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Why Start a Tea Company?

I didn't originally intend to start a tea company. 

I'd been wanting to start a business for years and cycling through a lot of different ideas. At one point, I got really into soap-making and thought I would start a soap company. I made formulations and went with it for several months, but there was never the passion there. Then I thought I would be a coach. I created a web site, kimberlycohn.com and advertised "writing productivity" coaching. Which is kind of funny, considering I...have never managed to keep a consistent writing schedule.

I thought of reselling on ebay, selling on Amazon. Becoming a therapist, even going so far as to get letters of recommendation for grad school. The list goes on and on. Then during the pandemic, I created a map on google advertising local farms in the area where I'm from. And it got some traction! 

What could I do in local food? Start a grocery service? (Too much overhead and difficult to do during a pandemic.) Start a cheese subscription box to help dairy farms? (Product too perishable, and where would I store it??)

Then one day randomly I made a list of my top 5 favorite things. Not because I was trying to think of business ideas, but just because. 

Here is my list, in no specific order:

1. hiking

2. reading

3. gardening

4. poodles 

5. tea

I guess I sound like an aristocratic lady! (I'm not...)

My husband suggested I do something with tea, but I brushed him off. Then I started thinking about it. And...it kind of made sense. I knew that I wanted to buy tea as locally as possible. Turns out, it's a little difficult!

The closest tea I could source was from Hawaii...

I ordered some samples from a few farms there and turns out it was great! I picked green tea in particular, for the color and health benefits. 

And a few months later, here I am. I actually followed through and did it. Even if this thing is a total flop, I've learned so much already. (How to start an LLC, how to design a web site on shopify, how to source a product, not to mention a lot more about tea and why loose leaf is so superior to 99% of the stuff that people drink).

It may seem a little silly to start a tea company, when the market is so saturated. But, my tea is different. Very few companies are selling tea grown in the US, because it's so rare. Rainforest Green is one of the only teas you'll find that's grown and picked by hand by a small farm in Hawaii. They don't use pesticides or chemicals, though they're not organically certified, because they are too small. I feel really good about this product.

So now the challenge is, how do I sell and how do I scale? Tea grown in the US is so rare, I'm wondering if I should open up to tea grown outside of the US, or if American grown is my niche? 

Let me know what you think!