Six-time All-Star NBA player for the Miami Heat, Jimmy Butler knows a thing or two about being the best, and bringing a Championship to South Florida is his central focus. In recent years, however, Jimmy has developed a passion for coffee.
So, like millions of Americans, Butler started a side hustle to pass the time and make some extra cash during the pandemic. Butler began selling coffee to fellow players in the league’s Disney-based COVID bubble. Each player had $2,400 in cash per diem so Jimmy took full advantage, charging $20 per cup and hoping for even more.
"There’s only two 20s in every envelope and then every other bill is a $100 bill, so my plan was I’ll give them some good coffee, they’ll come back, they’ll come with two 20s the first two times and then the next time, they’ll have to pay me $100!" Butler told Yahoo Finance.
Nobody paid $100 for a cup of coffee, but Butler is nonetheless, cashing in, turning his hobby into a full-fledged brand, Big Face Coffee. An early partnership with Shopify (SHOP) helped get the company off the ground.
“They did a great job of really helping me, a new entrepreneur, really find out what to do, how to do it, and how to make it as seamless as possible," Butler said. "So I'm super grateful for Spotify because I had no idea how difficult this whole venture thing really is.”
Big Face is now sourcing coffee around the world and selling it along with various merchandise direct-to-consumer on its website.
Most days Bulter drinks eight or more cups of coffee per day. Sure, Butler loves the caffeine buzz but hopes the brand will help bring people together to enjoy it. "Whether you have cold coffee or hot or iced or nitro brew, or you drink almond milk or oat milk, coconut or whole or skim, whatever it may be, there’s always a conversation to have, between what some people call strangers, whenever you walk into a coffee shop. But all y’all have something in common.”
Big Face has plans for cafes in Miami and San Diego, where Butler lives in the off-season, but Butler's thinking big plans globally.
"This coffee thing is real, and it's going to be in grocery stores," he said. "I promise you, I'm going to have a bunch of different cafes all over the world, not just in the States, all over the world.”
Butler has one simple but surprising expectation for his shops, and it has nothing to do with what’s brewing,
“I just want everybody to be able to sit down in my cafes and not take pictures, not be on social. Just sit down and have a nice conversation, meet somebody new, talk about what you all have in common,” he said.
Big Face sources coffee beans from farms around the world including Ethiopia, Honduras, Columbia, and El Salvador.
Butler wants a cup of the $100 billion global coffee market, but the burgeoning barista is more focused on the spiritual benefits of his brand than financial gains. Butler says his goal is to “try to get everybody to understand you got so much more in common than you do not, you just gotta sit down and talk it over a cup of coffee.”
Dave Briggs is an anchor for Yahoo Finance Live. Follow him on Twitter at @davebriggstv.