Saying the name Carolyn Skye is, to a certain degree, synonymous with talking about our brand and company. Carolyn has been with Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters almost from day one back in 1986. Hired by Dick Batdorf and Shannon Bronson, Carolyn began her coffee journey as a barista at our original coffee house on Capitol Way in downtown Olympia. Leap ahead almost 30 years and she sits in a position now that shes been in for many years as our Creative Director, where she oversees the design and structure of our in-house signage and marketing. What happened in between those steps along that path from barista to creative, you ask? Lets take a look.
Like many Batdorfians that stay with the company for the long-haul, Carolyn is the product of a dedication to growing our employees internally and giving them chances to fill a role that is either a promotion for them, or is simply something that he/she became interested in and passionate about while working with us. Carolyn defines this legacy of ours of having an employee-run company. She started as a barista and quickly moved into a roasting position.
For those of you familiar with our Skyes Mountain blend, Carolyn created this blend during her time as a roaster. The inspiration for the blend was formed on a mountain trail hike. Carolyn had gotten ahead of the rest of her hiking companions and decided to take a break and wait for them to catch up. As she sat and took in some of the mountain fresh air, she started thinking about, you guessed it, coffee. As she contemplated multiple variations for the components to this blend she finally settled on one to try when she was back at the office. Its now been a regular blend in our line-up for over 20 years!
After Dick Batdorf passed away, Carolyn took a brief hiatus from working with us and came back to work with the then new owners, Larry and Cherie Challain (owners of former "Dancing Goats Espresso Company" fame on 4th avenue and an early wholesale customer of Batdorf and Bronson) in the early 90s. Carolyn stepped into the role of Wholesale Manager where she oversaw the day-to-day of packaging, shipping and ordering. She also became very involved in tracking and granting financial donations to non-profit organizations that we support and/or partner with in the Olympia area. In her time as a social liaison for our company she would also represent us at local events, functions and fundraisers. These last two job duties are held in a special place for Carolyn as she was able to bridge our sustainable reach with the integrity of our companys core values, as well as its marketing and branding. This is, in many ways, what shes grown into at present.
With an eye for detail and design, Carolyn has always been involved with marketing and promotional brainstorming and branding. During this time she helped to conceptualize our older logo with the mug and steam. It was at this point that Carolyn began getting deeply involved in all of our graphic presentations and representations. Our co-owner, Cherie Challain, summed this transition up best when she talks about Carolyns progression after helping to design our 90s logo that lasted until 2010, Carolyns involvement in anything graphic and artistic has been a part of her contribution ever since. She has always grown her learning and skills in graphic design and has been passionate about understanding the capabilities that technology has concerning art. She became the go to person for all things graphic and creative long before she actually had the title of Creative Director. She has come to represent and develop our look in all of her work and continues to bring this into the future.
For those of us that have to work with Carolyn a lot, its an absolute pleasure to have her on our team to help with all of the signage, in-house design and overseeing the development of branding even when we hire outside consultants to work with. She is an indispensable wealth of knowledge and company wisdom. When any of us need something on the fly she always makes time for us and gets things done in a timely and professional fashion. Her demeanor is calm and laid-back on the one side, yet full of direction, focus and meaning on the other.
Shes been a staple in the modern day Olympia Art community as long as its been around. Along with another coworker of ours, Jeanne Allan (blog on her later), who conceptualized and organized the very first Arts Walk in Olympia, Carolyn curated a showing in our downtown coffeehouse for this inaugural event. For many years after, Carolyn oversaw all of the art in our retail shops. Carolyn is a wonderful photographer. You can see her galleries here. She has a Standard poodle named Jasper and she likes to get out of doors frequently. If you ever get the chance to meet her, youll have a friend for life!