ARTIST INTERVIEW: Casey and Ally of Canyon Coffee

Casey and Ally of Canyon Coffee met in Los Angeles in 2013. A musician and model, they started to get more into coffee at home together and through their travels for work. After making some friends in the coffee industry, they hatched the idea to create their own brand in early 2016, and launched Canyon Coffee October of that year. Inspired by their travels and the work of other artists, they boiled down their brand identity to one line: if Georgia O’Keeffe had a coffee company. They are excited to continue traveling and collaborating with new people, artists, and shops. We spoke to Ally and Casey about their back story, their inspirations, and the work it takes to build a small business.
 
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Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are? 
We met four years ago, and half a year later we were living together. We were both traveling a lot for work—Casey for music, Ally for modeling—and we both started getting more and more into coffee. On the road, we’d always find local roasters to check out, and send each other beans to try back home. When we were both home, we really began to treasure our mornings together; being able to wake up and make each other coffee. Before long, we became our friends’ go-to for all things coffee… how to grind for a chemex, how hot the water should be, where should I get coffee in Nashville, etc…

A couple years ago, Casey started working in the coffee industry and became friends with James (who’s now our roaster). Early last year, we had the thought: why not make our own coffee? We liked the idea of working on something together, creating a product that’s tangible (a big plus being from industries that work largely with intangibles), and having the opportunity (excuse?) to collaborate, travel, and meet new and interesting people.

From the moment we decided to do this, things have really fallen into place. Friends have been super encouraging and supportive.

 

Do you have a daily working routine? what is it like?
Every day starts with a black cup of coffee, made by whichever one of us wakes up first! Since we work and sleep together, we keep work off-limits until an agreed upon time—usually 8:30AM. That way, we’re not bugging each other about work stuff until we’ve both had time to ease into the morning.

We usually start with a check-in meeting to go over each aspect of our coffee business: accounts, roasting, packaging, finance, marketing, social media, events, collaborations, etc. We always outline tasks in our meetings, and prioritize the critical ones. That way, we never leave a meeting without a clear understanding of what needs to get done immediately afterwards.

From there, each day is different. Usually one of us is working from home, and the other is out making deliveries, having meetings, or at our roasting facility. We do our best to prioritize our health, making time to get in a hike, walk, or yoga.
 
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What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
We’re always envisioning or planning a trip somewhere! And with that comes a lot of magazines, books and research of new places. That process is inspiring to us, as is the excitement of having an adventure on the horizon…

On a daily basis, meditation, yoga and getting out in nature are really crucial for us to keep fresh, grounded and inspired.

 

Are you inspired by the environment around you? How does the home/city/nature you live in affect your work?
Yes! We feel very fortunate to be living in Los Angeles at a time when so many creative endeavors are taking root—in food, art, music, design, etc. There are some great things happening, and it’s really fun to feel a part of it.

We feel surrounded by a community of friends who are doing creative work; you could almost say it’s our culture. It’s a very supportive community, and there’s so much room for collaboration—which is a big reason why we wanted to start a company in the first place!

More literally, I think our physical surroundings—our home, the beach, Venice, the Santa Monica mountains, Topanga Canyon — play directly into our work with Canyon Coffee. We feel very fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the world, and to be able to enjoy it. It’s played into our perspective, and that has fed directly into our creation: Canyon Coffee.

 
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