En-Tea-Preneur: How a Business Consultant (Stephanie Synclair) Became a Tea Mogul
* For more than a decade, Stephanie Synclair ran a successful consulting firm, helping potential African American women entrepreneurs develop marketing strategies to fulfill their dreams of becoming a business owner.
Using what she says is a neuroscientific approach that involves changing her clients’ “programming” regarding money, she transformed her Icon house in a nearly $ 3 million business since its launch in 2009.
“I have an obsession with the brain, subconscious programming and how it works,” Synclair said. “If we can break down negative programming, bring in new programming, and see more people who are like us, we can really see what’s possible. If you really want to make this change, you can’t keep accepting things that don’t fit or don’t fit where you are going.
As the pandemic gripped much of the world last year and caused a “stillness” that allowed him to re-evaluate his personal goals, Synclair decided to leave the consulting world to become an “entrepreneur. Some tea “. Today, she is the founder and CEO of Street 1680, a luxury loose tea business that has grown into a home lifestyle brand focused on connecting body-mind wellness.
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With a nod to the worldwide success of British dramas such as “The crown” and “Bridgerton”, Synclair challenges American coffee culture with a range of personalized teas and accessories. She projects $ 10 million in annual sales by 2026. Today, she says, La Rue 1680 is valued at $ 2.7 million.
“I have always been interested in creating a product that my son could sell, and his children could sell, and create real long-term wealth for future generations,” Synclair said. “Let’s face it, we don’t have amazing teas in the United States. We don’t have a tea culture; we are more of a coffee culture. So, I thought it would be a great time to step into this field.
The global tea market was valued at $ 55 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach just under $ 69 billion by 2027, according to Research and markets analysis company based in Dublin, Ireland.
Tea sales have also increased in the United States, from $ 1.8 billion in 1990 to around $ 13 billion in 2020, according to a report by the nonprofit Tea Association of the United States published last February.
“The specialty tea sector is one where the pandemic has actually spurred growth,” said Peter Goggi, president of the association. “Tea is seen as a tool to de-stress and help consumers become ‘centered’. “
The association cites recent to research highlighting the role of tea in strengthening the immune system.
Although the company is barely a year old, Synclair said it is looking to move beyond being a direct seller to become a player in the retail space. This opportunity to expand its clientele comes with a major challenge.
“Having places where people can come in and smell the tea is really important because we want people to fully experience the essence of La Rue 1680,” Synclair said. “But the challenge is that our price makes us a luxury item in line with the tea you would get from England or France. We’re not in line with a $ 3.99 or $ 5 tea you’d get from Target; our average price ranges from $ 15 to $ 18, so we should be in places like Neiman-Marcus, Bloomingdale’s or Dean and De Luca.
“I’m going back and forth on this because I don’t want to take it out on investors.”
“I hated tea”
Synclair’s love affair with tea was not a conventional court. It was only during her trip to Asia in 2012 with her son Caden, now 14, that she discovered a passion for tea.
“I hated tea before I started traveling,” she said. “Corn, [Caden], from an early age, has always loved hot tea.
One day while getting a massage in Bali, Caden begged his mother to try her hot cup of tea.
“Clearly, I only tasted it to leave me alone,” Synclair said, “but I was like,“ What is this? It’s not tea. The mixture of ginger and turmeric, as well as black tea, was pretty amazing. I then realized that I had a one-dimensional view of what tea was. But even then, I never thought I would sell tea.
Today, La Rue 1680 operates from a warehouse and office complex in Alpharetta, Georgia, north of Atlanta, and offers over 23 types of tea, each infused with flavors such as peppermint, rose hips and calendula.
Synclair said she “plays in the kitchen all the time” to create the tea blends and is partnering with a Canadian company to perfect the end products. She said the latest additions – a blend of ginger and turmeric and the Ayurveda wellness blend – provide relief from inflammation and stress.
Some of La Rue 1680’s flavors, such as vanilla chai and pomegranate hibiscus, are ideal for cocktails, she said.
“The Rue 1680 is a European inspired line, and the name literally means ‘the street’,” Synclair said. “But, one thing I always say is that La Rue 1680 is a way to transport you to any street, anywhere in any country you want to be. America is very “on the go.” With our brands, it’s about slowing down, stopping, being present in the moment. It’s almost meditative, even if it’s only for five or 10 minutes.
“I drink Stephanie’s tea every day because the tea is awesome,” said Jocelyn Williams, a consultant at the Holistic Self-Care Institute in McDonough, Ga. “But taking care of myself is my way of life, so I drink it every day for its medicinal benefits as well. The mixture of ginger and turmeric is especially helpful for my fibromyalgia and arthritis. And the piña colada flavored tea brings out the ocean girl in me, helping me visualize being on the islands even when I’m not.
Edited by Judith Isacoff and Matthew B. Hall
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