En-Tea-Preneur: How One Enterprise Advisor (Stephanie Synclair) Grew to become A Tea Tycoon
* For more than a decade Stephanie Synclair Run a successful consulting firm helping potential African American women entrepreneurs develop marketing strategies to help them realize their entrepreneurship dream.
With what she says is a neuroscientific approach that changes their clients’ “programming” about money, and has turned her House of Icons into a nearly $ 3 million company since its inception in 2009 .
“I’m obsessed with the brain, the subconscious programming and the way it works,” said Synclair. “If we break down the negative programming and embed new programs and see more people who look like us, we can really see what is possible. If you really want to make this change, you cannot keep taking up things that do not fit your goal. “
When the pandemic hit much of the world last year and brought about a “silence” that allowed her to rethink her personal goals, Synclair decided to leave the counseling world to become a “tea preneur”. Today she is the founder and CEO of The road 1680, a luxury loose tea company that has grown into a home lifestyle brand focused on connecting mind-body wellness.
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With the help of a Bridgerton-inspired collection of products, La Rue 1680 sales soared to nearly $ 3 million. (Courtesy Stephanie Synclair)
Based on the worldwide success of British dramas like “The Crown” and “Bridgerton”, Synclair challenges American coffee culture with a range of bespoke teas and accessories. It forecasts annual sales of $ 10 million through 2026. Today, La Rue 1680 is valued at $ 2.7 million.
“I’ve always been interested in creating a product that my son and children can sell to create real long-term wealth for future generations,” said Synclair. “Let’s face it, we don’t have great teas in the US. We don’t have a tea culture; We’re more of a coffee culture. So I thought this was a really good time to get in. “
The global tea market was estimated at $ 55 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach nearly $ 69 billion by 2027, according to research and markets based in Dublin, Ireland.
Tea sales in the United States have also increased, from $ 1.8 billion in 1990 to an estimated $ 13 billion in 2020, according to a report by the nonprofit Tea Association of the USA released last February.
“The specialty tea sector is one where the pandemic has actually boosted growth,” said Peter Goggi, association president. “Tea is seen as a trailblazer in reducing stress and helping consumers to be ‘centered’.”
The association cites new research that highlights the role of tea in strengthening the immune system.
Although the company is barely a year old, Synclair aims to become a player in retail beyond being a direct seller. This opportunity to expand your customer base poses a major challenge.
“It’s very important to have places where people can go in and smell the tea because we want people to fully experience La Rue 1680,” said Synclair. “But the challenge is that our price level makes us a luxury item that corresponds to the tea you get from England or France. We’re not in line with a $ 3.99 or $ 5 tea you would get from Target; Our average price is between $ 15-18, so we’d have to be in places like Neiman-Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, or Dean and De Luca.
“I go back and forth on the subject because I don’t want to take on investors.”
Stephanie Synclair credits her son Caden (background) for discovering her love for tea. (Courtesy Stephanie Synclair).
“I hated tea”
Synclair’s love affair with tea wasn’t conventional advertising. It was only on her trip to Asia in 2012 with her son Caden, now 14 years old, that she discovered her love for tea.
“I hated tea before we started traveling,” she said. “But, [Caden], always liked hot tea from a young age. “
One day when Caden was getting a massage in Bali, Caden begged his mother to try his cup of hot tea.
“In all transparency, I only tried to get him to leave me alone,” said Synclair, “but I thought, ‘What is that? This is not tea. ‘ The mix of ginger and turmeric plus black tea was pretty amazing. It was then that I realized that I had a one-dimensional idea of what tea was. But even then I never would have thought that I would sell tea one day. “
Today, La Rue 1680 operates a warehouse and office complex in Alpharetta, Georgia, north of Atlanta, and offers more than 23 teas, each infused with flavors such as peppermint, rose hip, and marigold.
Synclair said she “plays around in the kitchen all the time” creating the tea blends and is working with a Canadian company to perfect the end products. She said the latest supplements – a ginger and turmeric blend and the Ayurvedic wellness blend – reduce inflammation and stress.
Some of La Rue 1680’s flavors, like vanilla chai and pomegranate hibiscus, are ideal for use in cocktails, she said.
“La Rue 1680 is a European-inspired line and the name literally means ‘the street’,” said Synclair. “But one thing I always say is that La Rue 1680 is a way to get to any street, anywhere, in any country that you want to be. Coffee culture in America is very ‘to-go’. Our brands are about decelerating, stopping, being present in the moment. It’s almost meditative, even if it only lasts five or ten minutes. “
“I drink Stephanie’s tea every day because tea is amazing,” said Jocelyn Williams, a consultant at the Holistic Self-Care Institute in McDonough, Georgia. “But self-care is my lifestyle, so I also drink it every day for its medicinal benefits. The ginger-turmeric mixture is especially helpful for my fibromyalgia and arthritis. And the piña colada-flavored tea brings out the ocean girl in me and helps me imagine being on the islands even when I’m not there. “
Edited by Judith Isacoff and Matthew B. Hall
En-Tea-Preneur: How a Business Consultant Became a Tea Tycoon first appeared in Zenger News.