How a double shot of support helped create sustainable growth for this sustainable coffee cup company.
After years of running their own successful coffee businesses, Saxon Wright and Adrian Chen were well-versed in the coffee bean business though felt increasingly troubled by the amount of waste it generated. “We looked at all the coffee bean husks leftover from harvests at our coffee farm in China and thought, ‘What could we do with some of those waste products?’” says Saxon.
In 2017, they decided to marry the husk from coffee beans with an innovative design to create a new, reusable coffee cup product and business journey. Not long after, Huskee was born.
In the beginning, they were unsure how the idea would be received by consumers and café owners so the founders decided to test the waters with a Kickstarter campaign. To their delight, the response was extremely positive.
“After launching we pretty quickly had all this momentum and started getting enquiries from all these countries overseas,” says Adrian. “Before we knew it, we needed extra help with our cash flow for distribution. That’s when we found the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card, which gives businesses access to a dynamic line of unsecured funding1. It made it so simple to pay for more stock and keep up with the demand in those extra markets.”
While growing a global business, Saxon and Adrian faced many challenges and curveballs. During those times, they leaned on the Card’s payment terms. “Growing the business internationally, we have payments flying all over the world,” says Saxon. “It’s reassuring to know that we have up to 51 days to pay for purchases2 when facing transit or supplier delays.”
Like many other entrepreneurs, Saxon and Adrian were largely grounded throughout the COVID pandemic, but their American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card use meant they didn’t stop earning Qantas Points. They earned 2 Qantas Points per one dollar spent on Qantas products and services and up to 1.25 Qantas Points per one dollar spent on everyday business spend3. What’s more, the points could be redeemed in a range of ways. “We would use them for office equipment at our HQ,” says Adrian. “Now that things have opened up, we’ll use them to book all our staff flights to business conferences and trade shows and to visit suppliers,” adds Saxon.
Over the years, Huskee has looked for ways to expand its commitment to sustainability. They introduced HuskeeSwap, a free cup exchange program designed to make reusables more convenient for customers and enable cafes to transition away from single-use disposable cups. But building momentum didn’t come without its challenges. “People were nervous about the hygiene of swapping reusable cups. But we’re seeing customers return now as they realise our system is the safest,” says Saxon.
Better still, the movement toward sustainable cups is taking off in some places, which presents a great opportunity for Huskee. “There are now councils and governments that are thinking about ‘How do we ban single-use takeaway cups?’” says Saxon.
The American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card gives Saxon and Adrian the confidence to take risks and continue their tremendous growth. “Having the Card has given us peace of mind about our cash flow and one less thing to think about, so we can focus on experimenting with new materials, new products, and ultimately influencing change,” says Adrian.
As founders and serial entrepreneurs, Saxon and Adrian see the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card playing an integral, ongoing role in their business. “It will continue to support us in terms of inventory and stock. And while the Card has been used to pay for our bills and marketing costs, it’s good to know we earn Qantas Points as we spend and scale,” says Adrian.
As for the future of this sustainable business? The sky's the limit – and Huskee’s passionate founders are determined to always balance financial motivations with more meaningful ones. “When we think about the future we want to not only scale up our products, but we also want to scale up our positive impact,” says Saxon.
Earn 100,000 bonus Qantas Points4 for your business when you apply for the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first two months from Card approval. New American Express Card Members only. T&Cs apply.
American Express approval criteria applies. Subject to Terms and Conditions. Fees and charges apply. All information is correct as of 9 August 2023 and is subject to change. This offer is only available to those who reside in Australia. Cards are offered, issued and administered by American Express Australia Limited (ABN 92 108 952 085). ®Registered Trademark of American Express Company
1. No pre-set spending limit does not mean unlimited spending. Your purchases are approved based on a variety of factors, including current spending patterns, your payment history, credit records, and financial resources known to us.
2. Extend your cash flow by up to 51 days: Depending on your method of payment, when you make a purchase, when your statement is issued and whether or not you are carrying forward a balance on your account from your previous statement period. If you pay by direct debit, your payment will be processed 10 days after your statement is issued.
3. A business must be a Qantas Business Rewards Member to earn Qantas Points for business. Membership and the earning of Qantas Points as a business are subject to the Qantas Business Rewards Terms and Conditions. Points are earned in accordance with and subject to the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions. Your business will earn 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 of everyday spend, which does not include annual fees, late payment fee, fees and charges for foreign currencies. Your business will earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent at participating merchants classified as "utilities" including gas, water and electricity providers; "government" including the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Postal Corporation, federal/state and local government bodies; and "insurance" excluding insurances offered by American Express. Industry specific earn rate may apply when you use a payment account, payment aggregator, services of a third party or online retailers that sell goods for another merchant. For example, a payment made to Local Government bodies processed through a payment aggregator may earn rates at the government earn rate. Your business will earn 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on the following Qantas Products and Services purchased on the Qantas merchant account (i.e. directly from Qantas): Qantas passenger flights (with a QF flight number), Qantas Holidays, Qantas Branded non-airfare products, and Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Club membership joining and annual fees. Excludes Jetstar. For the full list of exclusions, please refer to the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions.
4. 100,000 bonus Qantas Points: Offer only available to new American Express Card Members who apply, are approved and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on their new Card in the first two (2) months from the Card approval date. Eligible purchases do not include Card fees and charges, for example annual fees, interest, late payment, cash advances, balance transfers, traveller’s cheques and foreign currency conversion. Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any other Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18-month period are ineligible for this offer. 100,000 bonus Qantas Points will be awarded to the eligible Card Member's Account 8-10 weeks after the spend criteria has been met. Subject to the American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions. $450 annual fee applies. This advertised offer is not applicable or valid in conjunction with any other advertised or promotional offer.
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