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Tea distributers

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Michael N

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Hey guys, so I'm looking for a new tea distributor for my e-commerce/ physical business and I'm kind of stumped. I know that cheap prices are out there, but I just don't know where to look. the guy I'm buying from right now is flipping his product, which means he's getting it for at least 50% of what I'm buying for. does anyone have any tips/ know of any resources/ have any connections to help me?
 

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ZCP

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where have you looked? what have you already tried? what time / effort have you put into the search?
 

Michael N

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where have you looked? what have you already tried? what time/effort have you put into the search?
I've used a couple of local companies, a couple higher end tea company, and a couple of bigger operations. I could be wrong, and maybe the profit margins are lower then I thought. if that's the case then I'm just gonna nut up and just continue with my new guy
 

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so if you wanted to start a tea distributing business, what would you do? where would you look for tea?
 

Michael N

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so if you wanted to start a tea distributing business, what would you do? where would you look for tea?
ideally farmers, which I've done with two of my teas, but I wonder if there's a resource that could connect me quicker and more efficiently
 

ZCP

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so if I would give you $1M at 10a tomorrow if you could connect me with a tea distributor that you do not currently know, what would you do next?
 

TKDTyler

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My business is also within the tea space.

what I have learned is that most tea (both loose leaf and bagged) is imported and sold through a distributor unless you are a large corporatoin - at that point, it comes down to the first option: connections.

Do you know any business people within the tea industry? If not, have you went out and looked not on the internet? What have you really done to connect with industry people that are not distributors or farmers?

The tea industry isn’t not very modern when it comes to the business aspects - if you want to get somewhere sourcing teas you need to get out there and create relationships with business owners, distributors, and farmers.

Try hitting up your local loose leaf shops that are not large corporations. Talk with the owner, converse, and most importantly, do it over a cup of tea and pick their brains about their selection process. Be curious and humble. Remember that you both share the same love of tea (I hope) and nothing is better than a nice conversation over a cup of properly brewed tea.

For example, I met a particular local shop owner when I was in San Francisco - he spent the last 10 years traveling around Asia and visiting tea farms to build relationships with locals. We talked about how he found the farmers, his order quantities, how he created strong relationships and pulled out referrals within their own network.

Secondly, if you haven’t already, you should be going to the tea expo in June. It’s the largest tea expo in the US and manufacturers + vendors all display their products and samples in the showroom. That wis one of the best ways to get in touch and create new relationships as it is highly concentrated. You will have to weed through the garbage and gold, so having a refined tea palette is essential to figuring out what you want to sell.

The third option, and the best option, is traveling to Asia and locating farmers yourself. Visit the different tea shops. Go to the tea farm towns and walk about. Visit the farms and farmers - often times they are family owned businesses that have been owned for generations. In these instances, understanding culture comes first before understanding the business (a whole different topic).

@ZCP is trying to get you to think outside your box and your comfort zone. For an industry that is not technologically modern, you have to think creative.

If you haven’t already, read the republic of tea and pull some inspiration from their story. Much of it is still applicable to this day.
 

AgainstAllOdds

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I spent two weeks living in a Chinese tea village. My advice is based on that experience.

In your shoes, I'd start by identifying what kind of tea you're importing. Next, figure out where it's grown. Afterwards, search for suppliers in that town through the internet/Alibaba/etc. You only want companies that are located in the same towns as the tea farms in order to get the best price.

If you're up for it and adventurous, take a flight to China (if that's the type of tea you're sourcing), and head to a tea village. You'll hit a market that has all the tea you'd ever want. Another Chinese option: find a tea market in a big city. In Guangzhou, China they have a tea "market" that consists of 10,000 stores -- basically a tea city. If you're making over $5,000 from the tea business then take the plunge.
 

RazorCut

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I know that cheap prices are out there, but I just don't know where to look.

Are you looking for cheap tea or good tea?

I did some work for this company a few years back:

https://www.williamsontea.com/

who you probably have never heard of but they have huge plantations and supply tea to many of the big name brands. Check out their Instagram account for pics of their plantations.

Sometimes it is as simple as making a phone call or sending an email to a producer and asking for a distributor list.
 

Michael N

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Apr 27, 2018
29
35
22
Are you looking for cheap tea or good tea?

I did some work for this company a few years back:

https://www.williamsontea.com/

who you probably have never heard of but they have huge plantations and supply tea to many of the big name brands. Check out their Instagram account for pics of their plantations.

Sometimes it is as simple as making a phone call or sending an email to a producer and asking for a distributor list.
Thanks for the reminder, sometimes my "consumer" brain makes me forget how easy things can be.
cheers
 

Michael N

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Apr 27, 2018
29
35
22
My business is also within the tea space.

what I have learned is that most tea (both loose leaf and bagged) is imported and sold through a distributor unless you are a large corporatoin - at that point, it comes down to the first option: connections.

Do you know any business people within the tea industry? If not, have you went out and looked not on the internet? What have you really done to connect with industry people that are not distributors or farmers?

The tea industry isn’t not very modern when it comes to the business aspects - if you want to get somewhere sourcing teas you need to get out there and create relationships with business owners, distributors, and farmers.

Try hitting up your local loose leaf shops that are not large corporations. Talk with the owner, converse, and most importantly, do it over a cup of tea and pick their brains about their selection process. Be curious and humble. Remember that you both share the same love of tea (I hope) and nothing is better than a nice conversation over a cup of properly brewed tea.

For example, I met a particular local shop owner when I was in San Francisco - he spent the last 10 years traveling around Asia and visiting tea farms to build relationships with locals. We talked about how he found the farmers, his order quantities, how he created strong relationships and pulled out referrals within their own network.

Secondly, if you haven’t already, you should be going to the tea expo in June. It’s the largest tea expo in the US and manufacturers + vendors all display their products and samples in the showroom. That wis one of the best ways to get in touch and create new relationships as it is highly concentrated. You will have to weed through the garbage and gold, so having a refined tea palette is essential to figuring out what you want to sell.

The third option, and the best option, is traveling to Asia and locating farmers yourself. Visit the different tea shops. Go to the tea farm towns and walk about. Visit the farms and farmers - often times they are family owned businesses that have been owned for generations. In these instances, understanding culture comes first before understanding the business (a whole different topic).

@ZCP is trying to get you to think outside your box and your comfort zone. For an industry that is not technologically modern, you have to think creative.

If you haven’t already, read the republic of tea and pull some inspiration from their story. Much of it is still applicable to this day.
sweet, thanks for the feed back
 

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Michael N

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Apr 27, 2018
29
35
22
so if I would give you $1M at 10a tomorrow if you could connect me with a tea distributor that you do not currently know, what would you do next?
cheers,
I think you've got my mind in the right direction
Just needed a little bit more stimulation
 

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