Founder of Jittery Johns, Kristina Barnes, didn’t set out to start a beverage business. It happened by accident. She reluctantly tried a friend’s unlabeled new kind of coffee experiment called “cold brew”. She was instantly hooked after the first cup, and knew that if she liked it that much, others would too.
No one knew what cold brew was when she got started. She explained it to literally everyone who stopped by. One thing was clear: people loved it!
During their first year, she kept her day job as a user experience researcher, where she spent days talking to people about what worked and didn’t work on electronic screens. While she didn’t have previous grocery experience, her background in product design and consumer research and marketing gave her a strong foundation to develop an engaging line of beverages. She hustled at night and on the weekends, did deliveries before work, and got a lot of positive market validation.
Their second year, they took on more big accounts, word started getting out, and cold brew started gaining in popularity. Kristina knew there was something important happening at that point, so she quit her job to focus exclusively on taking Jittery John’s to the next level.
Knowing that 70% of her cost is the coffee she buys, Kristina became aware of the power of her buying choices, and decided to use them to contribute to other female entrepreneurs. “We joined ‘1% for Women,’ a non-profit that helps women in agriculture in developing countries. We now buy all our coffee from a cooperative in Columbia in which women do the farming and run the entire business. These women are committed to producing an incredibly quality cup of coffee, growing their business, and taking care of the land they farm. I consciously choose to buy my coffee from the regions and the producers where good can come of it, with the goal of having a positive impact on lives.”
“I have 2 young children, and it is wonderful when I take them grocery shopping and they spot Jittery John’s on a shelf. ‘Mommy, that’s your stuff!’ There are so many good lessons embedded in the business for my children. And when they ask, ‘Mommy, why did you start doing this?’ I love to tell them about the business, our customers, and also how important it is for us to do good in the world beyond ourselves.”
“We’re at another big expansion point now, which is very exciting. We put our heart and soul into every bottle we produce, to bring you an amazing coffee experience from one coffee lover to another.”