This article is part of the “Write For” series, a collection of writings produced by the University of Central Arkansas Department of Writing to highlight incredible organizations that rely on professional writers. To learn more about Professional Writing and the opportunities it offers graduates, click here.
Folgers Coffee tells its customers that the best part of waking up is Folgers in their cups. But people who hate their soul-sucking jobs will tell you that no amount of Folgers can make them want to roll out of bed. Employees at Westrock Coffee, a Little Rock-brewed startup company, don’t have that problem. This is because their work combines a great cup of joe with the greater good.
Westrock Coffee is a 4-year-old social enterprise–a business that makes a profit while actively working to better the world. (Other prominent social enterprises include TOMS, Sevenly and Harry’s.) Westrock invests heavily in the Rwandan and Tanzanian communities that produce the company’s coffee, providing fair wages, fresh water and farming classes.
Leah Floyd, sales and marketing coordinator at Westrock, said writers play their part in executing the company’s mission. For instance, a freelance writer was hired to write a script for the commercial featured below:
If you watched the video and got the impression that Westrock Coffee cares about its beans and the people who harvest them, it’s because the writer worked hard to translate the company’s unique business model into a message that makes coffee-drinkers want a mugful.
Floyd explained that writers are valuable, because it can be hard for the company’s employees to shift gears from speaking with coffee experts to speaking to customers.”A lot of times, we know what we want to say – we just don’t know how to say it,” Floyd said. She said a professional writer at Westrock Coffee would serve as a “middleman” who can understand coffee-producers’ concepts and convey them to coffee-drinkers using everyday language.
The commercial featured above can be viewed online around the world, but Westrock Coffee writers’ work could also appear right on the shelves of their neighborhood supermarkets. Floyd said the company has a need for writers who can produce coffee packaging designs. For these projects, she said it would be ideal if a writer was familiar with Adobe Illustrator. “It wouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but it would set you ahead of the curve,” Floyd said. It also wouldn’t hurt to brush up on common printing terms and coffee lingo.
Floyd said a writer would be a valuable member of the Westrock team if he or she could be a “calming presence” who would delegate throughout the idea-production process. She explained that a unified company voice is something that has been “very, very hard” to establish at Westrock, because there are many individual visions for how the company can be successful. “When you have 20 people with 20 different expectations, it’s great to have a unifier.”
If you have an empty mug and a passion for helping others, Westrock Coffee just might be your coffee producer of choice. And if you have a talent for translating coffee lingo into everyday English, designing eye-catching packaging and working with a team, they just might be your employer of choice too.