{Interview} Wes Herman of The Woods Coffee

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A brand “experience” is more than a building or a logo, but rather the overall feeling you have when you are feeling the soul of the brand in everything you see, touch, smell and taste.

That’s why I tapped into the mind of Wes Herman, founder and branding genius behind the Whatcom County, Washington-based The Woods Coffee…his brand not only has a warm nature feel, but a subtle ‘green’ positioning as well.

I LOVE how The Woods have done an incredible job of embracing multi-sensory branding so customers can truly escape into The Woods!  Enjoy.

NAME OF COMPANY: The Woods Coffee

WEBSITE URL: www.thewoodscoffee.com

COMPANY: A collection of 12 coffee shops in Whatcom County (NW Western Washington). Featuring traditional coffee and non-traditional beverages, along with bakery items from The Woods Coffee bakery.

YEAR BIZ LAUNCHED: 2002

TARGET CUSTOMER/NICHE: The coffee crazed folks of the NW!

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA TO START YOUR BUSINESS? With 4 teenage kids who were drinking a ton of coffee at the same time as I was traveling the U.S. selling a product into the coffee industry, we decided to pool our passion for coffee to create The Woods Coffee.

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: Most recently, the former CEO of Starbucks, Jim Donald. Jim reminded us why we started this business and what it looks like to achieve more than others think you can.

WHERE DID THE NAME COME FROM AS WELL AS, THE THEME/OVERALL IMAGE/BRAND? The name came from my daughter Natalie. After months of names and themes, it all came together with the name of The Woods Coffee. The NW is filled with trees, so the interiors feature trees and have a warm ski lodge feel, which is part of our brand image.

WHAT WERE SOME CHALLENGES/MISTAKES YOU MADE ALONG THE WAY?  Basically, if you could go back, what would you have done differently? From day one, we have been blessed to have hit on all cylinders! We were at the right place at the right time. There is nothing we would have done differently. We love what we do and continue to grow what we started with the same teenagers now running the show!

WHAT ARE YOUR 3 BEST MARKETING STRATEGIES TO GETTING NEW CLIENTS? Be genuine on all you do. People appreciate that!  Pay attention to the little details, it’s what separates you from the rest.  Care for your people and they will care for the customer.

IF YOU HAD TO NAME ONE THING THAT HAS BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN CATAPULTING YOUR BUSINESS TO SUCCESS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?  There is no single thing, but lots of small things that add up. The strategic property that set us up for who we are today (based on customer perception) is the Blvd. park site. There is no other place where the ocean laps up against a coffee shop like it does there. It’s a must see! Taking an old boiler room and transforming it into a world class coffee shop has really impacted the community and add to life in the park!

WHAT ADVICE/LESSONS DO YOU HAVE FOR NEW BUSINESS OWNERS?  As an entrepreneur you must trust what you see. It will always be different then what others see. There were quite a few businesses that passed on Blvd. Park because they couldn’t see it working. We saw it from day one, never waivered and built one of the finest coffee shops in the world! 

OTHER:  Serve others. Make a difference. Have fun!

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Special thanks to Wes for his amazing interview.  I owe you one!

Photo’s Courtesy of The Woods Coffee.

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