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Fairyfli said

How did you get into the tea business

Hello all,
I have just started my tea exploration… but after reading a bit here and just falling in love with tea, i feel as if someday I would like to explore a business in tea. I would like to know how some of the small businesses got started? How long before you decided to jump into the business? When did you start mixing teas? Any great resources books websites etc… that I should check out? Really I just want to hear the stories and if you have any advice that would be great too!

7 Replies

I am sure like many people here, I got into tea as a kid, my mom and I would always have tea after school every day. But my business story I guess you could say is actually in the making right now – it got started for me when I moved to Japan to learn Japanese and study tea there. Since then I spent some time in China, then finally moved here to Taiwan. I’ve been involved in tea as a hobby, a passion, and a focus of research (my background is in cultural anthropology) for about five years now, and have been really starting to gear up for a business venture this year. So here goes!

As far as mixing teas – I have to be honest, in my travels I haven’t found a tea that calls for or even should be mixed with anything! Someday though I think it would be neat to try – I enjoy a nice iced fruity tea sometimes in the summer.

Resources – (I know these are total basics but theyve been so helpful, I figure I should still share)
http://www.fda.gov/
http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business
Your state business websites are invaluable! (Commerce, SoS)
http://www.lawoftea.com/

Good luck! :)

thank you for those links Jade Leaf Tea Traders very helpful :)

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@Fairyfli – I like @Jade Leaf got into the business much the same way. My mom was a tea and pepsi drinker. I choose to keep the tea. It really got started from me after walking into corporate america and the boss came in and fired everyone..no warning, just get out. It was a turning point, the idea was already on the back burner w/ business plan, but I was doing gift baskets at the time. So I said Ok Lord, it’s now or never. And He said now….

@Jade Leaf – I agree, those agencies have a wealth of knowledge!!

I got my hand on every tea book I could find…there are some great ones out there…T

WEBSITES:
-World Tea Expo is invaluable @ www.worldteaexpo.com and http://www.worldteanews.com/

-Tea Association of US – http://www.teausa.org/ ……..test your knowledge @ http://www.teausa.org/general/teatest/teatest9.html

-Tea Trade Mart @http://www.teaadvice.com/tea_business_school

BOOKS:
-How to Open a Financially Successful Coffee, Espresso & Tea Shop: With Companion CD-ROM
-The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook: A Guide to the World’s Best Teas
-Adagio, Guide to Tea

There are MANY more, but this is a good starting point. Hope it helps.

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Fairyfli said

Thank you all for commenting this info looks great and just what I was looking for…Thanks so much!

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I always have this hobby of collecting and trying different tea varieties. Some of them I fall in love with. Some of them I don’t like that much after trying once or twice. But just the process of trying new type of tea itself excites me a lot. At certain point I started to feel the current market offers too limited variation and probably I can bring more diversity to the market.

In addition, I was very much encouraged by the growth of tea drinking trend in America. As an enthusiastic tea lover living in US, I was invited by a few Chinese tea magazines to research and write about American tea market. The research confirmed my gut feeling about growing tea market and further encouraged me. I am destined to deal with small varieties of tea and varieties that are not (yet) known by a lot of people. Without the thriving tea culture in America, I wouldn’t have thought I could possibly put together a tea business based on my own taste preferences.

Besides, something else that makes me excited about this business opportunity is, it’s an opportunity for me to try out a series of ideas. I always believe the subject is more important than the package. I still hope I can further improve many aspects of our business. But I hope that a tea lover interested in tea business doesn’t have to invest tens of thousands of dollars as cash advance to open a business. Also I hope the budget of the business is focused on the subject (tea) and everything else (outlook, marketing, packaging…) can be minimized. These are pretty much my own wishes based on my own shopping habits. I know my business philosophy is not consistent with many other people’s, and may not even be the best way to do business. But I am curious to find out if my way will work. Besides, it just feels good when a big part of work is drinking tea.

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Fairyfli said

Gingko- you sound like me… I just love trying new teas. I feel as if it is such a thrill to open the package and take that first whiff to get an idea about what the tea maybe like, and then the first sip, and the second and so on… Tea really changes as it cools which is such a great trait, I love finding all of the little nuances of it.

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@Fairyfli your welcome. Most of all, I would say that the LOVE of tea is the most important factor…with the love knowledge will come and it be second nature. Having a tea business is not really work for me (except when setting up for trade shows…ugh) I love what I do and what I drink :D

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