Like you said, the small batches compared to the big batches. Our model is totally inefficient. But it makes a huge difference in that cup. And we really want to we want people to know that we have their best interests at heart. It's not just dollar signs. So to answer your question, I have no problem with sharing, you know, my experience. What do I know? Everybody's story is different, but I'm happy to share and you know, usually it's well received.

Martin Zerrudo 34:44

No, that's that's fantastic. Are there any mistakes or pitfalls that you made along the way that if you go back you're like, Man, I wish I didn't do that. Well, the whole thing was

Darron J Burke 34:53

a mistake. Like I said. For companies control 95% of every You know, it's different now. And this is exciting to it's exciting for people that are thinking about going into business now selling any kind of consumer product, because, you know, most of my lifetime, it's been huge companies that control most of the store shelves, you know, and it was, it was a very limited amount of people that were buying online, because they've been trusted, they didn't want to give their credit card or whatever. But you know, over the last seven years, say things really blew up. And during the pandemic, they blew up even more, in a good way. And now, you know, that whole long tail turned into like, Hey, here's brand XYZ that just came out of the blue. And they're doing a ton of money, because they have a very effective presence online. And that's really what it is now. And it used to be the big companies would keep you out intentionally. And they do it through being able to pay slotting allowances and supermarkets and exclusive distribution, green agreements and all these things. Yeah, because shelf real estate is limited. Yeah, and they pay for it. And they will be able to support the product to the degree where we grow. And now you can just come out of the blue and, you know, have a nice looking brand and be good on social media and, and you can you can succeed. It's for anybody that's much younger than kind of grew up in this environment. This is really a big deal. This is new in the history of the world, where anybody can basically get up off the couch, create a brand, and go and make millions of dollars. It never used to be like that. He's on Mark, it's a lot easier now,

Martin Zerrudo 36:37

who were some of the people that helped you along the way to transition from that wholesale brick and mortar distribution model to online.

Darron J Burke 36:43

So that's interesting, too. We always had an online site, but it was never wasn't very robust. And we put a we've worked on it for a while. And about a year ago, now. We got a Shopify site. And we you know, we made it as nice as we could, and we're still working on it. But it's growing, it's growing 30% month over month, we're on a runway for three minute gratulations. Thank you one of the things. First of all, let's go back a little bit like so, Costco, and Sam's Club is where we started. And how we, you know, we were on the shelf there for 15 years, in both places, basically competing with Starbucks and competing with Dunkin Donuts and competing, you know, other national international companies. And how we did that was, we did what they call roadshows brochures and set up a booth, give out your coffee, and my wife and I, we personally gave over a million cups of coffee personally to people. And we It sounds like a nice round figure. But it's true. And we know it because we go in there with a case of cups, there were 1000 cups, we go through four of them in a day, we did one for four days, every week, every single week of the year for 10 years, right? So it's nine years, or 10 years, I just stopped doing it a few years ago. You're like I'm done. Oh, my God, it was hard, standing on concrete for 10 hours setting up tearing down taking all the abuse. But you learn a lot too, we learned an amazing amount about, you know, people's perception of coffee and consumer,

