Can we, Simple Loose Leaf, participate in the tea boxes that get mailed around?

Can a company participate in a tea box? Obviously we have an immense amount of tea on hand. And every company would love to get more exposure for their tea.

Or should the tea boxes stay strictly person to person?


23 Replies

What if you let Steepsters pick out a few samples and mail them to them to get some reviews? Or you could start another tea box with your teas that Steepsters would replace with other teas?

Yeah that isn’t a bad idea. I was just wondering if that was a faux pa to jump in on a box.

But I actually really like the idea of starting a box with our tea and then letting everyone take what they want. Will have to think that one over.

It would be a nice way to get people to try your teas.

Pyroxy select said

I find the idea of a company-started TTB to be a delightful idea – it would give a whole batch of people a way to try your teas without the cost (and effort) of sending out a whole batch of samples to everyone individually.

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Lala said

I think it just depends on which box it is and the group that organized it, etc. I think if you were joining as a business, that would be a bit weird, because there will be a lot of other competing companies teas in the box. But I think if you were joining as a person who likes to samples teas, that is a bit different.

I like Tea Sippers idea of sending the organizer of a box a bunch of samples that can be included in the box. But keep in mind with a travelling box, only one or two people might be able to sample your teas. It all depends on how much tea one person takes out of the box etc. You would reach a bigger audience if you sent out samples to individuals as a free mail out or contest, etc.

Whatever you do, as long as you are honest with your intentions. As you stated above, you want to gain exposure for your teas.

“Whatever you do, as long as you are honest with your intentions.”
This above all else is the reason I am asking this question. We do samples but we do it the same way most other companies do it. And that is not as much fun as we would like it to be.

The free mailer isn’t a bad idea.

Thanks for your input.

Dexter said

Just my 2 cents…. I just mailed out a traveling box today. I spent quite a bit of time deciding what to put in the box. I wanted the person/people behind me to have the most choices possible. I wanted to balance the box with various styles of teas from various companies. I didn’t want to put all of company A into the box. I think the purpose/fun of these boxes is to be able to try teas you might not otherwise know about.
If you were “just a participant” somewhere in the middle of the rotation, and took all/most of the tea out of the box and replaced it just your tea, I don’t think that’s fair to the next person on the list. The box would then be heavy with your teas.
If you send samples out to people participating, that would be different – there would still be variety in the box but you would ensure that yours were also included.
That’s just my opinion….

Yeah, my original thought was to participate in the box like any other person would. Follow the same rules as them but I would put MY tea in. In an appropriate amount.

It would take two seconds to figure out if a company acted inappropriately with this kind of thing. And with social media and Steepster word would spread.

I have zero desire to do anything shady. And a box entirely of my tea is not as interesting as a box with a wide variety.

I appreciate your input and thoughts.

Dexter said

:)) I think ultimately the decision would be up to the organizer of the box. They are the ones who are putting up the initial stash and they are the ones taking all the risk. The best way would be to wait for a new box being organized and contact the organizer.

Sil select said

Agree with everything above. Transparency is best, and while i’d love to try samples of your tea, if that was the only thing in the box, i’d be sad since part of the joy is the variety of things to try out. I’d have no problems with companies participating provided it was clear how they’d be participating up front.

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You can join mine if you have herbals. I can make you first on the list (after me) so that you get the exposure.

That would be awesome. What do I need to do to join in?

Just comment on the thread and say that you want to join and I will message you for your address when I am ready

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Dr Jim said

Starting a new box might make sense. There seems to be a lot of pent-up desire to participate in the travelling tea boxes, but there aren’t that many people with enough tea on hand that they are willing to start a box. It would be good if you could include not just the teas that you sell but some other brands as well (surely you sample your competitors?)

I personally started a box, and it was difficult mailing all that tea into the unknown – almost like sending your children off to college (for the record, I’m glad I did in both cases). But as you said in your initial post, you have a lot more tea than the rest of us, even the hoarders :)

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I wish more tea vendors would offer the thing you are talking about. When I go to a site, I see some interesting-looking teas, and think, “I’d like to try that!”. Then, I see that the smallest amount is 2 ounces for like 7-8 dollars. The, I see shipping is another 5. So, it’s almost $15 to try a tea – which I don’t even know if I’ll like. I then leave the site. Why not offer two 2-cup sample sizes in an envelope for maybe $1.50? That surely would cover the cost of the tea, and a stamp as well. If your teas are good, people will reorder.

