How Rakkasan Tea Company works
Why Rakkasan Tea Company?
Unlike most tea bought and sold in the U.S., ours doesn't come from the large factory plantations in China and India. Instead, we import from carefully selected estates in post-war countries as a way to promote peace and economic growth. We've cultivated relationships with growers in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Rwanda, and we plan to also offer selections from Uganda, Vietnam and Burma. Less than 10% of the tea Americans drink comes from these six countries--and most of that comes from Sri Lanka. The tea we'll be shipping is rare in the U.S.
Our growers must meet certain criteria. We only offer organic tea from estates which are committed to their communities and their workers.
For example, we just placed our first order with Amba Estate, a small farm in Sri Lanka's Uva Province. Amba is unique in Sri Lanka for two reasons: First, Amba provides organic, hand-rolled teas--something almost never seen today. Second, Amba runs an operation that shares 10 percent of its revenues with its workers (not profit, but *revenue*).
By doing business this way, we're providing you with the best loose-leaf tea you've never had--and we're helping communities recover from war, at home and abroad.
One more important reason
In case you haven't heard, Teavana stores are closing. All of them will be gone by early 2018. That'll leave a huge gap for American consumers. We aim to fill that gap, but without the high-pressure tactics.
Our loose-leaf tea is delivered to your door the way it was meant to be consumed: Pure and organic, with no added flavors. And we sell both individual packages and subscriptions.
Rakkasan is the Japanese word for parachutist. It's also the nickname of a unit in the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division. In Iraq and Afghanistan, co-founder Brandon Friedman led Rakkasans in combat, often taking time to drink tea provided by locals. The experience gave him an idea to create a business that would help the economies of war-torn areas, while investing in the careers of veterans at home. That idea was Rakkasan Tea Company.
Brandon has now completed the Specialty Tea Institute's Level I and Level II courses on his way to becoming a Certified Tea Specialist recognized by The Tea Association of the USA .
Service is in our DNA. We're committed to providing our customers, our employees and our growers with a superior experience. Every day.
Why we need help and how we'll use your money
In order to make this project a reality, we need to buy the following:
- Raw, loose-leaf tea from estates in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Rwanda, Uganda, Burma and Vietnam
- Packaging and processing materials
- Lease for a work space in Dallas, TX
- Wages for our first veteran employee
- Advertising so we can get the word out and let tea drinkers know about our work
To make Rakkasan Tea Company a reality, we've partnered with some great organizations to help get us off the ground. They include, VetImpact, Deloitte, Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and Bunker Labs.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge we face is our supply chain. Importing tea from countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Rwanda, Uganda, Burma and Vietnam will be complex. These countries are in varying phases of post-conflict recovery and their economies reflect that.
We're also looking to purchase from small estates. This, in itself, presents a challenge because small estates don't have the same logistical capabilities that giant facilities in China and India have.
Finally, our supply chain could be impacted by weather--be it drought or too much rain.
This is specifically why we've diversified our suppliers. With growers in Africa and East Asia, we'll be sure to have plenty of unique tea on hand. If there's a supply issue in one area, there most likely won't be in another area. But if something does go wrong, we'll always be up front with our customers about what the reason is and how long it will take to get fixed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (15 days)