Martin Zerrudo 38:15

I'm sure one of those perceptions that you learned in those 10 grueling years,

Darron J Burke 38:18

there's, there's a lot of them, I'll just tell you that like, so there's, there's, I don't want to slam any brands, you know, people just don't believe in it. By the way, I think that's a that's a story that the big brands put out there. So you don't slam them, you know, meanwhile, they can produce this low quality stuff. And put up with marketing. But okay, so there's this nationally known brand, it's a good brand. I mean, it's not a good quality coffee was a good brand. And people that would come by our booth that had that in their cart, or in their hand, they were super hard to convert. And there were two types. The first type was, they'd have it in their arms, you know, they'd be walking away out of the coffee. I'm like, Hey, you want to try her stuff? And they'd be like, Oh, no, I drink this. But I'll give it a try. Let me try they try it and be like, Wow, that's rich. Well, that's smooth. That's really different. That's good. How much is it? Oh, it's even less. Let me get that and they'd switch for just a second. The second type was the funny one, because they would not stop they would clutch the product to their you know, the one that they got in this baby. It's my baby, they flush it to their chest and they run briskly by and they wouldn't even look at you or respond to you No way. So that score a point for that brand. Right? Because they got that real estate in here is it because the best part of waking up? It's not but you know, America runs on it. Ah, got it. And you know that that company's I don't know if I said it earlier. I think I might have but I really respect that company. Yeah, yeah. But, but yeah, so a lot of interesting and then another brand that I don't even know their slogan, but everybody knows it's probably The first one that comes to mind, they were interesting too, because it was more of a conspicuous consumption thing. So instead of clutching it to the chest, the guy with the nice shoes and the suit, and the Rolex on would hold it like, like this display and as he walked by, like, Look what I have exactly, I got the Rolex and I've got this brand. And, and it was conspicuous consumption. And you know, that's, that's marketing man, you get in there and, you know, don't don't confront me with one against the other.

Martin Zerrudo 40:31

I've already made my mind up. Exactly. But you know what, for those who are listening right now that maybe their mind isn't so made up? What is the Don Pablo message? How do you differentiate yourself as a brand, of course, the quality is there, the love and the passion is there, the owner obviously has a strong spiritual foundation to push the brand. For the customers out there who've never heard of better, what is it Don Pablo to them?

Darron J Burke 40:53

Yeah, it's a better cup of coffee. Basically, we're not big into slogans. But you know, somebody said, I told somebody who's very cup of coffee, and they always should use that as a slogan, because you know, it's better quality. It's smaller batches. It's roasted to order. Fresher better tasting, you know, we have a team of people that is everybody's so passionate about what we're doing, because the feedback, it's a feedback loop, you know, we put out we work really hard, and we put out this really amazing quality product. And people just, you know, lavish all this praise on us. And I'm not gonna lie, we're addicted to it. Right? So it might be a little bit selfish fighter gets you everywhere. Absolutely. We like that boost of endorphins, when somebody says, So, can we care, you know, so it's worth a shot. And the price is good, used to be a lot lower, and it was so low. This is something that might be instructional to your audience. You know, we started with Costco, and you know, we knew how good of a quality was. And so we wanted, we knew that they worked in, you know, in volume, and that they wanted a low price. So we started with we've trying to negotiate, hey, we like this one price. And they said, hey, we'd like a lower price, do we we went in the middle. So we kind of got pigeonholed at this one price. Meanwhile, when I tell you our quality of being is at top 2%. There's really nobody else that writes amazing. That's amazing. And it's such a low price. So what happened was, we got pigeonholed as sort of a, it is a value brand. But even at a higher price get pigeonholed as a cheap coffee, right? So people will look at and they Oh, that price must not be good. I'm thinking about it like wine. I've gotten a little bit better with wine over the years, but I'm still I'm looking at a shelf of a dozen different wine labels that I how do I select the you know, I'm gonna think the more expensive ones the better tasting, right? Of course, that's always not the fact you know, I've been going over to Europe, we're going to start selling wine. And in Portugal, and particularly the wines that are phenomenal. They're all younger wines. They have very short, you know, chains of distribution. And so they're better quality, no sulfites, and they're super cheap. I bought one in the snow weigh $2.58 or something like that. And it was the only it was a gummy. And so it was the only one that was open. And I drank it. And it was highly drinkable. It was a lot better than some of the more expensive ones that we had $2.58 or something on sale. Yeah. Wow. The Paradise are over there for wine drinkers.

Martin Zerrudo 43:19

That's fantastic. When you mentioned Costco, you know, how did you even establish a relationship with them? Let's say I have a company, I'm selling some products. I want to get in touch with Costco. How did you get it done? How did you establish that connection and eventually get sold in their store?

