Kickstarter donors funded the Story of My Tea last week, a Houston-based tea delivery startup founded by Harideep Kalaveena and Mara Martinez.
The two tea enthusiasts were inspired by the fact that every tea carries the unique taste of origin.
“We wanted to make a wealth of diversity of tea available to everybody through a monthly subscription,” writes Kalaveena, an industrial engineer and former project manager in technology and supply chain segment. Mara Martinez Linares, the company CCO, is a business development and quality specialist.
The project was funded with 83 backers who contributed $4,415 for home delivery of a broad selection of teas and botanicals including rooibos, yerba mate, tulsi, and chamomile. Pledges ranged from $23 for a single month to $220 for a 12-month subscription. Boxes contain 12- to 15-gram packets of five teas and biodegradable steepers along with information about the origin of each tea including a map. QR codes on the back of the package enable tea drinkers to review a complete profile online. An app is in development that will help track teas and record notes about favorites. The first deliveries are scheduled for March.
While most subscription services attempt to assist subscribers in refining their taste in tea, Martinez and Kalaveena said they are selling adventure.
“We feel that our world today encourages us to easily form little bubbles of existence,” writes Kalaveena. “We always try to associate with familiar things. Even on social media, the updates we get are based on algorithms that only show us things we usually enjoy the most. All this creates an environment where we increasingly fail to appreciate everything that is on the other side of the fence,” he writes.
“So we decided to create a platform that caters to the explorer and the adventurer in all of us and bring the best quality teas from every terroir of the planet—60 teas without repetition a year,” he said.
Why Kickstarter? “We wanted a platform to test our project,” answers Martinez. “We did this with a beta distribution and in tasting sessions but we also wanted to pilot this in the real market and Kickstarter seemed to be a great platform for that,” she said.
“Besides that, we also wanted to have enough subscribers to place large orders with suppliers. I think Kickstarter helped us with both these objectives. With the help of the early adopters we plan to improve our service and develop just the right app for tea drinkers in the coming months,” she said.
The power of storytelling
“As humans we are curious, but we are also averse to new and uncommon things,” writes Kalaveena. “That basic instinct helps keep us alive. To better enjoy a new experience, we need to know more about it,” she observes.
“That is why we make better friends or empathize with people we disagree with, once we understand their stories. We think the world needs more of that. So for a tea drinker to really appreciate a tea, we thought they would want to know more about the tea and we provide just that touch of depth to their experience with tea through stories of the teas,” he writes.
“The stories are meant to carry the reader to a point where they now have a deeper experience with the tea than just its taste and smell alone,” adds Kalaveena. “We are making them short enough to fit into a tea break and informative enough to engage the curiosity of the reader,” she said.
Click here for the story of Ya Bao
“We provide this story in a tea profile that users can access by scanning the tea pouch. The tea profile includes other important information that we think is usually neglected in the tea industry. We provide people with clear instructions for Western as well as Gong-fu style steeping, tasting notes, and some ideas to get creative with consuming the tea.
“We are sourcing these stories from the suppliers, tea growers, and some tea sommeliers from different parts of the world,” he said. “Our tea profiles provide accurate and well-researched information about tea,” he said.
Source: Kickstarter, Story of My Tea