By Aaron Kiel, World Tea News
World Tea News recently spoke with Mennä Inc CEO Orit Eisenberg – along with COO Natalie Ben-Zur – about the Mennä ONE – the only portable tea infuser on the market that gives users control over the flavor and intensity of their tea.
Eisenberg has been in the business development field for more than 25 years, and she has an extensive background in product development. Her goal was to create a product that would truly attain one’s needs. As a result, the Mennä One was born.
The Mennä ONE features a worldwide patented infuser basket that can be opened and closed by turning a ring on the outside of the bottle – a technology that’s one-of-a-kind in the market. Once the desired flavor is reached, users can close the infuser basket and enjoy the same taste every sip. A double-walled vessel keeps tea hot or iced for up to six hours and a lockable lid that prevents spills and leaks is made for on-the-go drinking.
Eisenberg and Ben-Zur are both planning to attend the upcoming World Tea Virtual Summit and Eisenberg is scheduled to present, in addition to Mennä being a sponsor of the event.
Question: How did the Mennä ONE come about? Tell us about your product development journey. Did your background help in the creation of the product?
Orit Eisenberg: Mennä came about after five years of research and development and more than 20 prototypes to perfect the functionality. Truth is – my stubbornness and persistence are what pushed me this far in developing it. Having been in the private label industry for over 25 years – predominantly in hydration – I was always looking for new designs and shapes. While at a European trade show in 2014, the idea came about. At the time, I was creating tea travel mugs for a client and truth to be told, nothing excited me. It was always the same old. All the innovations I saw seemed gimmicky. I was always frustrated with having to take out my infuser from my tea and the mess it made, never getting the right flavor or intensity, and then having to leave either a tea bag or loose tea on the counter, so I could go back and resteep. My team of engineers helped materialize my vision over the course of two to three years. Then it took another two years to perfect it. This labor of love resulted in the birth of Mennä.
Question: In your product development research, did you discover that people were searching for something like Mennä ONE?
Orit Eisenberg: I saw the need right away. Once we tested our final prototype’s functionality and it’s purpose, I immediately conducted a worldwide patent search. To my amazement, nothing like this existed – a simple inner and outer basket resulting in a perfect seal with a simple twist of a ring. Infusing tea can be messy and this simplifies the process. It keeps everything clean. No wet tea bags or loose tea on the counter. No straining needed. No waiting to remove your tea bag or loose tea. And the biggest bonus? The flexibility of resteeping once you’re done. Nothing like this existed on the market. Therefore, the decision was simple, and I am proud to say that Mennä now has a utility patent that is world-wide. Once patented, we developed the brand and launched a consumer panel, including a wide range of people from men and women, young and old, tea lovers, businesspeople, students, health nuts and moms at home. The results were fantastic.
Question: What’s been the reaction to Mennä ONE from tea enthusiasts and the tea industry in general?
Orit Eisenberg: We’ve recently introduced this to the tea industry and the reaction has been incredible. It’s an automatic, “WOW, where do I get one?” And once they watch the “how to use” video, they realize how simple it really is. It’s been very exciting, to be honest, to know that something you’ve worked so hard on is so well received by the experts in the industry.
Question: What would you like potential tea retailers to know about Mennä ONE and working with Mennä? I’m sure there’s been a lot of interest from retailers that want to sell the Mennä ONE at their specialty or gourmet store, café or teahouse?
Natalie Ben-Zur: We’ve had a great reaction so far and can’t wait for everyone to get on board the Mennä Life bandwagon. We want everyone to know that we are here to offer any kind of support you need to help bring this to market. So far, we are getting a great response from specialty stores, teahouses, salad spots, health food stores, yoga studios and much more. Natalie and I are here to help you with anything you need from after-sales support to ecom support. Just give us a call or send us an email. We want to partner up with all tea lovers and get the word out that this exists.
Question: What kind of support do you offer retailers? I heard that Mennä does a great job supporting retailers with digital marketing tools. Tell us about that.
Orit Eisenberg: We have developed Mennä as a company that fully supports their retailers from A-Z, including all marketing materials all the way to pick and pack. We offer retailers full digital marketing material, including display boxes, high res images, instructional videos and much more. We work closely with our retailers to make their sales easier, including drop shipping options if needed from our warehouse to your consumer. We love all the feedback, too.
Question: Can you share a little about the packaging for the Mennä ONE? I see that it includes a QR code.
Natalie Ben-Zur: Yes! This is exciting. Since it is a new utility on the market, we felt that adding a QR code at every level of packaging was a huge bonus. It serves as both a selling tool and a how-to for those unfamiliar with us. This way, the consumer can see Mennä in action on the shelves in the stores. At the item level, we also included a QR code that provides step-by-step instructions on how to use Mennä. Scan the QR code to learn to how to use it yourself. This has been made in three languages so far, and more can be added for your country as required.
Question: In addition to offering wholesale to retailers, you also offer co-branded opportunities, correct?
Orit Eisenberg: Yes. With all the new product development we are working on currently in the hydration and home accessories world, we are looking to collaborate with the right partners. Our infusion ideas are endless using our patented utility, and the Mennä Life line will be revolutionary in the kitchen and home market.
Question: Mennä One is participating in the upcoming World Tea Virtual Summit as a sponsor. What are you looking forward to the most about the event?
Natalie Ben-Zur: Pretty simple – launching Mennä… and, of course, seeing everyone’s excitement, as well as getting the word out there that this incredible product exists.
Question: What’s the future of Mennä? Are there other innovative products on the horizon?
Orit Eisenberg: OMG, where do we start? A tea pot is being developed as we speak, and it’s slated to launch spring 2021. A herbal infuser container for seasoning, oils, dressings and so much more is also in the works….the rest is still top secret. You’ll have to wait and see!
Question: What do you need your customers to know?
Orit Eisenberg: Our passion is getting the community together and getting involved on many different levels. Mennä is all about supporting and create balance in people’s lives through giving back and education. Having lived through the realities of mental illness with a loved one of mine struggling from depression, our goal is to raise awareness and educate the young on mental health as well as breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness. While we recognize that Rome was not built in a day, you need to start somewhere ethically as a company and give back to your community. With every purchase of Mennä One, a donation is made to Mindstrong. We are working on integrating this into our site as we speak. We like to know that we’ve made a difference in someone’s life, no matter how big or small.
Question: Thanks for your time! Last question: This year has been challenging for many people across many industries. What advice or words of encouragement do you have for the tea industry at large or specifically for tea retailers?
Natalie Ben-Zur: With COVID-19 taking a toll on many people, health and wellness has been at the forefront of retail sales this year. Most consumers have changed their habits and lifestyle and have made it a point to stay healthy and hydrated. From young adults to the elderly, lemon/ginger infusions are on the rise, and tea cleanses are helping balance the immune system. While we all know it nourishes the soul, we want to be there to help them with their journey and to find that perfect balance. We believe Mennä can help. No mess, no stress – just the perfect tea, every time. Thanks and we look forward to chatting with each and every one of you!
To learn more, visit MennaLife.com.