Starting tea business: part 1


Some background first


I have been drinking tea since I can remember – black English breakfast with milk and sugar in the morning before school, various herbal teas when being sick, and iced teas during hot summers (which happens not as often as I would like in Lithuania). During the years, my taste changed and I started drinking loose leaf teas – earl grey tea was my first loose-leaf love, later I switched to green tea, different black teas, oolong, and started to appreciate the quality in this drink. You would think that this was the main reason to start the online tea store. There is more to it.


Let’s open a bar tea store!


“Let’s open a bar!” – that is probably one of the most popular business ideas, especially on Friday nights at parties. My story is different. It starts with “let’s open a tea store!” It did not happen at a bar to me, it happened at the office – a colleague of mine jokingly suggested this during lunch. I like tea, people around me drink tea, so the worst thing that could happen is that I sell nothing and have tea for the rest of my and my family’s life – a dream for anyone who loves this drink. One week and 1,000 EUR later we had a company registered, vendors shortlisted, an IT guy working on a website and a marketing guy building a community in Facebook. We had a great name, a great concept (premium quality teas and free worldwide shipping, how much better can it get?) and we were ready to conquer the world. How hard can it be, right?


Well, it turns out that having a good idea is not enough you need to work hard to make it work (who knew?) and some of us were not prepared to do that. Here comes another issue – having four personalities with different agendas in the team does not help either. We spent the first month fighting about who should do what and barely any work was completed, or at least not something, that any of us were proud. Long story short, 4 of us started the business, and only two of us were left to develop and run it after the first month.


What now?


Now we are a team of 2, we have an online store up and running, we have stocked up on 20 teas – how do we sell it? That’s easy, you just throw money into Facebook and Google advertising and watch your business grow exponentially! To our surprise, after spending ~200 EUR on ads (thank God a lot of that were coupon codes for first time users) we saw no result, which is very frustrating. There are few reasons for that:


·         Competition is quite big and we did not do our research properly to target the most relevant customers for us


·         There are A LOT of fake accounts and bots on the internet which eat up your advertising budget


·         You want to impress the world with 20 different teas? Seriously?


The first part of the story ends here, stay tuned for part 2