Best Friends Turned Entrepreneurs Make Coffee a Win-Win for Everyone

Every small business starts with a dream and a story. Best friends, Nikisha Bailey and Matt Nam, both shared a dream to create a community around the number one ritual in the world – coffee.

Nikisha and Matt testing coffee
Win Win pivoted by focusing on the supply chain as a coffee supplier.

Nikisha, a former executive at Atlantic Records and Matt, who developed digital marketplaces for pharmaceutical companies, both had very different backgrounds but shared a passion for entrepreneurship, community and coffee. In 2019, Win Win Coffee co-founders Nikisha and Matt bet on themselves and embarked on an entrepreneurial journey together to not only empower themselves but bring together and give back to their community through coffee.

Win Win Coffee first opened its doors, six months before the pandemic hit, as a local Philadelphia coffee shop, bar, restaurant and music venue. But in March 2020, the world shut down and like many other small business owners, Nikisha and Matt had to quickly pivot their business model. That’s when they transformed Win Win into a coffee brand, inserting themselves into the supply chain as a coffee supplier. This, they knew, was how they could get closer to the farmers who grow the coffee beans, have transparency and control over how the beans were grown, and make real differences that have a lasting impact on their community.

A Win-Win for the Global Coffee Supply Chain

Nikisha examining coffee beans
Win Win pays farmers more by connecting them directly with Western buyers.

Transforming from a coffee retail space into a café, a coffee roaster and an importer of coffee beans has allowed Nikisha and Matt to bring increased parity, fairness and equity across the entire coffee supply chain. Beginning from when the farmers grow their coffee beans to when a customer sits down to enjoy a cup of coffee, Nikisha and Matt, “want everyone to win and have a piece of the pie, including the farmers in Africa and Latin America, who generally do the hardest amount of labor and earn the least. This aspect of transparency and fairness was very important to us. We want everyone to feel good about the entire process. And that’s what sets Win Win Coffee apart,” Nikisha shared.

Beyond just selling coffee, Nikisha and Matt built a coffee-commodity marketplace that enables transparent coffee procurement and allows them to have an impact on more than just their local community. By connecting coffee farmers directly with Western buyers, they can cut out the middleman costs and pay the farmers more to improve their standard of living and coffee production. “By removing the middlemen who don’t add value, and taking care of the farmers, their families and also the people who are buying the coffee, everyone wins in the process.”

Working With Partners that Amplify Our Voice

Matt and PayPal President and CEO Alex Chriss
Win Win co-founder Matt Nam and PayPal President and CEO Alex Chriss

While Win Win Coffee works to lift up its community, it in turn leans on partners like PayPal for support. “One of the biggest challenges of being a small business is having a voice that is loud enough to be heard,” shared Matt. "Partnering with a company like PayPal, who supports and has meaningful small business initiatives, to help amplify our voice, has been life changing.”

Nikisha and Matt use PayPal Checkout to help their customers securely checkout. “After adding PayPal as a Checkout option on our website, we've witnessed a consistent increase in our e-commerce sales, with approximately 40% of our customers choosing PayPal for their purchases,” Nikisha shared.

They also use PayPal QR codes to allow customers to securely and seamlessly pay at their local pop-up markets, are integrating PayPal Zettle for a more robust in-person point of sale solution, and trust PayPal Payouts to easily pay their employees and suppliers. In addition, “PayPal has played a crucial role in seamlessly processing payroll for our global team,” says Nikisha. “especially benefiting the 20% of our team members that are based in Africa. The reliability and efficiency of the platform has significantly contributed to our business success and ability to scale.”

But, as Nikisha shared, “PayPal has done so much more for us beyond just payments. PayPal has supported us and provided access to capital, mentorship and business resources and networks.”

Through PayPal’s partnership with Black Girl Ventures and the Urban League, Nikisha and Matt have won and gained access to capital through grants, accessed business resources like help with business plans, marketing and PR that have given them the ability to build and scale their business. “PayPal has been a true accelerator partner for us,” says Nikisha.

“PayPal is doing a really great job to enable small businesses to grow with them,” says Matt, “they’re a true partner. It’s really cool to see a large financial institution, like PayPal, taking these steps, to help and really support some of these small businesses because sometimes you just need a push, or some steam from a bigger engine, like PayPal, to really get going.”

In turn, Nikisha and Matt work closely with a nonprofit called Power Corp Philadelphia, which is a minority workforce development program that works with formerly incarcerated citizens to hire and train them as employees. “This is something that is super important to us, as our city, Philadelphia, has one of the highest rates of recidivism in the country,” says Nikisha.

Encouraging Small Businesses to Bet on Themselves

Nikisha and Matt at PayPal office in NYC
Nikisha and Matt at the PayPal office in NYC

After a lot of hard work and success, one piece of advice Nikisha and Matt offer to other small business owners or folks like them with a passion and a dream is to, “bet on yourself! Even when the road isn’t very clear, put faith behind yourself,” says Nikisha.

These three words, bet on yourself, allowed Nikisha and Matt to turn their coffee dream into a growing business, global technology platform and a win-win for everyone in the coffee community.

(Newsroom Ad tile) The Modern Enterprise
(Newsroom Ad tile) Small Business Spotlight
Stay up to date.

Sign up to receive the latest news to your email.