Hall of Fame Alumni
- Founder and Director
About Me - My Biography
Jacqueline Arias established República five years ago, after witnessing the effects of the existing trade programs in her native Columbia. Always a leader, never a follower, República put the first Fairtrade Organic coffee and drinking chocolate on Australian supermarket shelves. They were voted Sydney’s best Fairtrade business in 2009. Today, República has built relationships with organisations such as Jetstar, Westpac and Virgin. Grab República at your Coles and Woolworths for the best tasting Fairtrade organic goodies at home, at work or on the run.
After Jacqueline Arias travelled to Colombia, she was surprised by the absence of a decent cup of coffee in a place where the best coffee is grown. Jacqueline realised that the great tasting coffee beans were being exported to countries like Australia and the US, and the poor local farmers were paid very little, if anything at all. When she returned to Australia, she felt inspired to create an ethical yet profitable business where coffee farmers in third world countries are paid a fair price for their product.
In 2007, Jacqueline decided to launch República, Australia’s leading 100% organic and fair-trade coffee company. Although she had spent 10 years working as a journalist with ABC, Jacqueline was passionate about making a product that is 100% fair-trade, 100% organic and 100% carbon neutral. In 2009, República was voted Sydney’s best fair-trade business, and in 2010, the company made BRW’s Fast 100 List. República’s products are now sold in Coles and Woolworths stores across Australia and served on Jetstar and Virgin Australia airlines. República’s Drinking Chocolate was also exclusively chosen for Oprah’s gift bags when she visited Sydney in January 2011.
República is recognised in the marketplace as a pioneer and innovative brand that has paved the way for others to follow. In 2011, República became the very first food brand to be certified carbon neutral by the Australian government. And in 2012, Smart Company listed República as one of Australia’s Smart50 companies.
Jacqueline says that you need to believe the impossible in order to achieve. She believed her product offered a unique market positioning. She took her business idea to Coles and Woolworths and got República coffee ranged nationally on every supermarket shelf.
“The best starting point when meeting a new challenge is to believe that it’s possible. Focus on how your key objective can be achieved and drop all the reasons why it’s not. Believe in yourself and your ideas, and back yourself. If you don’t, nobody else will. If I listened to all the sceptics at the time, then República may have never eventuated. Instead, I listened to my gut, backed myself and in return built a brand with a national presence.”
Jacqueline has a five-year vision to build the most ethical food brand in Australia. She is driven by the dream that Australians can make ethical choices in every supermarket aisle.
Strategies for Success
- Flexibility to change: The ability to change and adapt to constant change in market forces, customer needs, trends and micro and macro shifts are crucial to business longevity.
- Never assume that the work has been done: Constant rethinking about our entire business means we are not complacent.
- Break barriers, be a leader – not a follower: Identify who plays in the space, how they do it, then change the game by raising the bar and doing it differently.
- Stay true to your purpose: There’s a lot of seduction in business but staying true to your core values and why you created a business will continue to motivate and reward you.
- Smell the roses: Being in business is a very long marathon, not a sprint. Stop, pat yourself on the back and celebrate the wins with your team.