It's no secret that we're suckers for great coffee merch here at Sprudge. The line between coffee and indie fashion is meant to be blurred; both genres offer a means of expression and opportunity, and a way to make a statement about who you are and what you support. Though they haven't yet opened their first cafe, one of the most complete expressions of coffee merch design we've found in 2020 comes courtesy of Coffee and Trap, Atlanta-based entrepreneur Michael Perryman's forthcoming coffee cultural hub and clothing brand.
Coffee and Trap are presently crowdfunding the opening of their first cafe, a multi-roaster set to launch this year with coffees from Red Bay Coffee and Urban Grind. But in the meantime, their merch store already puts some far more established coffee brands to shame. From singular logo design to a collaboration with heritage American brand Champion, Coffee and Trap arrives as much more than just a coffee company with good merch. “We are a Culture brand!” says CEO Michael Perryman in the interview below. I spoke with him digitally from Atlanta.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.
Hey Michael! Thanks for speaking with Sprudge. As a start, introduce yourself and tell us a little more about Coffee and Trap.
I want to thank you for showing interest in my business, it means a ton. My name is Michael Perryman CEO of Coffee and Trap. We are a Culture brand! Our goal is to have a lasting impact on the culture through the use of Fashion, Coffee, Live Events, and Original Content created and curated by us. We hope to encourage entrepreneurialism, creativity, and cultural expression.
We hope that our logo, the Trapper's Cup, becomes iconic and symbolizes those of us who refuse the status quo and instead make our own paths. It is a brand for creators, dreamers, movers and shakers. It's for the Trappers. Lastly, we hope to empower local communities with the opening of our Hip Hop inspired coffee shops. The shops will be meant to fight gentrification, empower entrepreneurialism, and double as an event and meeting space for the Culture.
What part of Atlanta are you opening in? What will the space be like? What is your timeline?
We have not finalized a location as of yet, however, based on our findings we have serious interest in the North Decatur, Buckhead, and North Atlanta. We feel as though these areas have the most unique offerings of clientele, whether it be the students, MARTA stops, or sister restaurants we have pinpointed these areas as our most likely landing spots.
The space will feel like a trendy hip hop inspired coffee shop by day, with trained baristas, hip hop art galleries, and comfortable seating designed for longer stays and intimate conversations. At night the Trap part will shine bright, we will have cocktails, performances, and the best catered food from local Black-owned chefs.
Our timeline is simply 2020, we set a hard goal of opening in 2020 and we intend on sticking to this ambitious goal.
What is your background in coffee? When did you fall in love with it? Who are your big coffee influences?
I fell in love with coffee when I landed my first office job out of school (2006). The job was so boring and mundane that my trips to the coffee maker became the highlight of my day. I eventually drank coffee so much there that it became an addiction so I had to learn more and more.
My number one influence in coffee is by far Keba Konte, CEO of Red Bay Coffee in Oakland. I wanted to learn more about coffee shop culture so I took a trip to San Francisco. I heard about this Black-owned coffee roaster and reached out for some mentorship. He invited me to his roasters/shop and the vibes were unforgettable. Not only was the candied yam latte I ordered sensational but the diverse crowd and ambiance of the shop's design stuck out for me. I felt at home instantly. Lastly, there was a young lady who performed a song called INDIGO that day so having performances at my shop was born that day.
Talk to us more about your fundraising goals.
Our goal is to raise $20,000 from the community, so far we are a little over $8,000. We will either go til we can’t go anymore and simply take out loans or we will fundraise til the end of the year giving the community an opportunity to open a business truly by us and for us.
Which roasters do you plan on opening with? What is your selection process like? What do *you* specifically look for in a coffee?
We will open with 2 roasts from Red Bay Coffee, plus a local roast from Urban Grind, and we will also consistently feature different roasts from across the country. Checking which roast we have for the week we hope will become part of the ambiance.
When we select coffee we are extremely simple: it has to come from Africa, it has to be sourced responsibly, and lastly, it has to be distinctively delicious. Nothing less.
Talk about the planned role of your meeting and events space.
The meeting space aspect of the coffee shop is the most important to us. We envision networking events for creators, writers, actors, and so forth. We want everything from up and coming musicians to comedians to perform on different nights at the trap. And we also want to hold workshops meant to teach a new skill, financial independence, and also community organizing.
Tell us more about it the design work—how do you think about fashion being an integral part of what you're building?
I'm huge on fashion and culture so our merch plays a major role in our brand as well. Our two flagship designs were chosen during a design contest. We wrote up what we were looking for and had over 300 submissions. Based off of our brand we knew that the Trapper's Cup would instantly become our mascot. So after we chose the cup we went with a final more traditional coffee logo to surround it.
We hope that our clothes will become more than just merch. We hope that they become statements. We want our trappers cup logo to be synonymous with the continuous fight for justice. When you see someone walk by with our gear you should instantly know that they are making a statement! A statement of No Fear and Strength.
What comes next for you? What are the next steps of the project going to look like?
The next steps for us are to finalize on a location and begin a more grassroots campaign for crowdfunding. We are blessed to have gathered $8,000 solely from social media, but we plan on hitting the pavement knocking on some doors and passing out business cards. We have made sure to not focus on any Plan B’s until the end of 2020 so until then we will hit the streets as if we are running a political campaign because in many ways we are. A vote for us is a vote for the community and guarantees us one more place that will never stop giving back.
Photos by Alicia Bramwell, courtesy Coffee and Trap.