Beyond Fair Trade

I always used to stop at the Doi Chaang coffee shop on my outings to Kampaeng Saen in search of beef cuts that were not quite as tough to chew through as the meat on offer in the local market.

A stop I always looked forward to.

“Wicha Promyong, a charasmatic, shrewd Thai, provided essential leadership to the Akha in growing their coffee, roasting it, and creating a coffeehouse chain in Thailand to sell it. In Vancouver Doi Chaang Coffee Chairman, John M Darch emphasises that he founded the company not as a charitable venture but as a sustainable alternative form of capitalism that provides a new business model, a win-win approach that provides equitable profit for all.”

Doi Chaang coffee shops Thailand

Despite it being just another coffee chain, it is different and sufficiently different to take a closer look at what made it different.

“As with any venture involving human beings there are complications, misunderstandings, friction, challenges and continual evolution.”

Wicha Promyong and John M Darch are in some ways mirror images of one another from different continents: daring entrepreneurs, visionary workaholics who inspire and lead, but who can drive their colleagues crazy. These unusual men became positive change agents across two continents. The story of Doi Chaang Coffee is also their story.”

It is a concept that challenged the norm at the time. One that is still challenging the market in which it operates. But more importantly it is one that raises questions for which there are answers…….

If one is looking for them.

Coffee shops in Kamphaeng Saen Thailand

 “Asked what she thought about Wicha and Doi Chang, Chome who owns Abeno Coffee and the Doi Chang Resort said ” Mr Wicha was too strong in his talk” adding that he had not only alienated the Lisu but some of the Akha.”

Every venture is built around the interaction between the dominant personalities in any business. A delicate balance which needs to be managed carefully. One which determines the ultimate success or failure of any venture.

It is never easy.

Doi Chaang coffee shop Kamphaeng Saen

But use of the internet offers us an exciting alternative. A space where individuals can work independently of each other, whilst participating in a community build that drives the traffic that adds value to the various projects, each initiates.

A shared resource.  A franchise without the costs, obligations and friction encountered in most business start-ups. A platform that facilitates the exchange and transfer of skills and know how.

“..a sustainable alternative form of capitalism that provides a new business model, a win-win approach that provides equitable profit for all.”

Ask the Locals