Direct sourcing of teas?
Hi all, first time here and looking to up my tea game so to speak. I’ve always enjoyed tea and really enjoy finding unique and healthy varieties. About a year or so ago I was invited to a tea party which ended up being an MLM type of selling which is not my cup of tea. But although I did purchase some out of courtesy it was not up to par as to what I had been drinking over the years but what it really did was open my eyes to how many people were interested in the health aspects of it as well as the more intricate details about the varieties and history of it. Long story short I started sharing with more and more people up to the point that I am now there go to person for anything related to tea.
I am wanting to expand on this and start purchasing more direct and importing more and to cut out the middleman as much as possible but knowing I can’t get rid of them entirely for everything. In the end I am asking those that know who are the legitimate direct source players in this space that are trustworthy and if you would be willing to share? I am interested of course in the traditional as well as herbal. I do like to create my own blends as well. I am not looking to open a retail shop but am comfortable being independent and mobile. This is not my ft job but some days it feels like it but at least I thoroughly enjoy this.
Sorry for the long first time post. Hopefully it gave you enough background.
Good luck getting people to share their sources. I think people like Whispering Pines Teas like to keep their sources secret. I would too. No need to give too much help to the competition.
Of course that is certainly a possibility and I’m sure there are some that will not share and that’s perfectly fine and couldn’t blame anyone for that. As I’m a small player in this game I certainly don’t pose any real competition to anyone. I’m akin to a tea club and not much more than that. I have no ambitions nor the time to be anything more but I’d really like to expand my sources to be able to offer some unique items that you are not going to find at a mall Teavana type of place which is not all that difficult to do. It’s certainly easy to provide more knowledge then those type of mass market shops but I actually enjoy this and am not looking for some of the same clientel that they are. I have reached out to a couple of importers that deal directly with various farms and see where that leads me. Regardless it’s all fun and enjoyment for me as a good hobby.
Just an opinion, but, as a retailer, I am, from time to time asked for ‘how to’ and ‘sources’.
It is not so much an idea of, ‘oh you are not competitive’ as opposed to someone who is, so I’ll give it to you. It is more of a ‘hey, I’ve been doing this for years, done all the footwork, reading, educating and finding. Earned what I know, so to speak. You are rarely just handed information unless you’ve built a connection with someone.
So, my tip is to go to trade shows. That is where resources congregate with a purpose of connecting with those who need them.
More and more there are sellers there who deal direct from their farms.