A small company which was started by two siblings to bring money into the family has grown into Western Australia’s largest Aboriginal-owned coffee supplier.
Blaze Kwaymullina and brother Ezekiel, of the Palyku people near Nullagine, founded Australian Indigenous Coffee in 2013 after looking into different business enterprises which would give their family employment opportunities.
A meeting with a small company operating in the Pilbara would change the siblings’ future after they were told all the company needed was a coffee supplier.
Mr Kwaymullina said they started off sending 5kg of coffee to a little site up near Nullagine, and from there it had snowballed and developed.
“Our blend is inspired by our native country. Some people call it a harsh environment but we prefer to think of it as strong.” he said.
“People in the Pilbara like a really strong coffee, they’re working long shifts so they want something to get them through their hard working day.”
AIC’s first business breakthrough came three years into operation when Fortescue Metals Group started stocking the coffee at a few of its sites.
In 2016, Sodexo started putting the product at numerous sites, not just in the Pilbara but interstate and in schools and cafes in Perth.
“For a long time it was a very small business and we considered closing it down because it wasn’t moving enough product to be a viable business,” Mr Kwaymullina said.
“But our mother had a dream that one day it would make money and in the Aboriginal way, we didn’t want to ignore that.
“Now we’re moving a significant volume of beans, providing machines, training baristas and it’s just grown massively.”