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A Day In The Life Of A Marketing And Outreach Coordinator With Bailey Cherry

by Daria Toptygina on Mar 28, 2024

A Day In The Life Of A Marketing And Outreach Coordinator With Bailey Cherry

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Bailey Cherry, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator at Equator Coffee Roasters, to get some insight into her day-to-day life and see how her creativity, drive, and openness allow her to form meaningful connections in the Ontario community through coffee.


How long have you been spearheading marketing and outreach operations at Equator?


I’ve been in this position for about two years now. In small business, you're always shifting and adapting to what the need is in the moment. This being said, my job has shifted a lot as people have come in and gone out of the company. Currently my job includes things like cafe promotions, cafe promotional material, event oversight, wholesale marketing material – so if our salesperson needs marketing items for wholesale clients, I create that and then send it out, get it to print, that kind of thing. I also run all of our social media and customer communication within social media and Google, so review responses and stuff like that.


What interested you to start working in the coffee space? 


I grew to love coffee by working in our Westboro location. That's what got me going. I didn't like coffee before I started working at Equator. I got hired, and they forgot to ask me one key question, which was  “Do you actually drink coffee?” So I started working in Westboro, and I slowly just grew to love the beverage and love the community surrounding it. That's the biggest thing for me. I love the drink itself, but I really love the community “Hey, let's go get a cup of coffee” is usually less about the drink and more about whoever you’re with. Coffee is the thing that people bond over or sit around. And after having experience overseas I’ve realized it’s the same both locally and globally. 


What do you enjoy most about your work?


Right now, I would say my favourite part is that there's never really a dull moment. I love doing, and constantly being on the move, or in a project. It's constant and it's always adapting and changing. There's always growth in what I'm doing. What I liked about my job in the barista and management setting was the people . . . just being around people constantly. You get to know your people, you get to know your regulars, you get to know the people that you share coffee with every day. 


Do you miss your barista and cafe management work?


Some days. Yeah, there's moments where I'm like, “Oh, man, I could just really use a day working on the bar and making a latte” (and every so often I ask if I can do that). But I mean, for the most part, I get to use creativity in a way that is more authentic to myself in this job. I use creativity in both jobs, it's just different. Both are good and both I love. One is creating beauty and art through food with taste and flavor . . . whereas this job is creating beauty through print, media, and communication. 


What kind of education and/or training did your role require?


Full honesty, not much for me personally, and that has been because of Equator and how they have allowed me to grow into what I'm doing. They hired me because they wanted somebody who understood the cafes working in the marketing team. At the time, I was managing in Westboro, so it was an easy transition, because I was able to properly promote the things that we sell. I understood at a user level and understood the processes of coffee. I don't have a lot of education, I'm going to be fully honest. I have a few college level courses in marketing strategy, just so that I have a basic understanding of things like target markets, audience and those kinds of things. But generally speaking, a lot of it has just been learning as I go . . . it's like, “Okay, I don't know how to do this, let's find a video…” . . . Honestly, just the past couple years have been full of growth, and I'm super thankful for all of them.


Could you walk me through what a typical day looks like for you?


It changes every day, which I love. But generally, I get to work, and the first thing I do is get coffee, because we have a plethora of it. That’s step number one - always. After that, I usually do things like checking my emails, tidying up any loose ends and preparing myself for the emails and potential tasks of the day ahead that will need to be added to my list. After this, I usually respond to reviews, as well as any messages on social media, and then make sure that posts for that day that I've either scheduled or need to post go out properly. After that, I start working on my projects, whether that be marketing material that needs to go out, helping plan for an event that's happening in the future, creating content for social media, it really depends. The days change, but that's kind of the structure. There's lunch somewhere in there, too.


Where do these reviews come in?


Either Google or socials. The other ones will go to different people depending on where they come in. But I'm generally the person that will respond to the reviews . . . So sometimes you're dealing with, “Okay, how can we make this situation better?” because something was not ideal, or “Okay, this is an amazing review, how can I thank them for leaving that?” It's pretty straightforward now that I've done it a lot. At first it was nerve wracking, because you want to make sure that you respond properly for the company. It's good now. 


Did anyone train you in that?


I would ask questions as I go or inform management that they need to deal with a situation. Pretty much I will respond to the review, but they actually deal with the problem. But generally, communication is one of the things I enjoy about my job, so it just kind of naturally came about, like writing an essay, but adding extra care/attention for the person on the other end. 


Do you mostly work alone or with others? And is it in-person or remotely? 


A mixture. I would say my job is very collaborative in that I'm constantly getting feedback and conversing with either upper management or the different department heads within the company. I communicate mostly with Tiffani, who is the Wholesale Director . . . and then I work with Dennis and Amanda, who are the oversights for cafe leadership. And then of course I always touch base with Amber and Craig, the owners, about anything bigger picture, like the full company vision. On a day to day it's a lot of “computer,” so I am alone to an extent. But I will often do my work around people. The actual work itself is very individual minus the concept collaborations. I'm not always in Almonte . . . sometimes it's helpful to work in the cafes. It goes back to why I was hired. I've been a part of them. Staying immersed in it helps me form my opinions and form my communication styles for how to properly communicate with our customer base.


What is your favourite type of coffee to drink?


