Ben Cloud, a Shawnee Mission North junior and new entrepreneur, took four business classes last year, and that’s where he got the idea to start his own business.
Those classes — introduction to business, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and business management — inspired him to open Clouds Coffee Company, an online coffee retailer.
It took Cloud a year to work on the concept, and he launched the company three months ago.
“It’s so time consuming, but it’s all 100% worth it,” Cloud said. “The experience has been unmatched to anything else you could learn in school. I’ve made so many connections and made so many new friendships that I wouldn’t have made [otherwise].”
Cloud said the purpose of the coffee company is to provide organic and fresh specialty-grade coffee. Cloud says the coffee beans are sourced from Peru, Mexico and Indonesia, and he ships them to a roaster in California.
Cloud also sells bags of coffee at health and wellness center Osteostrong and also supplies SM North’s Brickhouse Coffee Shop.
Most customers, he says, simply order bags of coffee, gift cards or stickers online. Bags of coffee are packaged and shipped from California, immediately after roasting.
Currently, Cloud offers six different types of coffee at his online shop, including a seasonal pumpkin spice blend.
Cloud said customers’ top choice so far is Bali Blue.
“The Bali Blue, that is a single-origin coffee grown on an active volcano in Bali, Indonesia,” Cloud said. “That’s kind of one of my main marketing points for that coffee — ‘Hey, it’s grown on this active volcano,’ and it’s my best seller.”
Now that the company is three months in, Cloud said he’s working to shift the roasting process from California to Kansas City. He’s also trying to expand his reach by connecting with other high schools and local churches, as well as selling bags at the Broadmoor Bistro at the Center for Academic Achievement for a Thanksgiving special next month.