Brandon and Hannah Weidman opened a coffee shop in Nicaragua, and are now doing a whole lot more.

Shoes made from old burlap coffee sacks.My very own pair of coffee sack shoes from Beto's Coffee Co.

I love what this couple is doing.

First they opened a coffee shop - Betos’s Coffee Co - to provide work for people in the community of Masatepe. And then they got a little creative.

Instead of just sticking with coffee and food, they found another way to bring employment and creativity into their community.

They decided to do something with all those empty burlap coffee sacks that were piling up in the back room of the store.

And here is the part I really like. Great entrepreneurial ventures often arise when someone takes a step that would make most people say, “You did what?”

They went to a local shoemaker, Don Beto Flores, and asked him, “Could you make shoes with old burlap sacks?”

Crazy idea, right?

Hannah  and Brandon Weidman.Hannah and Brandon Weidman.

But Beto did just that. You can see my own pair in the photo above.

But they didn’t stop there. Next came bags, purses, aprons and more.

Then they noticed all the wood from the coffee trees that was burned after pruning. Why not turn that wood into coasters and lampshades?

This is a great example up “up-cycling” and social entrepreneurship... creating meaningful work for the community in which they live.

Anyway, after selling all these products in their coffee shop, they then began to reach out to a broader audience, overseas. Now you and I can go to their website and buy these items online.

As demand for their products grow they find themselves having to find money for more workshop space and the other necessities of growing a young business.

That’s why they reached out to me, and why they are in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise more money.

If you like what they are doing, and want to support them, you can start by watching the video on their Kickstarter page.

I hope these guys raise the money they need!

And you can see their website with all their products here.

NOTE: This product was sent to us free in return for a review. (That said, we always reserve the right NOT to review a free product if we don't like it, or feel you wouldn't like it.)

On the subject of up-cycling...

Looking good in a birdseed bag dress!

After reading about Hannah and Brandon's coffee bag up-cycling project, one of our readers wrote in with an experience of her own.

Here's what she told me:

"When I was a kid, my thrifty mother used cotton birdseed sacks to sew some of my clothes and other things, so I ended up matching the dish towels. My parents had a store (sound familiar?) and this is how bird seed came packaged way back then (1960's). They also were depression era children and nothing went to waste. My mom was a sartorial genius."

Yep, that little girl's dress is made from bird seed bags!

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