The annual World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, has once again come and gone. Tea vendors and excited attendees mingled and interacted about the latest in tea. Dozens of new tea products were introduced. And a host of tea-related events took place. The most significant part (in my humble opinion) was the New Business Boot Camp, featuring speakers who are well-versed in their topics. I’m sure attendees walked away with information that will stand them in good stead the rest of their lives. Thinking of starting a tea business? Pencil in the next expo to attend this event.
New Business Boot Camp — An intensive 2-day hands-on program on topics critical to tea entrepreneurs plus general tea education. Top notch educators and experienced experts in the tea industry led the discussions. Topics covered this year (next year’s may be different):
- The Basics of Tea Business — Session goals: 1. Advantages and pitfalls of diversification. 2. Compete and win in each distribution channel. 3. Get started on a limited budget. 4. Separate fact from fiction, and find profit. 5. Top 5 mistakes and Top 5 keys to success for new tea businesses. Speaker: Peter Martino — Co-founded Capital Teas with his wife Manelle in 2007, and since 2010 has embarked upon a rapid expansion program. He oversees financial and legal operations and drives the company’s brand.
- Basic Legal for Tea Room Owners — Session goals: 1. Best business structure for each situation and how to file the proper documents to create this structure. 2. Strong business name and logo and applying for Federal and/or State trademark protection. 3. Taxes due when, and to whom, and handling tax liabilities. 4. Agencies a tea business typically needs permits from and how to obtain these permits. 5. Avoid the most common legal pitfalls when dealing with employees, customers, and vendors. Speaker: Kristen Schneider — Opened and ran a brick-and-mortar tea room and launched an internet tea business. She holds a law degree from the University of Texas, School of Law, specializing in products liability and medical malpractice.
- Marketing and Capturing Customers — Session goals: 1. Collect, compile, manage, and use a customer database to increase sales. 2. Generate marketing ideas and opportunities and overcome common roadblocks. 3. Write effective copy that will gain attention and produce results. 4. Confidently contact the media to establish your presence and expertise. 5. Identify low-cost strategies that will work to promote your specific business model and ideas. Speaker: Beth Johnston — Founded Teas Etc. after discovering a passion for tea while on her honeymoon in 1998. Her company is recognized in the tea industry as a supplier of wholesale premium bulk, pre-packaged, private label teas and accessories.
- Accepting Credit and Debit Cards — Session goals: 1. Basics of card processing. 2. Selecting a merchant, online or combined processor. 3. Platforms for accepting card payment. 4. Fees and expenses when accepting card payments. 5. Successful merchant, online or combined card processing system for their business. Speaker: Jack Groot — Founder and creator of JP’s Coffee & Espresso Bar, and more. He has helped hundreds of clients create, open and grow their own business or improve existing operations.
- What Do I Charge — Session goals: 1. Pricing products to achieve desired gross profit. 2. Gross profit goals appropriate for your situation. 3. Making adjustments in existing pricing structure. 4. Using basic retail calculations and tools. 5. Pricing approach to help determine in-store merchandising and marketing changes needed for your business. Speaker: Bill Waddington — Founder of TeaSource, a wholesale and retail specialty tea company that imports and blends some of the finest teas from around the world.
- Tea 101 – Intro for World Origin Tasting — Session goals: 1. Recognize a tea plant. 2. Identify how and where the tea plant grows. 3. Recognize why all teas are different and have a unique character. 4. Distinguish how black, green, oolongs, white, pu-erh and flavored teas are made. 5. Identify where the different types are made. Speaker: Jane Pettigrew — Opened and ran her own teashop in London in the 1980s, and wrote 14 books (so far) on various aspects of tea, tea wares, tea rituals, history and recipes.
Doesn’t that all sound worthwhile? I sure think so. Keep it in mind for next year.
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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