BLACK and bold is a black-owned coffee and tea brand that has achieved national success. The brand recently signed a multi-year partnership with the NBA. The coffee and tea brand was founded by childhood friends Rod Johnson and Pernell Cezar in 2018.
The founders left their jobs in higher education, fundraising and retail to build the coffee and tea brand from their headquarters in Des Moines. In 2020, the company saw national success after expanding to over 31 Whole Foods locations in the Midwest region and launching an Amazon storefront. The brand noted that its website sales in the second quarter of 2020 were almost 40 times higher than in the first quarter, adding that it was the number one bestseller on Amazon in the United States
Cezar began his career at Target Corp. in Minneapolis in August 2010. He has a background in retail merchandising. Later, he became fascinated with the art of influencing and creating brands for startups or multinational brands.
Johnson, on the other hand, has been a professional fundraiser for academic and health care institutions nationwide. He has helped raise millions of dollars for college scholarships and health care research.
According to Cezar, he was inspired to venture into the coffee business because of the impact it had on his adult career. “After learning what better coffee could be as a consumer, I became continually curious about the product I was spending so much money on and didn’t really know about,” he said. Fortune. “This curiosity created more love for the product, but also a personal disconnect with the lack of representation and non-community-focused values reflected in the industry.”
Blk & Bold has partnered with the NBA to roll out its new flavor, “The Warm-Up,” a medium roast coffee with caramel flavors featuring two packaging experiences, Eastern and Western conferences, according to Thanks to them, we can.
As the Des Moines Register stated, “The Warm Up features a blend of Ethiopian and Central American coffee beans and is described as having a fruity, caramel flavor profile. Each purchase from blkandbold.com of two bags – one representing the NBA’s Eastern Conference and the other the Western Conference – also comes with a limited-edition trading card.
“We are beyond excited to partner with the NBA in a way that continues our mission to transform the daily ritual of enjoying a cup of coffee into a way to give back,” Cezar said in a statement. “This NBA alliance enables the social impact at the heart of our brand to be most impacted and supported. It is validation from consumers, fans and partnerships that continue to prioritize socially responsible drinking and the consumerism that makes the difference,” Cezar said via a statement.
“It would be an understatement to say that we are excited to work with the NBA on this goal-oriented partnership that aims to amplify our efforts to rejuvenate young Americans in need. The NBA continues to exemplify how business should be done, given that it’s not every day that an organization of its magnitude is looking for a small company to partner with for such a cause. As a result, my passion for the league is increased tenfold,” Johnson said.
In accordance with the partnership agreement, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Blk & Bold is donated to at-risk youth through more than a dozen nonprofit organizations across the country. The NBA will also match BLK & Bold’s 5% “For Our Youth” contribution.