The Sepia Coffee Project

Uplifting Underserved Communities Through Coffee

Last Funded March 2024


raised from 153 investors


Minority-owned roastery opening the FIRST specialty coffee shop in Highland Park(a Detroit enclave)
Offering GENERAL investors a 1.5x return with projected repayment in 4 years (not guaranteed)
30+ wholesale accounts and a successful launch of a RTD (ready to drink) cold coffee
Raising capital to build our first retail location, $700k projected revenue in 2024 (not guaranteed)

Featured Investor

Our Team

About Us

The Sepia Coffee Project is a minority-owned roaster in Highland Park, MI(an enclave of Detroit) that seeks to generate an evolution of coffee through collective investment. Founded with the intent to create inroads to equitable opportunity, inclusion, and community - we are able to help our patrons be part of the process.

When you invest in Sepia Coffee Project, you’re not just buying coffee, you’re giving back to this community. From origin and cultivation, to involvement on what it means to invest in us, our goal goes beyond just expanding investment opportunities but into revitalizing a community.

Investment Opportunity

While helping us to revitalize Highland Park, investors will get up to 2x return on their investment! Early Bird Investors will receive 2x return on their investment while General Investors will receive 1.5x return

  • Early Bird Investment: $10,000 today --> $20,000 in four years.
  • This economic model gives a detailed view of our revenue projection and expected payout schedule for Early Bird investors.

Based on our revenue projections, we're expecting a 4 year target repayment period for investors to receive full payout. We will pay a percentage of our quarterly revenues back to investors until all investors have realized their respective payout. Repayments are scheduled to begin Q3 2024. 

Our aspiration is to facilitate a good economic outcome for our investors and our community. We want our supporters to be a part of our success. It is our hope to continue the steady growth of the wholesale side of our business. 

We expect $420k in wholesale revenue in 2024. 

We are using the funds raised on Wefunder to support Phase One of our build out which includes our roastery and tasting room(retail) in Highland Park which is already underway.

Our projected revenue in 2024 across both wholesale(B2B) and retail(B2C) is just over $700k. 

Forward-looking projections cannot be guaranteed.

Business Model, Revenue Stream and Partners

Our business model has focused on B2B(business to business) - offering bulk coffee to cafes, restaurants and specialty markets. We have made great strides within our first year of business, securing over 20 wholesale accounts in 2022 with standing orders averaging 100 kg(220lb) of roasted coffee per month. Q3'23 saw us reach our 34th active wholesale account with volume increasing 400% year-on-year as we scale up operations to meet market demand.

This quarter, we also introduced our White Label Program offering small and large businesses coffee offerings packaged under their own private label. With ONE white label contract currently underway and TWO in the pipeline, we have implemented a sales strategy for 2024 to ramp up this subdivision and project that it will make up 40% of our wholesale business.

In addition to B2B, adding a brick and mortar retail space will allow use to diversify our revenue stream and tap into a growing B2C(business-to-consumer) market. Phase One development will include a tasting room inside of our roastery and outside patio, allowing us to offer an espresso bar menu along with freshly delivered pastries and pre-packaged foods.

Forward-looking projections cannot be guaranteed.

Use of Funds

Securing our target raise of $195,000 will allow for us to complete Phase One of our build out. This includes a 950+ sq. ft. primary structure to house our roasting facility and tasting room(our retail component). We have also acquired approximately 2,400 sq. ft. of commercial land adjacent to our building that will be the future home of our our full-service cafe(Summer 2027).

Note: only $124k of this raise will be solicited through Wefunder. The minimum amount we need to raise to access funds is $50k.

The Impact of Sepia Coffee Project in Highland Park

The City of Highland Park's 2030 Master Plan encourages the flexibility necessary to attract local entrepreneurship and development. A result of directives from the community, planning commission, department directors, the City Council and advisors from the Tax Increment Finance Authority(TIFA); the goal is to create a distinct place with activity and investment that maximizes value and capitalizes on the cities unique geographical location.

Building our roastery and cafe in Highland Park would implement facets of this master plan by helping to revitalize an underdeveloped neighborhood while creating jobs.

One of the first indicators of development usually comes in the form of new eateries(cafes, bakeries and bars). While development certainly brings much needed investment to previously neglected neighborhoods, it also means the most vulnerable members of that community are often unable to reap the benefits of this growth. In an effort to improve the enclave's food and beverage industry, building our roasting facility in Highland Park and opening its first specialty cafe would bring great opportunities to the city.

Worldwide Experience. Local Roots.

Martell Mason is CEO and Head Roaster of the Sepia Coffee Project. A native of Highland Park, he has lived throughout Asia, East Africa and Europe. With a BA in International Affairs and graduate work specializing in Sustainable Development, he continues to find ways to bridge the gap from "farm to cup" while ensuring there is greater representation of black and brown folks along the coffee value chain. 

Pivoting after the shocks of the pandemic, Martell returned to the US in 2021 and saw a gap in a young, yet vibrant coffee community in Metro-Detroit. His mission to make specialty coffee more accessible to underserved communities has fueled opportunities, creating platforms that are more inclusive and equitable for coffee consumers and industry peers. 

Testimonials + Press


Northeastern NEXT Podcast

Keys To The Shop Podcast

Media Publications

Eater Detroit, 2024: Building a Black-led Coffee Movement in Highland Park

Eater Detroit, 2023: Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest by TechTown

Daily Coffee News, 2023: Sepia Coffee Project Offers a Guiding Light in Detroit