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Meet Chel L. Loyd of Dope Coffee Company in Downtown Atlanta

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chel L. Loyd.

Chel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m Dope Coffee’s Chief Product Officer. I moved to Atlanta with my husband and kids less than a year ago and we came to Atlanta to be game-changers. We knew we had a platform that would empower our community, so around this time last year we decided to empty our bank account, sell our home, and relocate our family.

Growing up, I was always an inventor in the kitchen. If you give me a potato I could craft a 5-star meal from my imagination in 30 minutes. Cooking became a passion of mine, but it went beyond that as I started to realize the health benefits that food possesses. My mom introduced me to coffee. She would buy instant flakes and I would put them on ice cream. I became a holistic creator as I saw the needs of myself and my family. I realized people just don’t have the information, so as a natural problem solver, I pieced the puzzle together to create healthy and flavorful food that prevents and/or helps an issue.

These days, I love curating premium coffee blends for palates that are used to a prevalent amount of favor. Vibrant, bold, and bright describe the taste of each Dope Coffee specialty blend but the words describe our people’s culture. With my knowledge as a dietitian, I ensure every Dope Coffee product is beneficial to us and represents us in the right way. For example, our face and body scrub is 100% organic. It moisturizes, heals, and revitalizing our skin. Or take our Tanzania Peaberry dark roast, which is crafted for the creative who is on the go.

As a student-athlete at Wake Forest. I drank coffee to help keep up with my studies and practices. I needed to stay awake. I also felt like it gave me prestige and it made me feel “the part.” But the taste was horrible. I used to put an unhealthy concoction of ingredients like sugars, creamer, and chocolate dust in my coffee. It led to my blood sugar reaching dangerous levels.

As an adult, I realize all coffee is not made the same. Mike and I owned the Solar Cafe, as I wanted to create coffee that tasted good. It was so natural; I didn’t realize I had an entrepreneurial skill that could change my family’s life. I went from doing “what I could think of and make” to giving people a reason to believe in our brand that goes far beyond the product.

As a co-founder, my vision for Dope Coffee is a platform for our community that allows us to embrace the power of our culture through coffee. All our products save people TIME and MONEY. As a family-owned company, we understand how valuable the two are. Dope Coffee shows people all of the things you can think of and do have a meaning in your life. For me, I’ve grown into the role of managing our roasters, vendors, and brand ambassadors. Plus, having to know the inventory and more has expanded my horizons. I start with a daydream and now I refuse to stop my pursuit of it.

Making a positive impact on the world is my goal, so my children can see a successful reflection of themselves when they are outside of our home. Every day we push our brand, our products, and our culture to the forefront of the coffee industry to show them how potent Dope Coffee is.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest obstacle as a start-up company has been time and money. For us, they go hand and hand because we must use our time to make money. So my natural abilities to invent, create, and problem solve are always overcoming a lack of time or a lack of money. But we, as entrepreneurs, always make it happen.

The learning curve of running a business while creating products has been challenging. I had to learn how to keep my wants and needs in the background while thinking of the consumer needs first. I retrained myself to think of what will help Dope Coffee accomplish its mission. Using my skills is easy but utilizing them to be profitable was a whole new mindset. Initially, it stifled my creativity as I wholeheartedly thought about owning my role as Chief Product Officer. It can get tough especially when you have three founders who all have ideas. Not only am I responsible for producing great tasting coffee but I am also responsible for building and maintaining relationships, so that was a small bump in the road. However, I realized having a positive attitude is the key to balancing it all and still creating new products that help others. Creating should be fun, right?!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Dope Coffee Company – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Dope Coffee is an e-commerce coffee company that truly believes in the healing power of brewed coffee beans. It operates as a social enterprise aiming to breakdown cultural barriers in the coffee industry while inviting everybody to the premium coffee party. We specialize in creating an environment where Black people can be conformable expressing themselves without worry. To Dope Coffee, cups of brewed beans entice conversations and represent comfort through our culture, Hip Hop and, of course, coffee. Mike, Julius, Stace, and I work hand in hand to create a brand in the coffee industry that aligns with the needs and aspirations of our culture.

What I am most proud of at the moment is every Dope Coffee product, commercial, pop-up shop, ATL kiosk, and event is cultivated to appreciate and support Black culture. We display our passion for our people unapologetically and we just so happen to sell some dope coffee. We set ourselves apart from our competition by being ourselves in the coffee industry. We are creatives, we are entrepreneurs, and we are a positive platform for people of color and those who appreciate us. We are a collective voice for our communities’ best interests.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We are definitely excited about the future of Dope Coffee. Our plans for the future are to grow the business, so we can continue to share the Dope Coffee experience with more and more people. Some of this will come thru expanding our local presence through popups, events, and stores. And some will come through expanding our online reach. And of course as Chief Product Officer, I’m excited about the new products that we will be offering in the near future.

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