A question for Frank @52TEAS (or any tea retailer who offers a particular tea for a limited time)

(I am certainly open to anyone who has any input on this)

I really like your concept and implementation (and others who do the same) of creating a new flavored tea each week. Clearly, your teas are very popular, although I have yet to try any. :-}

Personally, I don’t have any ‘favorite teas’, and I may never, as I like to sample from the endless variety that is in the big beautiful tea world out there. However, my wife is different. If she finds a tea she really likes, she wants to be able to have it around on a regular basis. Thus, she becomes VERY loyal to that one particular tea (that is currently the case with one tea she buys on a regular basis and drinks EVERY SINGLE DAY).

I feel I need to give some context to question I am building up to. We both love Trader Joe’s (A national small grocery chain store). Recently she has tried and liked a few teas they were sampling, and she started buying and brewing and drinking them on a regular basis. Unfortunately, she found out some months later that they discontinued one of those teas (we know, it is A reality in the retail world). She was REALLY disappointed and consequently is hesitant to ‘like’ any new things they sell, as they may stop carrying them (this has happened with a couple of other items they sell). So abruptly ended that brief love affair with her beloved daily tea. This not-so-uncommon occurrence, then, begs the question: why ‘invest’ in a tea if you don’t think it’s going to be around later?

Since the teas you offer are not consistently available, what do you tell someone like her? She wants to try some of your teas (and so do I), but is hesitant to buy because she wants to know she can get it on a consistent basis, especially if she grows to love it.

I know it may be a difficult question to answer, as the success of your teas seems to be tied up with their uniqueness, and thus, limited quantity. And I understand some of your teas are ‘rescued’ by others who re-sell them (I think it’s a great idea), but unfortunately that’s still not a guarantee that they’ll always be available.

Although there are plenty of places that sell good tasting flavored teas (some of which are available on a regular basis), I’d rather buy from you. So, how do I convince her to want to buy tea from 52Teas (and avoid yet another torrid love affair)?

13 Replies
ssajami said

I obviousy can’t speak for Frank, but I can speak for myself (customer and fan of 52teas). I can understand your wife, because I am like that too. However, I also like sampling new teas. There is comfort in having on hand a tried and loved tea. There is also the excitement and suspense of trying new teas and flavors. Some like their same favorite flavores all the time, and some like different and new flavors. It is two different perspectives to the tea drinking experience.

I am a bit of both. I have a few teas that I always have on hand. My comfort teas. And I have a TON of samples and limited-edition blends to try. Do I fall in love with teas that I know there is no more of? Yes, often. Does it make me sad or upset. Sometimes. I love the tea while I have it, and then I look forward to trying other new and different flavors. (And sometimes the blends are “rescued” and then one can enjoy that flavor a little longer).

But there is no right or wrong, and if the limited-edition blends are not for you, because of their limited nature, than enjoy the teas you love and leave it at that.

On a side note – 52teas does have quite a few AMAZING blends in their permanent collection that you can get more of whenever you like.

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I shy away from limited-edition teas for the same reason…I don’t want to fall in love with a tea I can’t get more of. Especially with 52teas, it takes a few weeks for the tea to get to Canada, so by the time I get the tea and taste it, there is no more to be found. I’m a huge fan of Frank’s, though not so much a fan of 52teas, and he’s made it clear elsewhere that if you’re willing to buy a pound of a certain tea and he has the stuff/can get the stuff to reblend, he is willing to do that. Which, if it’s a tea your wife will be drinking daily, isn’t such a bad idea! It never hurts to talk to Frank, he always seems to be open to talking and working with his customers.

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SimplyJenW said

As for Trader Joe’s….they often relabel something else on the market. I have almost always been able to find the original product, and purchase it from other stores. I recommend looking at the ingredients and doing a Google search with most of the list. You might get lucky. If the tea came in a box of 20 unwrapped bags, it was likely from Celestial Seasonings. I know of two off hand. I would be willing to help figure it out if you can post what it was that she liked so much.

I have to agree with aisling of tea….Frank will probably reblend in amounts of 1 lb or more for you if you can’t get him to reblend and sell the tea. Don’t quote me on it, but I think the price was $50 shipped for a reblended pound. And when he reblends for selling, we have often begged and he has done it willingly (he is a smart businessman, afterall, and is great with his customer service!). I remember Ottawa Tea asked for the banana bread one, and several of us said we would buy some, too. I think something similar happened with the Cinnamon Roll Honeybush.

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@ssajami We checked out the teas in his permanent collection. There is some hope there. Thank you for that suggestion.

