By Keeva Stratton
Need inspiration? RESCU spoke to Jaqueline Arias, female entrepreneur, filmmaker and business owner, to discover her journey: how she turned the humble coffee bean into a BRW Fast 100-listed business.
Having arrived in Australia as a child refugee, only to become an award-winning documentary filmmaker and now owner of the BRW Fast 100 listed company República® 100% Fairtrade Coffee, Jaqueline Arias is a true story of remarkable female achievement.
República® is both a profitable enterprise and a pacesetter for the humanitarian promotion of fair trade in Australia. RESCU had to find out more!
RESCU: What have been the biggest challenges to date?
Jacqueline Arias: In business the challenges come on a daily basis, but the biggest challenge is being a small company with small budgets competing alongside big multinational brands. It’s not easy. However, we focus on what we do best – all República® coffees and drinking chocolate are 100% Organic and Fairtrade certified, and we’re obsessive about quality and taste.
RESCU: Did you ever think of giving up?
Jacqueline Arias: Never. I’m driven by the idea that we all want to make the world a better place, and República®’s Organic and Fairtrade coffee is a small and effective way we can help to achieve this. When you’re passionate about something, giving up is not an option. So no matter what the obstacles are, I always get up in the morning with a clear vision in my mind: to educate all Australians about Organic and Fairtrade, because it makes a difference to someone on the other side of the world.
RESCU: Why is Fairtrade important?
Jacqueline Arias: Fairtrade is simple. It’s about ensuring Farmers in Third World countries who grow the products we love, like coffee and chocolate, are paid fairly, so they can afford basics like education and health care. As Australians we’re big believers in fair pay for a day’s work – well, it’s the same whether you live in Timor, Colombia or Australia.
RESCU: If you could go back to the beginning of your career and give yourself some advice in hindsight, what would it be?
Jacqueline Arias: I’m a really focused person and always on the go, so my to-do lists are notoriously endless. It means that I’m not good at taking time out to enjoy the milestones and celebrate the wins. It’s something I often regret and would like to change. So the advice is: stop, take a deep breath, look around and pop open a bottle of good champagne once in a while. Toast, drink-up and enjoy with all the great people around who contribute daily to building República® Coffee.
RESCU: What do you think has been your greatest achievement?
Jacqueline Arias: My vision was to make Fairtrade available to all Australians so we can make ethical choices. When I walk into a supermarket and see a person I’ve never met pick up a República® coffee or chocolate, I really get a warm and fuzzy feeling, because they’re buying something I’ve created, and, more importantly, they believe in doing the right thing, by choosing organic and Fairtrade. That’s an achievement.
RESCU: What have you learnt about coffee?
Jacqueline Arias: There’s so much to say. There’s entire books about coffee. However, one of the interesting in-the-know stories is how good Timorese coffee is. What most people don’t know is that when the Portuguese colonised Timor, they planted really beautiful great tasting coffee, and the seedlings were left on the ground during the whole period of turmoil. Once the Timorese started exporting their great coffee again, the world realised just how delicious it is. It’s our best selling coffee, República® Organic Timor.
To learn more about República® visit http://www.republicacoffee.com.au/
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