Blake Boyd and Margaret Gibbs, the business partners and women behind Incite Coffee, are relative newcomers to the industry. But it didn’t take them long to realize how infrequently women are appropriately honored in the male-dominated field of coffee.
Founded in 2017 at the height of the #metoo movement, Boyd and Gibbs wanted to embrace high ethical standards in coffee while lifting up the women behind it.
“We wanted to draw attention to the genuine inequality in the coffee business,” Boyd said. “Particularly in farms in places where a lot of women aren’t allowed to own land, yet are doing the majority of the work and not getting paid for it.”
To try to reverse that narrative, the coffee company works to keep women front and center. Incite’s owners achieve that visually on coffee packaging with Asheville artist Nicolette Yates‘ portraits of women behind the beans. You might see the face of Alba Rosa, whose shade-grown Honduran coffee has hints of hibiscus.
Or you might see the face of Ibu Rahmah, a social justice warrior who founded the Ketiara Cooperative in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Rahmah’s work to improve health care, education and gender equality throughout the Gayonese community, is immortalized on the label of Ibu’s North Sumatran coffee.
“Women are the cornerstone of taking care of the community as a whole,” Boyd said.
But it’s not all just pretty pictures. The women behind the coffee company also work directly with the farms from which they source, directly supporting women-run coffee co-ops and nurturing small cultural shifts in regions where machismo runs deep.
“Sometime that means saying, if you have 70 acres of land, even if you deed just one to your wife, that gives you two memberships in the co-op and the opportunity that one of your coffees cups at a better score, which doubles the chances of bringing in income for your family,” Boyd said.
That gives a leg up to women in regions where gender equality might not be at the forefront of discussion. “It’s giving hope and a voice to women that they have the same earning potential as their spouse,” Boyd said.
Incite Coffee Co., she added, is so named because the company’s chief goal is to incite change for women in the industry.
“We’re trying to create a disruption in the way things have always been done,” she said. “Gender equality is important for us if we want an even playing field.”
Learn more about Incite Coffee at www.incitecoffeeco.com, where you can also buy coffee beans, gift cards and other merch for the coffee lover on your gift list. Incite offers free delivery for the Asheville area.
Women-made products for holiday shopping
In the women-first spirit of Incite, here is a list of some of the women-owned local companies in Asheville for your holiday shopping.
Note: There are myriad female-owned restaurants and other businesses not included on this list. With restaurants in a precarious place, consider supporting your favorite local eatery by ordering in and buying gift cards for stocking stuffers.
Small businesses and makers in general need your support right now. Here are just 60 of them:
Afrolachian Gardens air plants, living jewelry and decor: https://bit.ly/33W6qIn.
Casa de Coco, one-of-a-kind garments: www.casadecoco.space.
Echoview Fiber Mill, gifts for knitters and weavers: https://www.echoviewnc.com/gifts.
Fermenti, fermented local food and fermentation kits: fermenti.biz.
Essential Journeys, body care products: essentialjourneys.com.
Roam Collective reclaimed metal jewelry: Etsy store https://bit.ly/3oj1XXS.
Carolina Flowers, wreaths, garden gifts, flower bulbs, flowers: carolinaflowers.com.
Cara May Knits, Small-batch artisan knitwear: www.caramayknits.com
Luxe House Photographic, art photography, portraits: www.luxehousephotographic.com.
Asheville Salt Cave, self-care products, salt therapy: ashevillesaltcave.com.
Arrayed In Grace, ornaments, art: https://etsy.me/2JKYliV.
Nutcracker Ballet Gifts: https://bit.ly/2JMlkdv.
CuteGiftsByS cat keychains: https://etsy.me/2LjckN4.
Martha Skinner art: https://bit.ly/3a0Si4k.
Asheville Tea Company, tea subscriptions, holiday tea: www.ashevilleteacompany.com.
Mother Earth Food, grocery delivery, local products: www.motherearthfood.com.