Darron J Burke  43:33

There was a, there was a local marketing person at the Costco that was down the street from us when we first started and she was very good at what she did. She was out in the community and they were trying to, you know, get memberships and stuff. So we found herself at a Chamber of Commerce event where we're giving out coffee and she's trying to sign people up. This is it, hey, we're doing this event at Costco where you can't sell the stuff. But you can set up a booth and give out samples and introduce. It was a charity for the Children's Hospital and we said how could you say no to that? So we did it. And we went all out. I had about four or five Colombian girls, and we dress them up in the hats and the poncho. Love it. It was really great. And people went wild. It's an area where there's a lot of Latin culture and stuff. So they liked it. And we got Customer Review cards. So we had everybody fill them out and say bring in this coffee bring in this coffee. That's amazing. Yeah. And we sent it out of this to the regional office and they ignored us and

Martin Zerrudo 44:36

look great, great demand.

Darron J Burke 44:39

There's so many people that want to get into Costco that they can't you know, right, right. Yeah. But we said how did you break through we my sister in law called them every week for like a year until she finally got somebody say okay, we're gonna set you up. What do you want to do some road shows whatever. And they gave us about To roadshows and, and we did them. So we did the first one and the one in their location where we originally did that thing. And it was great. And we sold more coffee in the history of coffee roadshows in that location. So they're like, Wow, that's great. But they figured we're a Latin brand, sort of their Latin people go to this other area. So we went to this other city, totally different demographic, but we sold even more coffee, we broke our location, too. And they said, Well, okay, go to this other location. Where's the other location, same results. Then they said, go to this other location, a place that I'd never heard of before. We went there, the doors open up, and nobody's in the place. So I'm thinking they must have set us up for failure. They didn't they, you know, and literally, there was tumbleweeds rolling down the aisles. Nobody was there at the Costco. I think I'm kidding. But zero people, there was a kind of, but people started to filter in and people would it was small enough and quiet enough where people would stand there. And they talked to us, and they listened to our story. And so the ratio of people that came in, and the ratio of the people that bought were very high, we I remember a detox center buying like cases and cases, and a church bought a couple of cases. And we did so well there. And they said, Okay, go ahead. And you know, you can be on the shelf. So these eight warehouses, so we got on the shelf permanently of the product by apparently, I mean, we got a shot at shelf space for, you know, for these eight locations, and then we'd have to go and do more roadshows to support those sales. Because if you do X amount of dollars per week, per warehouse, you stay until something different comes along, that's interesting, and then you're gone. But if you do X amount higher than that, then you stay. So we were committed to doing X amount higher than that. So we put all that effort into doing those roadshows and getting our customers, and it worked out. And then we went from a to 22 to 32, the entire south eastern region, and now we're selling our bourbon infused coffee to all over the world. You know, we went, you know, four or five of the regions that Costco here, and then we've been stellia selling to Australia and New Zealand, Taiwan, China, UK, now we're going to be in Sweden, we're going to be in Iceland. So it's blowing up.

Martin Zerrudo 47:28

That's fantastic. Can you talk to us a little bit about this bourbon and spirit infused coffee? I think this is the first I've ever heard of a type of coffee like that.

Darron J Burke 47:35

Sure. Let me talk to that first.

Martin Zerrudo 47:39

It's not the coffee folks is water is water in

Darron J Burke 47:43

this game. This is this is the label just right. And so it's, it's really amazing how other companies do like a bourbon barrel infused coffee. And they take a freshly empty barrel, and they and they put the coffee in there and over a course of days and sometimes weeks. They'll let the Green Coffee absorb the aroma, and then they'll roasted. What we're doing is we're actually soaking the green coffee in these high end spirits bourbon or dual Canadian whiskey iguana. Oh, yeah. And, and we leave it sit for a couple of days. And then we take it out and we dry it and then we roast it. So when you open up the bag, it's this punch of bourbon is amazing. Like really opens your eyes. And then when you drink it, balance of bourbon and coffee. l&l it's in there a little bit spicy, and then you've got the coffee flavor. And you either love it or hate it, but most people love it. So it's works as a business. No, that's

Martin Zerrudo 48:48

fantastic. Is there a is there like a percentage of alcohol content? Or is it purely just the aroma and a little bit of a taste? Yes. So

Darron J Burke 48:57

it's to be able to label it as alcohol free. It's gotta be under half a percent. Okay, it's under half a percent.

