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Meet Our Wholesale Manager - Lydia Stolper

As wholesale manager, my goal is to bring people into our story. I want people to feel connected to who we are as a company, as well as serving a great cup of coffee! It’s all about building relationships and bringing people along on the coffee journey.
Lydia Stolper - Medici Wholesale Manager

by Lydia Stolper

A year ago

Where are you from? 

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. And yes, when I say I’m from Atlanta I really mean it. Can you tell I often talk to people who will say they’re from Atlanta only to find out they’re actually from a suburb an hour away? I moved to Austin in April of 2017 and have really loved being here.

What are your hobbies? 

Does drinking coffee count as a hobby?

I love curling up with a good book. These days I’ve really gotten into audio books as I like to do things around the house while listening to a story. My favorites tend to be fantasy based or sci fi.  

My husband and I have three cats and a dog and honestly with that many animals it seems like a hobby at this point. I’m sure if we had the space, I’d add a bird, a ferret, a goat and some chickens. I love being in the city, but sometimes I think there is a part of me that would want to retire to a small farm with lots of animals. Or maybe just a really big house with lots of animals. Either way… I want retirement to be me surrounded by animals. 

Lydia's Pets!

In the past I’ve volunteered with the Austin Pets Alive Kitten Neonatal ward. Both feeding kittens and fostering. I absolutely loved the chance to feed tiny kittens weekly, and fostering was such a labor of love. I’m not able to volunteer at the moment, but I look forward to doing so again in the future. It’s such a rewarding experience! 

How long have you been in the industry? 

My first coffee job was in 2008, and I’ve been in and out of coffee and the hospitality industry ever since. However no matter how far away I get from coffee, it always brings me back.  My first wholesale manager position was with an Atlanta based company in 2013. Ever since I’ve loved working with customers to help them open their cafe or bring better coffee to their office with a couple of different roasting companies. 

What got you started?

My mom is the person who truly grew my love and passion for coffee. I remember being so excited to have a little spoonful of her cup of coffee growing up. Then as coffee and espresso based drinks became mainstream with Starbucks, I learned there was an entire world of coffee I’d never experienced. My first coffee job was with a locally owned shop, and it’s incredible to think how different the industry is now from what it was then. The majority of the drinks we sold had a multitude of syrups and I’d never heard of a pour over. 

My second coffee shop job was also with a locally owned shop. However this time, the head barista was extremely knowledgeable about pulling shots, steaming milk and introduced me to the world of pour over coffee. I learned so much from that shop and the people that worked there! I’ve been hooked on specialty coffee ever since. 

How would you describe your role with Medici?

As wholesale manager, my goal is to bring people into our story. I want people to feel connected to who we are as a company, as well as serving a great cup of coffee! It’s all about building relationships and bringing people along on the coffee journey. I want each person I work with to have a memorable experience with who we are and the coffee we have so that they can then pass that on to their customer. I’m constantly learning more about coffee, the ever changing cafe culture, and how I can best pass that on to those who want to partner with us. 

Most favorite parts and least favorite parts of your job?

Honestly, it’s hard to find anything I dislike about my job! I love coffee, I love talking to people about coffee, and I love being able to grow that excitement in others. 

That’s not to say what I do isn’t difficult. Raising awareness and finding new customers is not easy! However I love working for Medici and our coffee, so it helps on the harder days to be surrounded by a good team and great coffee. 

What are some of the challenges facing the wholesale coffee scene in 2021?

The same challenges facing many of those in the coffee and food service industry. And that is rebuilding and reconnecting after a very disconnected year. For us, we’re having to reintroduce ourselves to the industry and let people know we’re here, we’re roasting, and we can provide you with great coffee. So many places had to focus simply on making it from one day to the next in the past year, including us, that making changes or opening new shops is not on the horizon for many people. 

How do you plan to overcome those challenges? 

I want to make sure that people feel connected to who we are and that we understand the struggles they’re going through. It’s important that customers don’t feel alone in the problems they’re facing and know that we have faced the same or similar issues. It’s not about the big guy coming in and telling the little guy what to do. It’s about creating a partnership so that both of us can succeed together. 

Lydia in New Zealand

What is your number one goal in 2021 as Medici’s wholesale manager? 

Sell more coffee! Okay, that seems a bit more of an obvious statement. Truly I see my position as relationship building. I want to build relationships with those who want to partner with Medici and even those who decide not to. For me, coffee brings people together and I want to be able to share that love and excitement about coffee. Then with those relationships, I hope to see Medici grow as a roasting company.