YouTuber Graham Stephan on Launching Bankroll Coffee Brand: Interview – Business Insider

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Whether he’s filming a video for YouTube or recording a podcast episode, personal-finance influencer Graham Stephan always has a glass of iced coffee by his side. But he refuses to spend more than a few cents per cup.
Stephan, who has five YouTube channels and a podcast called “The Iced Coffee Hour,” is known for his financial advice on saving money. One of them? Skip Starbucks. Viewers should make their own home brew for only 20 cents per cup, he says in his video “how to make 20 cent iced coffee,” which has nearly 600,000 views.
And his new coffee company, Bankroll Coffee, will let him profit from his followers ditching the coffee shop.
Developing consumer products to sell directly to followers has become one of most popular ways influencers are making money off their digital brands. Stephan points to Danny Duncan’s clothing line Virginity Rocks and the Nelk Boys’ seltzer brand Happy Dad as brands he hopes to emulate. And he has competition in the coffee space from YouTuber Emma Chamberlain, who launched her brand Chamberlain Coffee in 2019. 
The idea for Bankroll Coffee started when Noel Ballou, a fan of Stephan’s YouTube channel, reached out in 2020 and pitched the concept.
“Let’s create our own coffee brand,” he wrote in a note, along with his phone number and business card.
As the cofounder of Teez Agency, a social-media marketing agency, and a managing partner of the food blog and snack subscription service Cooking Panda, Ballou had the necessary experience in the space, and Stephan was on board.
“He called me the evening he got it,” said Ballou, who found a manufacturer for the product and offered up Teez for the product’s the design and marketing.
The line of coffee and products they created includes eight different flavors of bagged coffee ranging from $9.99 to $13.99, as well as tumblers, ice trays, mugs, and reusable straws. 
Stephan is a partner in the business, responsible for marketing the products on his own social-media accounts. 
“For me, I would have to learn everything about this, like shipping, how to create a website, and find the right designer,” Stephan said. “Having someone who I work with who does this full-time made it so much easier. For me, it’s all about delegating.”
Of course, launching any of business costs money, and a coffee line is no exception.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the start-up costs, according to Stephan:
After launching the company in June, the first batch of coffee bags sold out within 72 hours, Stephan said.
Today, the business has sold over 5,000 units, and has earned just over $145,000 in sales. They plan to reinvest all of the profits back into the business, Stephan said.
To the save on costs, the company only prints one style of bag, and uses stickers to identify the roast type. The company also split a bulk order of coffee beans with another local coffee roaster to save on costs.
Although Stephan doesn’t plan to sell in stores, he’s looking to expand on the flavors and eventually market the business to people outside his social-media followers.
“Everybody sells merch,” Stephan said. “I think what makes something really good is it can also stand on its own. If I decide to do something else, Bankroll Coffee can still exist without me. I really went into this thinking it could be its own coffee brand.”

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