Simone Ispahani ’13 is the founder and CEO of Social Brew, a company that specializes in more than just good coffee – its focus is to uncover the best in humankind. In support of this mission, Social Brew contributes 50% of profits to helping global victims of human trafficking in rebuilding their lives with renewed hope, dreams, self-esteem and above all, freedom.
“I co-led a service trip to India my senior year of college where we worked with survivors of human trafficking,” says Simone. “This solidified my desire to make a difference in this space, so I started thinking about what happens beyond aftercare. I’ve always loved coffee and thought why not combine both of these things? I’m currently an e-commerce coffee company but I hope to have a brick and mortar so that I can employ survivors and create sustainable job opportunities in the future.”
Simone has lived and studied on three continents, including The Netherlands; Sydney, Australia; Honolulu, Hawaii. In fact, she was at a local coffee shop off Kalakaua Avenue when she first dreamt of Social Brew.
“I started planning during 2020, but officially launched in October of 2021,” says Simone. “It’s been going well. We have started tapping into the hotel industry and have been focusing on ways to continue to scale sustainably.”
Simone, who currently resides in Santa Monica, California, credits her time at Mid-Pacific to sparking her interest in entrepreneurship.
“My time at Mid-Pacific challenged me to dig deeper and dream bigger than I thought was possible,” adds Simone. “I’ve always had a more creative mindset so the MPSA program in particular really helped me to color outside of the lines and not be afraid to try new things. What I’ve learned in entrepreneurship so far is that you have to be willing to try different things all of the time and see what works.”
In December 2022, Social Brew added a new product line – Hawaiian-inspired pancake mixes. The pancakes come in four flavors inspired by Simone’s island home – Coconut, Guava, Macadamia Nut and Mochi and 50% of proceeds from the pancake mixes also goes to help trafficking victims.
Simone’s greatest hope for Social Brew is to raise awareness and cultivate a community that creates a place where trafficking victims are seen, known, loved, and given practical tools that help them take back their lives.
“Human trafficking is such a pervasive issue as there are nearly 50 million people trafficked globally,” says Simone. “When I went to India and talked with survivors it put a face to this unfathomable number and it compelled me to want to do something. I want to be able to be a voice for those who don’t have one.”