Martin Zerrudo 49:04

Got it. Got it. Now, I'm just on your website. Right now that sounds super interesting. But you also have a couple of sub brands here. What is Gustavo is reserved.

Darron J Burke  49:12

So Gustavo is our coffee farm farmer in Colombia. We own a small coffee farm. It's his farm. We gave him a piece of our business. He gave us a piece of his farm. He's taught me everything I know about growing coffee, shout out to Costanzo. Shout out to Istanbul. He's a super good guy. He when I first met him, he took me on a trip to an orphanage where we planted a plantain tree. So you know, the kids can eat plantains rather than you know, giving a bunch of plantains and that's it, you know, feed them out of fish feed them for life planted plantain tree and you've got you know, fruit all year round. So he's, he's that kind of guy. And, and yeah, so we he produces x amount from our farm and we roast it and we sell it on our site.

Martin Zerrudo 49:55

That's fantastic and subtle Earth organic coffee. What's that

Darron J Burke 49:58

about? That's our bed. cellar, it's our number one seller, it's organic, comes from Honduras. And as I mentioned earlier, we have a partner that, that his family has milling and Exporting Company over there and, and we're able to find the best farmers, you know, most is very few single origin estates that produce more than, you know, a few 1000 pounds or whatever 10,000 20,000. So, you know, all the big bigger companies, they'll buy from collectives, where, you know, all the farms, small farms from the local area will come and sell their coffee that you buy from them, but we select our farms, individually based on you know, how good they are at growing coffee, we have a program called sharing certified, and we give back a portion of the roasted coffee sales if they hit benchmarks. So it's the labor is important, you know, you can't have kids working on your your farms.

Martin Zerrudo 50:55

Tell that's your grandfather, but that's okay.

Darron J Burke 50:58

You know, it's a tricky thing, because you know, the farmers, kids grow up growing coffee and farming coffee. And when the harvest comes, it's a family event, you go out of celebration, so you know, the family, the kids, there's just no slave labor, you know? Will people think that's true? Because they put a lot of articles that are mostly, you know,

Martin Zerrudo 51:18

not true.

Darron J Burke 51:22

Anyway, so, um, environmental sustainability is obviously very important. Yeah, definitely. And protecting the environment and also of quality. So, you know, it's one thing if you've been roasting coffee, if you've been growing coffee for generations, it's another thing if your grandfather, your great grandfather got it wrong to begin with, you know, and he's, they just copy that over and over and over again. So the beauty of what we do is we're able to go from farm to farm to country to country, and share best practices with other farmers, and also give back if they hit those benchmarks in those areas. And that maintains quality for us. It maintains, you know, we're a great customer because we write more. For a premium quality, we pay a premium, and it's just a win win all around. Everybody wins.

Martin Zerrudo 52:09

That's fantastic. Few more questions. Darron, again, we have Darron Burke, Don Pablo, from Don Pablo, coffee growers and roasters. You can find out more about them. DonPablocoffee.com been a fantastic conversation. Darron, I feel like this is going to be one of many if you don't mind coming back. Thank you. Few more questions, if you can make give like a quick ratio of online sales were soft line sales, whereas don't public currently, I know you have Costco and Sam's, but you also have a great website.