@aisling of tea I have heard about his willingness to re-blend an entire pound of a tea that you really like if you are willing to pay in advance, and if he has the things needed. That is hopeful. Thank you for that reminder.

@SimplyJenW Thank you for your input regarding Trader Joe’s, and for your kind offer to help find a tea for us. There was one tea they discontinued which we DID find somewhere else, but I think it was much more expensive that what Joe’s was selling it for, I can’t remember for sure. Maybe I’ll take you up on that offer in the future, though? :) You say that some of the teas they sell are manufactured by Celestial Seasonings? Interesting. I like your idea about doing a Google search for the ingredients. I will have to keep those things in mind in the future.

I thought Frank might have responded here, as I judge this was a great opportunity to make a pitch for his tea (not that he really needs to)! Now, I plan to go to the source and send him an e-mail.

Thank you all for your input.

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Afraid I got a little behind reading the discussion posts.

Let’s see how to answer your concerns… Well, first I have to say that our business model is a bit different. Most of the tea companies out there pick X number of teas to offer and that’s what they offer. Occasionally, they might add a few new blends to the mix, or (as you are apparently aware of) they might discontinue a few.

I started operating just like everyone else. My problem was, after creating over 200 varieTEAs of tea, I still had more ideas for new blends, and no more space for them. So I developed the 52teas model. A new tea every week, but only in limited supply. That way, I can keep creating new blends, and I don’t have to worry about not having space for them.

At this point, if I re-blended every blend that at least one person has asked me to re-blend, I would be literally drowning in inventory. Everybody has a favorite (or several), but they are mostly (apart from the REALLY popular ones) different favorites than what everyone else likes. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those laws of humanity: you can’t make everybody happy.

That said, I will mention that my number one goal in life is universal love. I want everyone to love me and my teas. So, yeah, I am pretty accommodating when I can be. If I get enough people clamoring for a re-blend, or if I get someone willing to purchase a full pound (which is typically the minimum amount I will blend at once; it just makes it easier to duplicate the recipe), I will work with them. If they have a specific blend they would like to see us create (and it’s doable), I’ll work with them.

Can I GUARANTEE that you will ALWAYS be able to get a given blend? No. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. BUT, I would be willing to wager that you have a better chance of being able to get restocked on one of our blends—even if you have to buy a pound at a time—than you would some of the ones you get elsewhere, which although they may look permanent, could be yanked off the shelves and discontinued in a blink.

I’m pretty sure most of my competitors are not searching for universal love; I don’t think you would be able to talk them into re-blending anything in any quantity for one retail customer.

Anyway, I hope that answers your questions. If you need anything else, just let me know.

Please don’t get hit by a bus tomorrow.

ssajami said

Or the day after tomorrow, or the day after that….

Amen to that, sisters.
Thanks for being so active on Steepster Frank, you are an amazing guy.

Thanks for the well-wishes and the compliment. I am pretty amazing huh? NAH. =)

No bus or to be hit by things. I have yet to try 52teas but the wish is there. I am a fan of Trader Joe’s (store brand) Green Tea, they do carry other teas as well and the pricing is right for the quantity tea bags.

Find something you like, buy more than one, two, three, five even if money can be allotted for it.

Trader Joe’s (store brand) Green Tea was my very first green tea. As I remember, for a tea bag, it’s not bad. And I agree, you can’t really beat the price. My store now carries two green full leaf pyramid tea bags for a great price. Sometime soon I hope to give them a whirl.

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Thank you for responding.

I totally understand the logic of how your business model will not accommodate everyone’s tea needs. I judge you can’t get around that.

You definitely make a good case here. From all that I have heard about you on Steepster, I am convinced that you are as accommodating as you are able to be. I am a little embarrassed that I used the word ‘guarantee’ in my original post. That was a little too much for me to expect of you or any retailer, or even ask, in my judgment. Good call. I am with you on the ever-lingering possibility of leaving this wonderful planet of ours in some random way (my wife and I both laughed at that one; we get that).

It’s the point you make in your wager at the end there that pretty much seals the deal (for us, at least). When the time comes (hopefully sometime this fall or winter at the latest; we’re still sitting on A LOT of tea) we plan to try some of your wonderful sounding teas. Although I’ve never met you, you are clearly willing to take the time to get involved out here in Steepster-land, which I judge says a lot about you. Our buying from you will be more meaningful to me than dealing with some sales person at some un-named local gargantuan chain tea retailer or some other self-promoting online tea company (I’ll leave out the names here to try to be at least somewhat diplomatic).

I believe in you, Frank! Now about the love part, well,
we’ll just have to see about that. : p

Well, I look forward to serving you, and if you don’t love me personally, I hope you will love my teas. =)

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