Whether on the basketball court or at the bar, Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler is determined to be the best. That’s why he was involved in every step of the process of creating his own Bigface Brand coffee company.
“I want to be a part of every Zoom call, every meeting, every sourcing trip, wherever she is, anywhere in the world,” Butler said on the Dec. 14 CNBC Small Business Playbook. “Just because I want people to know, yes, my name is there on it, it’s part of it, but really I’m in it, I’m really with it, I go to these places and I learn more and more and more every day.”
Like many others at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, the six-time NBA All-Star said he was bored. With new downtime, Butler decided to combine his love of competition and coffee into creating his own coffee brand.
The brand began to gain momentum when the NBA was forced to move its operations and games to Orlando to play off the “bubble” season, where Butler found the coffee options unsatisfactory. Taking matters into his own hands, Butler began selling $20 cups of coffee to his NBA comrades, cups he brewed himself using an espresso machine he brought to use in his Orlando hotel room using beans from El Salvador.
“Since [NBA] I wanted to be the best barista,” Butler said. “Now a Bigface brand, Bigface coffee is the real thing and I’m just trying to bring the best coffee and the best experience to the world.”
Butler officially launched Bigface in October 2021 in partnership with the e-commerce platform. Shopify and through the creator program. Under the program, Butler gets all the profits, and Shopify can use the name, likeness, and likeness of the athlete. Earlier this year, Shopify announced deals with six high school basketball players to help them create their own direct-to-consumer brands.
Bigface currently offers four different coffee blends and a collaboration with coffee brand Onyx Coffee. The brand doesn’t just sell coffee beans – the Bigface site also features clothing like sweatshirts, crew-neck shirts and t-shirts, as well as accessories like coffee mugs and glasses.
“Shopify really made my ecommerce idea [platform] makes sense,” Butler said. “I had all these different ideas and didn’t know how to actually bring them to life. … They made this transition flawless and everything looks so great. I felt so comfortable with the way our business model was evolving and I think they helped me bring this entrepreneurial idea to life.”
Butler said the idea for Bigface came about when he saw the power of people bonding over coffee. He said that as the brand grows, he hopes to open Bigface cafes around the world.
“That’s what it was all built on, trying to get people together and laugh and have a good time, whether you take iced coffee, hot coffee, cold coffee, cold drink, sit down and have a drink.” conversation and see how similar you are as individuals,” Butler said.
Butler’s advice to anyone looking to start their own business: Surround yourself with a team that pushes you to be the best and don’t compare yourself to others.
“Just do what you do, remember why you do it, stick with it, and success is literally on the other side of very, very difficult because it was very, very difficult,” Butler said. “But that’s the fun part, because nothing worthwhile comes easy.”