It is a milestone for our small company to be accepted as a vendor in the tea section at Whole Foods. In fact we are featured in their stores here in Tucson. They have given space for our own displays. Retail space is limited, so we feel very honored. The question becomes for us, how difficult will it be for us assure a unbroken supply, given that we have only a limited window for sourcing the tea each year. Wholefoods has been very supportive of the idea of increasing the market for handmade teas. It is a little bit of a chicken and egg problem because the market must be there for tea makers to risk making more traditional teas, it is a financial risk for them, and there must be tea available to grow the market.
People often ask us why we would locate our business in Tucson Arizona, instead of San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, or New York. The main reason, and most important reason is that this is where our houses are. In the case of Wholefoods it helped us to be here. We received a lot of support from the local store buyers. Seven Cups’ commitment to sourcing in China struck a chord at Whole Foods. Julie Hul, Whole Body Team Leader at Tucson’s Oracle Road store, explains “Whole Foods has established itself as a leader in supporting small scale farm production.” She adds, “our Whole Foods markets in Tucson are proud to partner with such a high integrity tea company. Seven Cups teas are not only delicious, but beautiful as well!” Of course we needed to be ok’d buy the regional buyers in L.A., but they were very supportive as well.
We have really come a long way in a short time, from local farmer’s markets to Whole Foods in eight years. We also have customers in over 50 countries through our website. We are always so focused on getting our daily work done that we rarely have a chance to look up and see how far we’ve come, or where we are going, for that matter. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle and we are doing everything to hard way. It is nice to get some commercial validation from a company that is so influential in the marketplace.
Please ask for us in your local Whole Foods and maybe someday we will make it into your neighborhood.