Interview with Beth Johnston of Teas Etc.
DS: Beth Johnson is with us from Teas, Etc. She is the president of this company. As we are sitting here in the Press Room we are just talking a little bit about, wow, how she got started as a one-woman show and she now has an office in Shanghai, China. Beth, tell us a little bit about yourself and your company.
BJ: I opened the company ten years ago. I started as a one-woman show, as I said to you earlier. We have really expanded. About three years into the business we started doing some smaller scale direct imports and I started to really work with people overseas. Five years into it my husband quit his full time online marketing position and came to join the company, which was really great. We have just really grown from there. I am a little bit Type A. I would rather think of that as very focused so I learned literally everything that I could about tea along the way and became very passionate. Traveling to Asia was what started the office over in Shanghai and I have had the privilege of hiring someone over there who is a twenty-seven year old young woman who is very independent thinking. She oversees all of our quality assurance over there and sources different products for us, makes sure that our shipments get out on time and that things run really smoothly over there.
DS: That’s great because, obviously, with China’s government that can be challenging for a lot of companies to get tea out, so having somebody on the inside that is wonderful. Tell us about some of the most exciting products that you have showcased here at the World Tea Expo. Beth’s booth has been swamped. It’s like you have to part the waters to get to you. Tell me what all of these people are looking at.
BJ: We have had a tremendous response to our travel mug. I actually first used the travel mug when I was over in China. Many people over there use it. It is really a simple device. It is a cylinder mug if you will with a screw on top but it has a screen inside. The way that you use it is that you put your tea leaves in, your pour your hot water on top and then you drink it. You just put the lid on and go.
We have had an overwhelming response to that product. We have also had a lot of interest in our new product that we showcased here at the World Tea Expo, The Tea Temp Thermometer. What that is, it’s similar to a beverage thermometer but the dial is completely color coded so that you get perfect tea water every time. We found one of the biggest challenges for retail customers was that they had difficulty determining whether or not their water was at the right temperature so that was our solution to that problem. I would say the other product that has done really, really well for us here is our Golden Dragon Aged Oolong which is a very unusual product that we are exclusively bringing in from Taiwan. It is fabulous so that has done really well for us here, too.
DS: People go to your website which is linked underneath this audio, and take a look. You sell both retail and wholesale to the public. You can go over there and if you wanted to buy any of these products that we have talked about and you are not at the Expo you can absolutely do that. If you are interested in carrying them wholesale you can contact Beth directly and ask her about that, right?
BJ: We actually have a very good wholesale interface right on the website so if you are a wholesale customer you can go right online, look for the wholesale up at the right. It’s a link. Click on that, fill out the application. We’ll process your application and usually within forty-eight hours approve your application and then you can completely shop online with our wholesale interface with using your password.
DS: Perfect because I am an online girl. I am always encouraging people to shop online. That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for being with us Beth. We wish you a fantastic last day of the show.
BJ: Thanks. It’s been a great show. We are having a lot of fun so come by and see us.