Life is a balance. You win, and you learn. I refuse to believe I have ever lost, and I encourage you to think the same way.
We are all familiar with the term - 'beginner's luck.' We will try something for the very first time, and voila, it works. We try it ten more times and have no such luck.
Why does this it happen? I like to call it - 'The inevitable balance'
On the flip side of the 'beginner's luck' coin, we have the instances where we work extremely hard, try something for the first time, and fail. We go back to the drawing board, figure out what we did wrong, and try again. Our second attempt runs smoothly, and we are able to get the job done from there on out.
Hence, we never lose. We learn.
This is the founding principal upon which Z Beans is built.
On June 9, 2018, I expected to return from my fourth trip to Ecuador. I stayed there for 3 weeks, working on gathering all of our different coffees and putting together the new supply chain that would allow us to ship by boat. However, I couldn't get the job done. I couldn't get the right pieces in place, the freight forwarders and custom brokers weren't directly coordinating with Marie and Fabricio at Caffe Marie, and I couldn't get the shipping company to the new farmers in northern Ecuador in time.
I took a step back. I reset the plans, pushed my return date back a week, and slowed everything down. After that, the supply chain ran smoothly. We got all of the coffee to Pinas, processed it, and loaded it up on our first 20' container. I returned to The States on June 17, expecting the coffee to arrive at the port of Savannah on July 7.
I get a phone call on June 28. It's the freight forwarders: "Shane, the container was held up at the Panama Canal, and it didn't make it on the ship. The shipment will be delayed a week."
Immediately, I rush to check the inventory we have left. One 100-pound sack. This isn't good. I start thinking of ways to keep pushing forward while also cutting back. "How in the world could a coffee company survive without any coffee?"
The time passes. We make it work.
I receive an email on Friday, July 13 at 2:15 pm. It's the freight forwarders: "Shane, everything looks good. The FDA has released the product, and it will be available for pickup on July 16."
I'm ecstatic. I give our shipping company a call and tell them the great news. They tell me that their truck will be there first thing Monday morning, and I will have the coffee Monday afternoon.
My phone rings. It's Friday, July 13 at 2:37 pm, and it's the freight forwarders: "Shane, I'm sorry. But, customs border patrol placed your container under a manifest hold. They will check over the documents once more on Monday or Tuesday, then more than likely, send it through the scanners. You should, hopefully, get it within a week."
I sit for a few seconds. Head up. Eyes forward. With thoughts pervading my mind. I try my best to stay positive. I try my best to learn.
"What can I do to ensure this doesn't happen again?" I ask.
"This happens, Shane. Customs has the right to inspect and place a hold on any container they want. They don't need to have a reason. We will update you throughout the entire process."
I walk over to our bin of roasted coffee. It's empty.
I walk back to my chair. I sit down. I keep my head high. I stay positive.
I accept my current fate, and I learn from it.
For the next week, we will be a coffee company - without coffee.