Good question. For somebody who never drank coffee, hated it, actually, didn't even like the smell when I started back in 2017 . . . my favorite is just a black cup of coffee . . . out of our lineup, I drink Outlier a lot, just because it's really easy to drink. It's super smooth and not very acidic, so I could drink it all day. But if I'm feeling more exciting, I will drink a single origin, which is often super fruity and fun.


How would you describe your journey at Equator from being a barista to a cafe manager to your marketing and outreach work now?


If I was to sum it up in one word, it would be surprising. And that's a weird word. But for some context . . . I walked in looking for a part time job. I was just looking for something to fill the gap until I figured out what I wanted to do, and it became what I wanted to do, which is wild to me. Six and a half years later, I'm marketing the product I once disliked and knew nothing about and now I love it… the growth along the way, the things I've learned, and so many experiences I've been able to have that I just didn't ever imagine would be a part of my life. So yes, the word I would use is surprising. 


I read your interview about your origin trip to Peru. That sounded amazing! Do you have any hopes or plans of going on another trip like that and, if so, is there any particular country you would be most excited to visit?


I want to go to all the countries. There are no current plans, but there's always hopes . . . I love Central and South America. I went as a young girl – I was in grade seven the first time I went to South America – and it was actually Peru. I love the culture, the people, the Spanish, and so I'm trying to learn Spanish. I’m not good at it . . . But I try. I would be interested in honestly going anywhere that I have the opportunity to go for coffee. I think it's so cool to be able to meet our producers and experience that side of coffee because, honestly, without that side, there's nothing. We have no industry without that side of it.


The reason that I find so much value in those trips is because I really do think that one of the best things as a coffee professional that you can experience is an origin trip. It makes me think of one of the key mottos that Equator has: Coffee is more than just a cup in your hand, but a way to change the world for the better. And I think that by experiencing all of the steps along the way, by experiencing the farmers’ livelihood and understanding how much they make and understanding what they put into the day to day… and then experiencing the producer and understanding how the producer sells the coffee and what they priced it at and how they do that… and then us a roaster, explaining and understanding that process and how we roast and why we roast it the way we do… and then understanding the barista and where they come from... I think that all of those pieces are so important, but origins trips are a reminder that it all starts at the farmer. I want everybody to experience them, because they're foundational, in my opinion, to a proper coffee career. You get to fully experience and understand what coffee truly is from the crop to the cup. 


Do you remember how that coffee tasted in Peru?


It was different . . . if you go to a cafe in Peru versus going to the producers, you're getting a different situation. In a cafe, they may have Peruvian coffee, but we didn't do as much of that. We were more with the producers and the farmers. So you're cupping coffees, you're trying like 15 different cups around a table . . . They all have different varieties and different flavor notes . . . I don't have a direct, “Peruvian coffee tasted like this,” but I mean, a few of our coffees, including a Peru that we just had in our lineup, those would be the best examples. We're also trying to roast true to the farmer and what they intended it to be in the first place. We get tasting notes given to us that are . . . like, “Okay, this is what it's supposed to taste like,” or “This is what our cuppers have said it tastes like,” and then we're trying to get it to its truest form based on that.


I noticed that you have recurring coffee sometimes like the Ho Ho Jo and Congo Kivu . . . Are those always the same coffees from the same regions? Do you have a continuous agreement there?


It's based on contract and availability. For example, Ho Ho Jo is more constantly the same because it doesn’t really change seasonally. We have to consider what our Coop currently has on offer. So if Coop Coffees has something one year and then all of a sudden, it just didn't do well that year, we may have to swap it out. But we do have consistency for coffees such as Freakin’ Good, Outlier, our seven core blends, those ones are the most consistent . . . We try not to switch it if it's a core blend. Sometimes it's just a necessity based on availability.


Has it always been the same core seven?


It's switched through the years. We went through a marketing rebrand in 2019, so a lot of the old names are the same coffees we have now. We just changed the name and changed the branding. Nth Degree was Algonquin Dark. Freakin’ Good has always been Freakin’ Good . . . there's a few different ones. There are six core blends that have been around for a very long time that haven't really changed. And then we added Slowburn and Polaris Espresso. We got rid of Slowburn this past year, because it just didn't perform like the other ones. So now Polaris is the most recent additive to the core lineup to make it seven. Seasonals, obviously, are seasonal, and we've just updated the labels. And then single origins are constantly rotating, but we bring back ones that have done well or we feel people liked.


What would you like someone who's interested in doing what you do now to know? Or perhaps, what advice would you give somebody who started off exactly where you did?


Experience is your best teacher. That's probably the biggest thing. I do think education is important, don't get me wrong. If I were to go back, I probably would do a degree first and then go into this type of thing just because degrees open doors. But don't be discouraged. I've been able to get this far by just experiencing things, saying yes to open doors, and just going with the flow. You’ll be surprised what life hands you. It's not that it doesn't take work . . . it's using the experiences that you've had to learn and grow . . . while also being willing to learn and to grow on your own. Don't wait for a teacher to make you write an essay about it or for somebody to teach you something. Take what you have in front of you. You have a computer, you have Google, you have people as your resource. Use those things. You want to get somewhere, use the things that are in front of you. Watch as many videos as you can and mold every opportunity and experience into your teacher.


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