1, 2, 3: Boot Camp Takeaways for Retailing Tea

World Tea Expo’s Tea Business Boot Camp offers an insiders’ in-depth review of the essentials of running a successful tea business in today’s marketplace.

Business owners, and those aspiring to begin a tea business, are constantly bombarded with massive amounts of information. The challenge of weeding through the junk to discover current trends and technology is precisely why good information is at a premium. Every business owner wants to get good info but few are keen to openly share it and—how do you tell the difference?

That’s why the World Tea Expo’s Tea Business Boot Camp sells out every year. World Tea News contacted several participants who graduated during the past five years. In this report, graduates share valuable tips they garnered attending boot camp.  They all say they got a lot out of it and that they recommend it to others.

Business clichés like “you get out what you put in” are true of boot camp. The investment requires a chunk of change and a solid block of time but even those who at the onset hesitated to take the risk ultimately recommended it.

Lesson one: “Take the time to listen to your intended customer base.”

Simple advice heard in the context of intense training might turn your life around and make you a successful business person, but more likely you’ll nod and smile and carry on. Understanding why this resonated so deeply with someone who already had two business degrees, is part of the allure, says Stephen Kiss, Dragon Tea who graduated in 2016. He is happy he took the advice of his wife to sign up.

“Know who you are and where you’re going and keep referring to your mission statement, and don’t give up,” recalls Cindy Bleker, TeaERA Tea Company. She graduated in 2016.

Rebecca Vasquez graduated in 2016 and shared, “The best info I heard was how tea was advancing in the country. I loved the encouragement I received from others attending the boot camp.”

That’s the other reason to go, to meet others who are of a like mind―passionate about tea and committed to sharing their passion with the world, for a profit!

Boot camp offers a down to earth, realistic look at tea business fundamentals, and where opportunities remain. It also reinforces a love of tea and a desire to build a business around that passion. We were told “to truly drink the teas that you sell. If you don’t you will lose your passion as to why you sell the teas that you do to your target customers,” says Kiss at Dragon Tea.

Some of those who attended boot camp four or more years ago said it has taken them this long to see the fruits of their labor. “After five years, I am finally opening my first teahouse. I can’t wait to put all the course lessons to practice. Friendships/contacts created were an excellent launching point for my tea business,” said Judith A. Ames, 9 Lives Tea House. Ames graduated in 2013.

Organizers say that while the curriculum changes every year, it is always steeped in quality business knowledge and rich with shared experiences. Starting a business is a challenge, and having a clear idea before you dive in is a wise approach. Any business can falter in its first years, so having a base of solid information from those who have navigated the waters before is essential to seeing your way through. “I especially enjoyed all the speakers, they were very knowledgeable and well organized”, said Bleker, TeaERA Tea Company.

Many businesses are online now, saving much of the overhead tied to running a brick-and-mortar establishment, but they still pay rent to store inventory. Many folks do both prospering with a combination of online sales; tea at wholesale to local restaurants and resorts, cafés and coffeeshops, along with running a tea shop.

To succeed at Tea Business Boot Camp, graduates advise: be prepared. You will want to take notes, and arrive early to get the most out of the experience.

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2018 Tea Business Boot Camp
When: Monday, June 11
Where: World Tea Expo in Las Vegas
Highlights include: “Tea Business Fundamentals” with The Tea Spot’s Maria Uspenski; tips for “Pricing Your Products” from Bill Waddington; and Charlie Cain on “Buiding Your Brand.”
For more info: Visit the World Tea Expo website