One of my very first experiences of rejection came when I was interviewed at my local Tesco supermarket as a young, naive and slightly arrogant teenager. I remember bounding confidently through the aisles, a couple footsteps behind the store’s head of human resources, as she led me to a small, pokey office in the underbelly of the supermarket. It didn’t take me long to realise the interview wasn’t going well. I had presumed that if I just turned up, there would be a guaranteed 12 hours a week in it for me, like there’d been for my mates. The middle-aged lady with a serious hair cut clearly had other thoughts and asked me a variety of clichéd interview questions to establish the validity of my application. At thirteen years old I wasn’t particularly well versed in professional embellishment and improvisation, and there was only so many times I could reference my captaining of the school football team as a competency based answer. The straw that broke the camel’s back came when my under paid and over worked interrogator asked me what Tesco’s slogan was and how I would apply it practically, in the increasingly unlikely event that I was to become an employee. ‘C’mon’, I thought, ‘I must know that one!’
“Making life taste better?” I replied, in an answer that sounded like a question. Before waffling on some nonsense about how I would ensure that customers be left with a somewhat improved view of the world, after a brief interaction with me and my five-star service. Wrong. The answer was of course, ‘Every little helps.’
The Sainsbury’s tagline that I had incorrectly presented has changed over the years with their marketing campaigns, but Tesco’s slogan ‘Every little helps’ has accompanied the brand since 1993! It’s a powerful statement and a clever piece of marketing.
To those unfamiliar with the story of how Blue Bear Coffee came about; last Christmas I wrote to a group of friends to raise money for a Teddy Bear fund. The plan was to buy some cuddly toys for the children to hold on to after the traumatic experience of being rescued. A gift that was emblematic of a new start and came from a place of love. We raised about £2000, which allowed for us to engage with some of the more complex life needs of the children who were receiving support from our project’s aftercare department.
The plan for Blue Bear Coffee Co. is to keep trading until we’ve raised over £2,000,000 for projects, such as the one I worked on, investigating human trafficking and caring for survivors. For every bag of coffee we sell, a couple of pounds profit goes into a pot and that is then split at the end of the year between IJM, Unseen and Justice & Care. In the weeks leading up to our launch, I sat down with the Directors of these three amazing organisations and promised I would do every thing I could to make this company successful and get them the money they need to continue doing their excellent work. I warned, however that in the early days, what with our slim margins, it probably wasn’t going to be a lot. Without exception, each of the partnership agencies replied with the same message, “Every little helps.” And I want to pass this message on to every person that has been kind enough to spend their money with us. It really does make a difference, so thank you.