Alumni Spotlight: Lindsay Wrege, CEO of 321 Coffee
The University Honors and Scholars Program Student Media Team recently caught up with recent alumna, Lindsay Wrege, to learn more about the amazing work she is doing with her company, 321 Coffee, as it grows by leaps and bounds. 321 Coffee is on a mission to provide meaningful employment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to model inclusion for other businesses to follow. They have worked tirelessly to build their brand and unique contribution to social entrepreneurship, beginning at the North Carolina Farmers’ Market in Raleigh. They recently began roasting their own coffee beans and will be opening a new storefront soon! Madison Mueller, one of our Student Media Team members, sat down with Lindsay to get the inside scoop on 321 Coffee.
MM: Lindsay, can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to start 321 Coffee?
LW: When I was in elementary school, my first friends were girls in the class that had a disability. They were my friends, and they taught me the value of inclusion. As we grew older, I saw people with disabilities really struggle to find meaningful jobs. This is what I wanted to change.
MM: That’s definitely a worthy cause to pursue. What experience during your time as a student at NC State best prepared you for your current role?
LW: Students are constantly having to come up with creative solutions, think outside the box and be resourceful. Even living in a residence hall requires a lot of creativity. Being a young entrepreneur, we are always finding creative ways to bootstrap our ideas.
MM: Yes! Making do with the resources you have is the definition of college life for many of us. During your time leading 321 Coffee, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
LW: I am very proud of having created a real job for over 20 adults with disabilities. It’s a community and family, and it’s very special what we have.
MM: It must be a great feeling to know and see what an impact you are having on people. What advice would you give to current NC State students interested in entrepreneurship?
LW: Always ask. If someone says no, ask a different question.
MM: How do you hope to see 321 Coffee grow over the next year?
LW: I am excited to see 321 Coffee begin to achieve scale. We have a lot of projects in the works that we are excited to begin sharing, so stay tuned for more information.
MM: That’s an exciting cliffhanger for us! To wrap things up, what is your favorite Howling Cow ice cream flavor?
LW: Hands down, cherry vanilla!
Learn more about 321 Coffee at https://321coffee.com/
This post was originally published in DASA.