Darron J Burke 52:36

Yeah, we're, we're kind of in flux. So for the majority of the history of our company, it was brick and mortar. Amazon kept increasing, increasing and increasing, they became bigger than our brick and mortar customers combined. And then now we started with our, our own website, and that's increasing at super high rate. So but then again, we have the seasonal the bourbon coffee is seasonal. And that's sold all over the world that kind of balances out. It's really, you know, sort of half and half at this point. And now we've got this new although we get this new private label customer. Yeah. And the highest classify that he's selling direct to consumer. I see. We're selling to him.

Martin Zerrudo 53:17

I see. For those who be like, hey, if he's in Costco, he's in Sam's, he's doing great with wholesale distribution. Do you mentioned a little bit earlier how important it is to have that ecommerce element? Can you talk to us a little bit more about why, you know, ignoring Amazon, the giant elephant in the room is a big, big nono for anybody who's trying to break into e Commerce today.

Darron J Burke  53:36

Yeah, I mean, there's pluses and minuses to everything. But Amazon is a it's it's really, I mean, I can't say enough good about it. Amazon is amazing. I mean, what it's doing for the economy, what it's doing for people that were at maybe dead end jobs that decided, hey, let me go be an AMA Amazon seller. And now they're selling millions of dollars with a product. It's an opportunity. If I if I could say in one word, I would say it's an opportunity. And everybody should be on Amazon. You know, it's not perfect, right? So there's a lot of negative things. And you really have to be on top, you really have to manage, and you need somebody like yourselves that are experts in the area that can kind of guide you. That makes all the difference, especially if you're starting out and you don't have a lot of bandwidth. You don't have a lot of time to do that yourself. And you don't want to be the one trying to reinvent the wheel. You want to learn from other people's experience. Because it's not, you know, it's not the whole thing. It's sort of new, but the tactics and techniques and strategies that have worked in the past, continue to work on somebody who's expert like yourselves in that area, then you'll definitely succeed.

Martin Zerrudo 54:54

When you guys started off. Did you guys hire an agency? Did you hire somebody internally? How did you get your Amazon footprint going?

Darron J Burke  54:59

Originally? Have we had our own people, and that went well is there was not a lot of competition as much competition it was 778 years ago, the wild wild west back was a wild wild west still kind of is, yeah. But it was different. And we had our own people, but it was very apparent, very quickly that we could benefit from getting an expert in to help us. And we've been using, you know, third party, they're all not created equal your A lot of times what will happen is, you'll get you'll, somebody will reach out to you. And that will be from the A team. And then when you commit to it, you'll get the C team. And it's easy for them to send you all these reports about how well you're doing. But you don't really see the sales increase. And because you're not as sophisticated to understand it all, it all sounds good. So we kind of moved through different third party consultants, if you will, until we found ones that really were able to take good care of us and be committed to the business.

Martin Zerrudo 56:07

That's fantastic. Any tips, because obviously, you know, engaging in some third party vendors or sort of, you know, agencies, it's an investment, right, especially those who are starting off the margins are very, very narrow. And so it's definitely a big decision to make, like you said, You'd rather hire somebody who knows how to run the wheel and try and reinvent it and learn it yourself. You're just burning time and money, right? I think we all agree on that. What are some of the pitfalls, any tips for anyone who's trying to vet these third party vendors? How would you help them navigate finding the right partner for them,

Darron J Burke 56:36

you really do have to know something, right? You have to start Amazon has a wealth of and also, you know, sites like yours, and other third party sellers. They have blogs, and they have information that can help you learn about the metrics and everything and what you want to see, start with a goal to and you know, express that goal, communicate that goal clearly to whoever you're going to be working with. And then you can you know, assess the the success or failure against that goal. That's what I would say, you know, learn as much as possible.