Free samples are wonderful – but then you’ll have all the abusers. By charging maybe $1.50, you are ensuring that at least the people are somewhat serious about potentially ordering.

I can only speak for myself in this. We offer samples ($1.75-$2.00 free shipping) and it is not something that we overly enjoy doing. It is incredibly important to us that folks get a chance to try out our teas. But the labor involved with the samples makes them a loss producing item. And that is why, I imagine, most online tea companies don’t like selling individual tea samples.

We are bouncing around the idea of a samples club. Get like 5 × 6g samples each month. A trad green, a trad black, a white, a oolong or pu’er, and a flavored. I know that doesn’t help people that want to try very specific teas. But it does help people to try out our different teas. We also include a sample of the upcoming teas for a club for each customer we have.

AND all of these issues are business side and shouldn’t impact the tea drinkers. But they are issues that plague small tea businesses. And to top all of that off, Simple Loose Leaf is a company based around tea of the month clubs. We don’t sell tea in a traditional sense.

Not really complaining, because it is part of doing business, just passing on some producer side information.

That’s a good perspective. I can see that. You have to do what makes sense for you and your business of course. If you see samples convert to regular customers, I’d say it’s worth the hassle. But I don’t know if that happens. From customer perspective (or from THIS customer’s perspective), samples are the things I look for. Maybe we should start a poll to see how many other customers much prefer inexpensive samples to value-priced larger tea amounts?

I know for my “staple” teas, I’d have purchased more of them if I’d have been able to try them sooner. Perhaps $15 orders aren’t a purchasing barrier to other customers – but to me, it is an almost unsurpassable barrier.

I know for my own business, I consider customer acquisition cost (ie cost to get someone to purchase my services). Perhaps taking a small loss on samples to get a long-term customer would be worth it?

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ifjuly said

Thanks for asking, Simple Loose Leaf. I can only speak for myself but being upfront about who you are (that you guys sell tea) and aware of how that’s an important added dimension/consideration to any interactions here is super duper appreciated to me.

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Lala said

I really like your idea about the samples club that you posted about above. Another suggestion would be something similar to what Teavivre does. They have a “tasting activity”. You can sign up online. There are a limited number of spots per month (I do not know what the limit is). I received 4 samples of 4 different types of teas. It is a great way to get people to try your teas, and hopefully review them online.

I am glad that you like the idea. It is something that we are working on figuring the pricing and what not on. It would likely follow the “next month’s” samples that we offer with our “You Pick It” club. That way someone can try all of those teas/they get a chance to tour our teas.

The tasting activity isn’t a bad idea. I will have to look into that.

Lynxiebrat said

Something that Fusion teas does is free samples for those who either are on steepster or have an independent tea blog, (which they ask for a link to the blog or nickname on steepster to verify, as well as see how long you’ve been reviewing teas. Or you could include a sample or a few with every order, (David’s Tea does, they include 3 with every order.)

Do you have a sampler pack? Like say all greens, or anything similar? Are there any stores that you could check to see if maybe you could sell certain of your teas thru them? (I think sampler sets would do well in that type of arrangement.)

Also, events like festivals, conventions, etc. both tea related and not might be a good avenue. If not tea related, then check with the organizers to see if it could be a possibility. If so, have some ready made tea for people to sample. (Keep extra tea in thermoses.

Sorry if this is a longwinded reply….my mind just kept coming up with stuff. Hopefully useful!

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carol who said

All the above ideas are terrific and “thank-you” to Simple Loose Leaf. Could you do a TTB and allow us to only take 2 SLL teas and replace with our own so that it doesn’t loose all your samples before it can get to all of us. It would be on the honor system but I think most Steeperites seem pretty honest. I mean really… what the point of cheating. Okay, maybe I’m naive, but it’s an idea.

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Katiek said

Personally, I think it would be fine if you started a box. Sure it would be heavy on your teas, but you’re being open about that. Anyone who participates would know that when they signed up. As the box went along, people could add other brands, but they’d be enough different samples from you that each person could at least pick one (or two if you want to build it that way) of your teas to try.

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