Dailima founders Yara and Franco

Did you know that coffee can taste of peach, honey and dark chocolate? International Management student Yara Flores has been involved in the world of specialty coffee for quite a while and has even launched her own company in this field. Dailima imports Peruvian coffee grown in the Amazon region at more than 1,200 meters above sea level by the Tello Grandez family. "When searching for a cooperation partner, securing a long-term partnership was particularly important to us," explains Yara. Yara and her founding partner, Franco Sanchez, discovered what they were looking for in the family business Tello Grandez, run by three sisters.

Generally speaking, our main priority is 'empowerment,' so we also make sure to incorporate as many female-led companies as possible along the entire value chain.

Dailima is, therefore, also more than willing to pay a price for its coffee that is over and above the fair-trade level.

Magally Tello Grandez on the Grandez finca.Magally Tello Grandez on the Grandez finca. Together with her sisters, Karina and Jessica, she runs the company originally founded by her grandparents.

How did the enthusiasm for coffee lead to the launch of a successful start-up? Despite attending the same school in Lima, Yara and Franco met by chance – and through a portafilter machine. "Franco's portafilter machine often played the leading role in his Instagram story. I'd been considering buying one for a while and just wrote to him asking for a recommendation. And that's how we got to know each other." They based the start-up on a project that Franco had come up with during his Master's course.

Foundation from afar

Global developments brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic meant, however, that the start-up project faced many challenges from the beginning. Yara and Franco had to get to know the Tello Grandez family online and the team also had to rely on acquaintances and friends back in Peru for support with any problems that arose locally. "I'll never forget sitting in Germany and having to organize a forklift at super short notice to transport the coffee to the port in Lima," Yara recalls. In the end, however, Yara and Franco were able to overcome all the challenges – also thanks to their personal connections: "Our network has been crucial every step of the way towards establishing Dailima. The people around us were an amazing help, especially in these very challenging situations." This is also illustrated by the packaging, in the Peruvian national colors of red and white, which was designed by friends of the founding team.

Locals help the Tello Grandez family with the harvest.The main harvesting period is between May and June. Locals help the Tello Grandez family with the harvest.

The first ever pack of Dailima specialty coffee was sold on October 21, 2020. After what seemed like an eternity and many uncertainties, a real sense of achievement:

Seeing as all our planning activities had to be carried out digitally, there was something very surreal about the project, and to this day I sometimes look at a pack of Dailima and almost can't believe we did it.

The team was also much assisted by the experience gained from their jobs and studies.

"We had encountered basic economic concepts in our degree courses. That made financial planning a lot easier. For example, we were able to do the precise calculations in advance."

View over the growing area in the Amazonas region.The coffee plants grow at 1,200-1,800 meters above sea level.

Patience and madness

Yara would recommend patience above all else for anyone looking to start up a business. "A business isn't built in a day and consistency is undoubtedly the basic prerequisite that will secure your success." Further, a genuine passion for the project is, of course, one of the most important elements, but it also requires a bit of madness to take the plunge in the first place.

We live in a society that wants to avoid risks at all costs, and it takes a certain 'f*** it' mentality to just go for it.

This attitude has helped the Dailima founders achieve a lot in a short space of time. Yara and Franco have already set their sights on increasing the volume of imported coffee and relocating the coffee bean roasting process to Germany. "Moreover, we want to increase our involvement in the journey of female empowerment. To this end, we've already had initial discussions with other small businesses to establish a 'Women in Coffee' foundation."

Would you also like to start up your own business? The ISM Entrepreneurship Institute is always happy to help with all your questions and concerns – whether you are still in the initial idea phase or have already founded a start-up.

Lara Tautz

Lara Tautz

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