Tell us about your company and what inspired you to start it
During my career in luxury hospitality, long hours, sleepless nights, and working weekends and holidays was a requirement. I was surviving off of 5-6 cups of coffee a day, which did little to help my already existing anxiety, insomnia, digestion, and sleep challenges. That's when I was introduced to tea. I found rooibos for sleep, maté for energy, moringa to calm my nerves, the list goes on. Each blend I discovered felt like a piece of a puzzle to building my ultimate life.
I began sharing my experience and formulating my own botanical blends with herbs and ingredients that would allow me to reach my goals. It was during this time that I became a certified tea sommelier, falling in love with the intersection of functionality & science between tea and botanicals.
Now, Tease creates all-natural, tea and botanical based tea blends and beauty staples to support your everyday rituals without compromising convenience, sustainability, or impact. This includes launching the world's first fully biodegradable and refillable wellness tea collection, that is the core of Tease today.
How specifically does it relate to sustainable design, production and/or consumption?
We developed the world’s first fully biodegradable and refillable wellness tea collection. This includes everything from our pyramid tea bags made from plastic-free, plant-based materials, our plant-based foil pouches, and our biodegradable outer tube packaging.
Not only did we implement sustainability into our design and packaging, but by creating our refillable tea collection, we also reduce the need for packaging whenever a customer purchases a refill pouch to fill their original tube packaging with. This creates sustainable consumption of our tea blends.
What community or customer behaviours are you hoping to create or reinforce?
We are hoping to continue to reinforce the customer behaviour of refilling your tea. Not only is this concept kinder to the planet by reducing packaging, but it’s kinder to our customer’s wallets, as they save money every time they refill their tea tube. We hope to continue to reinforce and inspire our customers to seek sustainability in other areas of their lives as well.
What is one of the most helpful or enlightening lessons you’ve learned along the way?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years is the concept of progress over perfection. If you strive for perfection, you may find yourself caught in a state of non-action oriented decision making that actually prevents the brand from moving forward.
An example at Tease would be our packaging. It has had more updates than iOS over the years, I’m sure. It was always important for me to consider: “Ok, if we are going to invest in a new design or material, how can we also re-evaluate its impact on the planet?” Over time, we moved through food safe, plastic outer packaging, to packaging made with recyclable materials, to our 100% biodegradable and refillable tea collection today. It took progress over many years to get to where we are today, and we are always continuing to improve and evolve.
What’s the biggest problem you’re currently trying to solve?
Our biggest challenge currently is supply chain inefficiencies. They literally keep me up at night! I am always thinking about how we can make our lead times shorter, improve freight logistics, and so on.
The positive side of this, is that constantly trying to solve these problems can often yield a more sustainable outcome in the long term. Whenever possible, I try to have our team look at problems as opportunities. An example of this is that our tea manufacturing partner would produce up to 10% of overruns on our foil tea pouches that are inserted into our outer tube packaging. We had a problem of having excess foil pouches, without the tubes to fill them in. This led to the opportunity to develop our tea refill program. Making use of those overruns has now become a core part of our product line at Tease, while cutting down on packaging and adding a new subscription revenue channel.
Our Senior Marketing and Revenue Manager, Laura Fray, also saw an opportunity to move slower moving tea blends that were seasonal or going to be discontinued, into our new Mystery Bundles which has turned into a fan favourite seasonal curation that our customers love and look forward to. It has also turned into a brilliant new customer acquisition strategy, allowing people who may have been hesitant to make their first purchase before, get to do so at a lower price while discovering our brand and products.