A little more than a month ago, me and Joakim Lustig released our own tea brand, Téamo. We had been working with it for 2-3 months beside our full-time jobs. It was a great feeling to finally release it to the public and the support from family and friends has been astonishing. The feeling is indescribable when someone is willing to pay you for a product that you have developed from start to finish completely by yourself. Now, we are mainly working in our free time with product development, marketing and sales of Téamo in order to get more people to discover our amazing teas.
Since our release, we have been asked many times about why we started our own tea brand. It is a great question. The short answer is that the main drivers are our passion and bottomless thirst for tea, the fact that there is no other good tea brand available and our strive to create something on our own. All of these were aligned when we created Téamo. Nevertheless, in order to truly understand how I ended up with my own tea brand, we need to start from the beginning.
Create something on my own
I have always had this inner strive to create something on my own. I believe that we cannot expect new, interesting opportunities to just fall into our lap - we need to create those opportunities ourselves. To create those opportunities, we need to step out of our comfort zone. Waaay out of it. We need to do something that we have never done before. On this note, I would actually say that I am something of an expert in stepping out of my comfort zone as I am constantly searching for new “firsts”. Nevertheless, one typical 'edge case' example of me doing this is the makeup account on Instagram that I created, called annaleijons. I am passionate about makeup, I need to express my creative side frequently and I love photography, so I thought “why not?”. When I think about it, it is a rather weird thing to do for a 26 year old engineer working in IT, but I wanted to do it, felt inspired and went with it. These are some of the results.
Although, I did it for a short while, then I got bored. I have not deleted it so check it out if you want at annaleijons. Either way, another example of me stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something completely new is actually this blog. I am very passionate about writing and programming. Hence, I thought that a blog would be the perfect opportunity for me to get my texts out there and learn more about web development. A third example is my own tea brand, Téamo. For more projects and business opportunities that I work with and that are completely out of my comfort zone, check out my doings and scroll down to "Other initiatives".
Passion for tea - explained
Moreover, another reason for starting Téamo is that I have always loved tea my entire life. I do not drink any coffee at all. I am a rather selective tea customer as I have always felt that it is equally important for all of my senses to experience my tea. I want it to look beautiful, colorful and to have an interesting texture. I also want it to smell marvelous and that the mere scent should bring back memories and create new associations. Finally, the taste. The tea must have a strong character. Plain, odorless, tasteless tea is the worst thing I can imagine. Yellow Label is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to tea in the history of teas. That tea is dead. No. The taste must be alive. It should almost taste as if the tea is playing with my taste buds. With Téamo, we have combined all of these features and we have also made it logistically convenient as it is ordered online and delivered straight to your mailbox. Thus, creating a whole new tea experience, which, I myself, have sought after.
I need to express my creative side
With Téamo, I also get to express my creative side, which otherwise is bubbling over. We have photographed, designed, written, conceptualized and created everything with Téamo. I need to rest my head and express my conceptual thoughts in colors, forms and words once in a while. It is a perfect complement to my work. This inner strive is actually the corner stone in many of my free-time projects. For instance, on a hobby level, I have black belt in Photoshop and lots of other programmes, which has really come in handy when creating Téamo.
It is not so much the business opportunity, even if it is not an unimportant factor, as it is the opportunity of creating something that I truly want myself, by myself, which has made us create Téamo. However, in regards to the business opportunity, I do not believe that Téamo has a real competitor in the Swedish market. However, on our journey thus far, we have been rather inspired by american tea brands and it has been very helpful. When it comes to product development, to dive into the so-called red ocean, breaking fresh ground, creating a super-innovative product from scratch and thus creating a new market is very difficult and, in my opinion, overrated. In that case, you must have great amounts of time, angel investors and/or a huge budget. We actually wanted to be able to release something to the market rather quickly. Hence, to explore the blue ocean (the existing markets) was an opportunity we thought was compelling. Since it often takes years to grow a brand, Téamo is the perfect side-gig for us. In the long-run, we have more business ideas, but Téamo is perfect for us right now. We have learnt extremely much along the way and the journey has just started.
Learning from work in order to learn for work
Another reason why we started Téamo is that it we had previous experiences that came in handy for such a project. For example, I am leading new business initiatives within tech for a living and Joakim is a developer. Since we love doing that, we started to do it together in our free-time as well. I have worked within consumer products, developed new products and released new webshop solutions in my line of work. Joakim and I complement each other in the sense that he is super technical, calm and thoughtful and I am creative, pushy and unafraid. He is truly an amazing partner and I could never have done it without him. With our backgrounds, I believe that we have a unique set of skills and personal traits, which makes it possible for us, on a limited to non-existing budget, to actually release something of value rather quickly.
Change the industry
Last but not least, we want to make an impact on the industry. We work with teas with natural ingredients. We do not use any unnecessary coloring of our zip bags or boxes, which is why they are classic cardboard brown. We try to minimize the use of plastic, which is why our first choice always is paper. We believe in a sustainable society and consumption and we believe that we can change the market in the long-term. Our goal is to create sustainable and delicious tea habits all over the world, starting with Sweden.
To summarize what I have said in this blog article, I have tried to explain why I started my own tea brand on a more motivational level. When it comes down to it, it really is the urge to do something on our own, our passion for this product, my need to express my creative side, the potential in the business opportunity, our line of works and the long-term possibility of changing the whole industry, which have lead us to create Téamo. Following this article, I will release a new article about how we actually did when we created our own business and tea brand. Many dream about starting their own business, but few take the leap and actually do it. On this topic, I want to share my experience thus far and help in any way I can, from starting an own company - aktiebolag, in Swedish - to formulating and executing an idea. In the meantime, stay tuned by signing up to my newsletter and check out and buy my tea brand here. I welcome any and all feedback so please reach out to me if you want!
Finally, good luck with your own ambitions, start-up dreams, projects and companies out there! It is not going to be easy, but it will be worth it! I promise! :)
Do not hesitate to reach out to me if you want at firstname.lastname@example.org