Brew with Pride everyday! Inspired by the idea that gender is more than a binary, more than a spectrum, and more like a whole galaxy of possibilities, co-founders Jevonna Morris and Kels Wilson ran a crowdfunding campaign to bring the first queer-owned coffee truck to Columbus, Ohio, and to build a business that will also give back to their local community:
“Have you ever gone to a coffee shop and felt out of place? Whether the atmosphere was unwelcoming, the prices were inaccessible, or the menu just wasn’t your cup of tea, we know how that feels, and we want to make a space for you. Hi, we’re Jevonna and Kels, and we’re opening The Galaxy Coffee: a coffee truck for everyone! As baristas and former coffee shop managers, we have a lot of pride in the coffee we serve. We also have pride in who we are — a small, local, queer and trans-owned worker cooperative with a commitment to building community and paying it forward.”
We sat down with the co-founders to hear the story behind their campaign, and to learn about their vision to build an inclusive, accessible environment where people of all genders and generations can gather, work, connect, and hang out for coffee in a safe space where no one should ever feel out of place.
Read on for the Q&A and then watch their videos below to learn coffee recipes that you can try out at home!
INDIEGOGO: How and why did you become coffee entrepreneurs? Was it something you always intended for yourself?
JEVONNA MORRIS: I’ve always loved coffee shops, especially ones with character, where it feels familiar and easy for people to just be themselves. I met my wife thanks to a coffee shop! She was a regular at a place where the barista, a good friend of mine, set us up on a blind date ten years ago. But it wasn’t until I was in an office job I hated that I realized I wanted to open my own coffee shop. So I quit my job, applied for a barista position down the street, and worked my way up to general manager. I spent a few years learning the ropes, and now I’m ready to use that knowledge to start this coffee truck with one of my best friends, Kels, with plans to eventually open our own coffee shop someday.
KELS WILSON: I knew I didn’t want to follow the typical path after business school, but I didn’t actually know what I was going to do. I applied for a few barista positions because it had been my favorite job so far. This is how I ended up meeting Jevonna – she actually interviewed me for a job! When she asked where I saw myself in the future, I was honest about my dream of a queer coffee shop, and her face lit up. (That was when I knew I had gotten the job). Ever since then we’ve been talking about this little dream we shared. I can’t believe it’s finally happening!
INDIEGOGO: What makes your Indiegogo project unique?
KELS: We’re unique in many ways! We’re the first queer-owned coffee truck in Columbus, Ohio; we’re a queer and trans-owned worker cooperative; and we have a Community Jar for customers to pay it forward when they can, and use when they need. We’re also prioritizing having an accessible and inclusive menu with vegan, gluten free, and sugar free/low carb options, all for no extra charge. Our name is also unique! It comes from our queer community — from the idea that gender is more than a binary, more than a spectrum, and more like a whole galaxy of possibilities.
JEVONNA: We’re opening a coffee truck because it’s the perfect way for us to start off with less overhead than a traditional coffee shop, grow our business from the ground up, and build our customer base while connecting with our community.
INDIEGOGO: What’s your biggest piece of advice for folks in the queer community who want to start their own indie business?
KELS: Reach out to a wide variety of queer people in your community — especially BIPOC, trans, and disabled people of all generations, and build genuine relationships with as many people as you can. Our biggest donors haven’t been the richest people in our lives, but they’re the people who believe in us because we’ve built that trust over years of investing our time and energy into our relationships and our community.
INDIEGOGO: What are some campaign perks you’re excited about?
JEVONNA: Well you gotta love a sticker pack, especially one featuring dueling space unicorns in love. We’re also a coffee truck, so of course we have coffee mugs and tumblers! And our four hidden perks, which we’re unlocking at each $10,000 benchmark of our campaign, are a sew-on patch, a bandana, a tote bag, and (best for last) our unicorn-themed fanny pack!
While the campaign is now closed, if you want to learn more about the Galaxy Coffee Truck, check out their campaign page today!
DIY Coffee Recipes
Now that you’ve gotten to know them and their campaign a bit more, read on for some delicious iced coffee recipes that Jevonna and Kels have created to help perk up your hot summer days.