Subscriptions and fast growth DTC with Kristina Smith from Big Island Coffee Roasters (episode 401)

Kristina Smith is the Head of DTC at Big Island Coffee Roasters. A multi-award-winning coffee business with sustainability at its core, founded seven years ago they launched a DTC Shopify site 3 years ago and are aiming to double sales both this year and next.

Kristina Smith Big Island Coffee Roasters on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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About Kristina Smith

The last time Kristina was on the show, she was with a footwear company based in Portland, Oregon.

Because of different factors, she has since joined two other companies before landing her current role as head of DTC at Big Island Coffee Roasters.

Kristina says she has always been fascinated with the coffee industry and she’s really excited to work with Big Island Coffee Roasters and the founders.

About Big Island Coffee Roasters

  • Based in a little town called Mountain View on the Big Island of Hawaii
  • Sells globally, with the exception of an occasional decaf coffee or special guest star coffee
  • Maintains sustainability principles by sourcing locally, practicing fair trade, and running the roastery on renewable energy

Coffee and More

Big Island Coffee Roasters produce their coffee with the small batch concept in mind, only roasting the product when an order is placed.

One factor for this approach is the limited space on the island, which means there’s a finite volume of coffee beans that can be grown and roasted at any given time.

Even though their products are at a premium price, it’s still a fraction of what you would normally spend at your favorite coffee shop. Kristina says they’re providing affordable luxury to those who know and love coffee.

Beyond coffee and pure coffee products, related goods such as their Espresso Bites allow the brand to continue growing.

Working with the Founders

Kristina has only been with Big Island Coffee Roasters for four months, but she already has three major objectives to move the brand to the next level:

  • Establish process to enable efficiency
  • Take things off the plates of the founders
  • Provide actual marketing strategy based on what she has seen and done previously

She says she’s fortunate to have worked with great companies and smart people over the years, and hopes to bring all she has learned to the table and bring the company’s strategy further.

Coffee Subscriptions

Coffee subscriptions have grown so much over the past several years, and Kristina shares that the pandemic accelerated growth for a number of reasons.

However, she warns that this isn’t something you set and forget. You always have to work on improving the customer experience and also increase sign-ups.

Operationally, you also have to think about growing your membership while keeping your operations running smoothly.

Kristina says doing subscriptions can be the right strategy for the right businesses, and it’s definitely an important one for Big Island Coffee Roasters.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Affiliate marketing/partnership marketing including adjacent brands and industries, content generators, and more.

Tool Top Tip

  • Kristina says an Excel spreadsheet is still the best for her.

Growth Top Tip

  • Look at the data, find out where your current orders are coming from and who your customers are, and let the information help you make good business decisions.

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • 137: Subscription eCommerce – Jon Butt runs a 7-figure eCommerce business, and launched a seperate subscription site in 2017
  • 390: Discover the perfect DTC Playbook with DTC veteran Mike Stevens
  • 393: Story, content and partnerships for growth with James le Compte from To’ak Chocolate

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