Martin Zerrudo 57:09

That's fantastic. Darron has been a great, great conversation, I don't want to go too far over the time that I agreed on, I feel like we can talk for six hours, we're definitely gonna get you back on the show. We typically end our episodes by asking Who are those that you want to say thank you to anyone you want to show some gratitude to, in the course of your, you know, your entrepreneurial journey in the course of your life, who would like to show a little bit of love to

Darron J Burke 57:09

well, thanks to God, first and foremost, thanks to my wife, who has always been there by my side, thanks to our team, who has been there also and supported us and sacrificed and helped us get to where we're going. Thanks to our customers, the course. I mean, that's, if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here. So, you know, definitely thank you to our customers. Thanks to people like you who put us on a podcast like this, then we're very grateful to you. And I'm sure there's a million other people that I can't think of right now that gratitude,

Martin Zerrudo 58:04

no fantastic, and we really appreciate you, Darron, you're our first guest. We're doing a series of CPGs. And we did reach out to other players in your space. But you're the first one that I got a chance to talk to you specifically about coffee. And man, I love the story from working with your grandfather, the dry cleaners with your parents to the golden Cadillac that was used, because your parents were fiscally responsible to meeting Eliana and Columbia to the gorilla explosion with the $30 Bank Vault, to your sister who's your sister, your sister in law calling Costco every week for a year just to get a shot. Going from roadshow to roadshow 10 years of handing out free samples. That's the recipe for success and praying and never giving any any space of doubt that you know if you're if you're a believer that God is going to guide you along the way. And when you said at the beginning, God willing, oh man, absolutely. God willing, you know if if it's meant to be, it'll definitely be. Thank you so much, Darron, I appreciate it. Please come back again. Soon. We can talk about more things maybe we can talk about. I think we have done a Sidra was also on your website. You want to give little shout out to that one. We didn't get a chance to talk about that one who's done a central.

Darron J Burke 59:14

That's an amazing quality coffee. He's a farmer that's had his farm in Antigua, Guatemala, at the base of two volcanoes for generations. Very interesting history. It's literally an award winning coffee. deep, rich, full bodied, smooth, clean finish. It's an amazing coffee. He's an amazing man. I've got some video like if anybody wants to go to YouTube. Yeah, binders, Stan public coffee.com. You can find this through there. Just go to YouTube and and you'll see his video. We do this one thing we're calling our sizzle reel which takes place in Guatemala where we're giving back some indigenous people that are they're trying to do their own entrepreneurial thing and that's pretty cool, but he's featured in that video. And here's the other thing. I mean, I don't know how open you are to This, but if anybody wants to reach out to me directly to request samples, please do. So. We use. Like I mentioned, we have a 70% customer retention rate. So it really works out for us. Once we put samples out there into the universe. We get lifelong customers. So they can definitely I don't know if you can put it in a link or something, but oh, yeah,

Martin Zerrudo 1:00:22

for sure. Yes.

Darron J Burke 1:00:23

Listen, what's your cat's name?

Martin Zerrudo 1:00:25

Her name is Luna. Whenever I do podcast, say hi to Darron Luna. Luna. Hello, she's super Oh, how many do you have?

Darron J Burke  1:00:36

We don't have any because we traveled too much. But yeah,

Martin Zerrudo 1:00:39

I hear your we had to go to Atlanta to visit my parents, my in laws and my wife's parents. And we had we took her with us. And it was rough.

Darron J Burke 1:00:48

I don't like to travel at

Martin Zerrudo 1:00:50

all. It was interesting experience. But yeah, no, sorry. So tell us how how our audience can reach you.

Darron J Burke 1:00:57

Public, non public coffee.com We've got an Instagram, we've got Facebook, we've got the YouTube channel. You know, do a search Don Pablo Coffee, and you can find it. And if you do find us, ask us for free samples and we have no problem sending them right out in full size and everybody's gonna love them.

Martin Zerrudo 1:01:19

That's fantastic. Again, that's Darron Burke from DonPablocoffee.com Thank you so much, Don Pablo, the one and only for joining us on our podcast. Be well and God bless thank you so much. Thanks, fine.

Outro 1:01:32

Thanks for listening to the What Do You Do Next? podcast. Make sure to tune in again next time and make sure to click subscribe to get updates on future episodes. Take care

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