I was first introduced to Tealet at CES2014. During our stay in Las Vegas for the event, I met founder and CEO Elyse Petersen, along with her brother Michael Petersen, who is Tealet’s marketing & new media director. Michael and I had a great chat about Tealet at a Las Vegas Bitcoin meetup, and Elyse was nice enough to give us some delicious samples.
There was nothing that did not intrigue me about Tealet from the start. A tea company that accepts bitcoin, that works on projects to further strengthen collaborative & community bonds? Yes, yes, yes! Tealet takes a unique approach to their products; they allow the consumer to connect with tea farmers by showcasing growers on their website. Each grower has a unique profile explaining where their tea hails from, with videos and links teas available to purchase their teas on Tealet.
Tealet was an organic result of “bring[ing] the right people and energy to the table”, Elyse says. After leaving her career working in food science, she spent time in the Peace Corps working with food growers directly. It was during this experience she learned “about the origin [of our food] and how our current globalized food system has separated the consumer far away from origin”. Her mission since that time has been focused on “inspiring positive change” in the food market, and more specifically, assisting growers with the task of reaching out to a global customer-base.
Elyse is particularly fond of Japanese teas, since her initial experience with tea was in Japan. Without hesitation, she says her favourite tea is Gyokuro tea from Yame in Fukuoka Prefecture, which is located on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu. She describes it as “so sweet and nice”, but unfortunately sells out so quickly. She says Tealet will have some great new “Spring Senchas” once they return from a tea-sourcing trip late this spring.
Embracing Bitcoin became a focus for Elyse when she was exploring new technologies, and began engaging with the open-source movement. It was a no-brainer for her that Bitcoin would be a global financial game changer. Despite her limited technical knowledge, she was able to tap into a network of people who could work on all elements of the business, as well as Tealet’s technology platform. It was her developer who convinced her to give Bitcoin a try.
“I had no idea that the community would respond so well to our use of bitcoin,” she says.
Many business owners who begin accepting Bitcoin are quick to realize the benefits. Lower transaction fees were a reason for the growth in Tealet’s sales, but it was the exposure “to a new network of people” who agree Bitcoin offers evolutionary benefits to the merchant and the consumer that truly resulted in business growth. Tealet’s total revenue comes in the form of 45% Bitcoin. What’s even more evolutionary, is that Elyse has hopes to pay her growers in Bitcoin, which will help them “save on payment processing fees”, which average 10%.
Her advice for other business owners who might want to accept Bitcoin? “Look at Bitcoin as a tool, not as an investment”.
Bitcoin offers multiple features, and it is important to study them as a business owner. You’ve got nothing to lose by accepting Bitcoin, but it’s important to plug into the Bitcoin-friendly networks to get the word out about your business, and stay abreast of the latest in Bitcoin news.
“Whether you like it or not, Bitcoin is the future of business.”
Try some and let us know what you think!