Lusty Monk Mustard, seriously spicy artisan mustard: lustymonk.com.
French Broad Chocolates: www.frenchbroadchocolates.com.
Ginger’s Revenge, boozy ginger beer: www.gingersrevenge.com.
Dolci di Maria gluten-free treats: dolcidimaria.com.
The Fancy Farmhouse skincare: thefancyfarmhouse.com.
Pickle and Biscuit, pot holders, hand towels: https://etsy.me/37TELc3.
Flora, gift for plant lovers: florabotanicalliving.com.
Shady Grove Flowers, botanical treasures: www.shadygroveflowers.com.
Hip Replacements, fun retro clothes: hipreplacementsclothing.com.
Asheville Bee Charmer honey products: ashevillebeecharmer.com.
Horse and Hero local art: horse-hero.myshopify.com.
Hazel Twenty lifestyle boutique: hazeltwenty.com.
Duncan and York local handmade gifts: duncanandyork.com.
Malaprop’s indie bookstore: www.malaprops.com.
Minx, great clothes, shoes and jewelry: www.minxasheville.com.
Serenity + Scott, locally made makeup and scents: serenityandscott.com.
South Slope Cheese Co., cheeses, food gifts: www.southslopecheeseco.com.
OWL Bakery, local baked goods, food gifts: owlbakery.com.
Masks of Love, locally made masks: www.masksoflove.org.
Honeypot Vintage clothing: honeypotvintage.com.
Postre Caramels, handmade candy, sauce: postrecaramels.com.
Bella and Oliver Soap Co. skincare: bellaandoliversoap.com.
Sunshine Sammies, ice cream sandwiches available for shipping: www.sunshinesammies.com.
Sow True Seed, gardener gifts, seeds: sowtrueseed.com.
Faerie Made, toxin-free nail polish, soaps: www.faeriemadesoaps.com.
Appalachian Sacred Smoke, folk medicine and ritual crafts: www.appalachiansacred.com.
SoulKu, handmade gemstone jewelry: soulku.com
Hopey & Company, local food, candles, wines and more: hopeyandcompany.com.
Red Moon Herbs, tinctures, essential oils: redmoonherbs.com.
Karen’s Spice Kitchen, spice blends: www.karensspicekitchen.com.
Well Seasoned Table, wildcrafted and locally sourced seasonings, salts, sugars and more: wellseasonedtable.com.
Ashley English books for the DIY enthusiast: www.smallmeasure.com.
Batton Clayworks fine pottery: www.battonclayworks.com/.
Silvermoon Chocolates fair-trade chocolates: silvermoonchocolate.com.
Alena Hennessy art, online courses: www.alenahennessy.com.
Asheville Detours tours, gift boxes: www.ashevilledetours.com/.
The Inverse Studio handmade leatherwork: etsy.me/3gBL08x.
Savor Shrub Bitters, non-alcoholic mixers: www.savorshrub.com/.
True North, blankets and mugs: truenorth.global.
Spiral Intuitive intuitive readings: spiralintuitive.com.
Jen Aly Designs jewelry: jenalydesigns.com.
Mary Farmer art: www.maryfarmer.com.
Maria Andrade Troya Pottery, custom pet portraits, ceramics: https://avlpottery.com/.
Becky Zee whimsical critters: www.etsy.com/shop/BeckyZee38104.
Green Orchid Soap Company, soaps, scrubs and more: greenorchidsoapco.com.
Garden Party lifestyle boutique and gifts: www.shopgardenparty.com.
Mora contemporary jewelry: moracollection.com
Altamont Vintage, collectibles and antiques: altamontvintage.com
Instant Karma, incense, tapestries and souvenirs: instantkarmaasheville.com
AdornedLifeDesigns jewelry and leatherwork: https://etsy.me/3npCBYn
Mackensy Lunsford has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years, and has been a staff writer for the Asheville Citizen Times since 2012. Lunsford is a former professional line cook and one-time restaurant owner.
Reach me: [email protected].