The annual World Tea Expo is less than 2 months away! The 2014 Expo will be held May 29-31 at the Long Beach Convention Center, showcasing all facets of the specialty tea business. It is also a great place to get your feet wet, your palette attuned, and find out what you need to know if you’re looking to start a tea business.

This is the first year we’ll be exhibiting Belight Tea! Not only that, but I’m giving a presentation as part of the Core Conference Sessions. My talk, entitled “Wellness Teas: Why Ignoring Herbs Could be Costing Your Business” is scheduled for Saturday, May 31, 11:00am – 12:00pm.

You can sign up for my talk and the other conference sessions here. Sign up before April 17th to save 20% on all talks!

Why should you come to my talk? What will you learn? Well, besides that it’s me… Keep reading to find out.


Beyond the official description, and 5 takeaways mentioned on the website, here’s some of what we’ll be looking at and talking about:

1. Define Wellness Teas

  • Is it Camellia sinensis tea? Is it herbal tisanes? Is it some combination?

2. Where is the Market? 

  • What does “tea” mean to the average consumer?Wellness Teas for the new consumer
  • What do customers expect when they walk into a tea shop?
  • What is available in the “tea” section of the supermarket?
  • What “teas” do you find at farmer’s markets?
  • What “wellness teas” exist? How do they position themselves? How can new entrants differentiate?
  • Why are consumers getting interested in “wellness teas”? What’s driving the renewed interest?
    • Caffeine, superfoods and functional foods, claimed health benefits of tea, interest in detox and slimming teas, rediscovering a self-care model, optimizing health rather than treating disease


3. How to Build a Knowledge Base

  • How can you bring broader expertise of herbs, spices, yerba mate, rooibos, and their functional effects into your business?
  • Should you try to learn everything about herbs yourself? Or should you try to hire someone?
  • Do you need herbal expertise in-house on a full-time basis? If so, where do you find it?
  • Is partnering with someone a better option? If so, where do you find them and how do you verify their credentials?
  • Should you custom blend and specifically recommend? Or can you make a few go-to blends for common queries and complaints?


4. Find out what Your Customers Want

  • Track requests from in-store visitors. Check your google analytics for what keywords bring people to your site.
  • Survey your customers online or in-person (quantitative and qualitative)
  • Give your customers what they don’t yet know that they want (i.e Steve Jobs and Apple)
  • See what the wider market is searching for using Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Trends, Google Alerts (FYI: Detox Tea is huge right now) Herbals for Tea


5. Give Your Customers what they Want

  • Evaluate your options:
    • Create your own
    • Partner, source, resell, or value-add
  • Know the limits of advising customers and making ‘disease claims.’  You are not a doctor or pharmacist! Don’t try to be one.

Food for thought: “The global market for Tea is very large and estimated at USD17.6 billion in 2013, in terms of production value. While the Black/Other Teas segment is growing modestly (3.4% annually), production of Green tea is growing rapidly (11% CAGR) and Herbal Teas are growing exponentially (>15% CAGR).” Source.

To sign up for my talk, register here. When you see the list of talks, scroll all the way to the bottom and choose Wellness Teas. Hurry! Before April 17th you save 20% on registration.

I look forward to seeing you there!