MotMot Takes Local Farmers Under Its Wing



Alvaro Vazquez, Author

Walking around the Seattle University campus, many have probably noticed some brown coffee bags stamped with a colourful bird on the front. However, what they might not know is the story behind its colorful mascot that signifies much more than just coffee.

In a world of industry giants such as Stumptown Coffee and Starbucks, Seattle University’s own MotMot Coffee tries to take a different approach in the way that it runs its operation. Founded by Seattle U alumni Braden Wild, who graduated as an international business and economics double major, along with Seattle U professor Dr. Quan Le in 2014, MotMot Coffee began in the form of “Café Ambiental” with the promise of honoring the land from which its coffee grew, as well as the native people.

“I started MotMot to give consumers a transparent product that returns all profits back to the farmers,” Wild said. Shortly after being founded and rebranded, MotMot Coffee opted to use the Turquoise-Browed MotMot (Nicaragua’s national bird) as their logo as a sign of respect towards their product’s origin.

MotMot Coffee works to go against the status quo by providing a fair deal to the farmers they depend on.

“On average only 20% of the money spent in the coffee industry comes back to the countries producing the green coffee, driving a massive inequality, poor wages, and disconnect between coffee consumers and producers,” Wild said. “MotMot Coffee creates educational opportunities for farmers, and works in solidarity with the farmers [they] buy from to decide the objectives of the business.”

MotMot breaks the traditional coffee industry mold that is criticized for dehumanizing and inadequately supporting these farmers. MotMot makes it clear that the company aims to treat its suppliers as business partners, friends, and most importantly: as humans. This effort is symbolic of the “Fair Trade” movement that aims to “[ensure that] products purchased by consumers are grown, harvested, crafted and traded in ways that improve lives and protect  the environment.”

Wild now works for Starbucks, which has rules regarding employment by outside competitors such as MotMot. Because of this, Senior Marketing and Management major Samantha Henry took over as MotMot CEO with even stronger ambitions.

“Working for this company allows me to combine my passions for business, social justice, and environmental sustainability. I am dedicated to ethical product sourcing, and am thrilled to express my love of coffee through such honest channels,” Henry said.

For Henry, the position comes at an exciting time after MotMot Coffee moved to a non-profit platform that aims to even better empower farmers and their children, working to “[remove] barriers for kids to attend schools, such as transportation or school supplies, [and create] pivotal change for the coffee farming community.”

It is these values and passion for the coffee industry, as well as Fair Trade Agriculture, that has inspired Samantha to pursue a career in the coffee industry and to continue to work for the justice of those affected but the coffee industry.

Moving into the 2019-2020 school year, Motmot is interested in hiring driven and passionate students from multiple disciples and seek to inspire future leaders through a “first- hand account of international trade and business in both Vietnam and Nicaragua.”

Those who are interested in applying can also learn more about the jobs that MotMot Coffee has on May 6 from 6:30–7:30 p.m. in Pigott 100.

Purchasing MotMot Coffee can also be an excellent way to show your support if unable to work at MotMot. Located in The Cave, Pigott, and C-Street, their coffee provides an easy way to treat caffeine craves and support their non-profit mission.

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