Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Nowicki, Founder of Cultivate Taste Tea, located in Green Bay, WI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Cultivate Taste, we do not use flavorings, candy, or sugar in our luxurious teas. Feel good knowing that a certified tea specialist from the Specialty Tea Institute has expertly sourced direct, blends, and sells international award-winning handcrafted and single origin loose leaf teas online, at farmer’s markets, our tea salon, and wholesale. We strive to source organic and fair-trade teas, whenever possible directly from farms across China, Japan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan, India, etc. When we blend, we use high-grade organic and fair-trade ingredients to enhance a tea, not to mask it, because we want you to enjoy and develop your palate while feeling good that you are drinking something healthy too. We also use eco-friendly and biodegradable packaging because we believe in not harming the planet.
Although anyone that loves quality high-end loose-leaf tea is welcome, our primary target market is men and women aged 25 to 40. Our customers can be considered foodies, travel, or want to travel upwardly mobile, college-educated, professional careers, and not price sensitive. They are focused on quality, not quantity. They tend to be healthy or health-minded and are active in sports and their lives.
Tell us about yourself
My early introduction to tea came at my Grandmother’s knee. I carry fond memories of drinking green tea with my Grandma following delicious homemade family meals. As a young adult, I discovered loose-leaf teas in Seattle in the mid-nineties, which developed my palate even more. In 2005 I enrolled in the Specialty Tea Institute in New York City and immersed myself in the world of tea. I found my passion and became acquainted with owners of tea estates, tasted teas not available in the United States, and learned from the experts. I am the only Certified Tea Specialist in Wisconsin since 2009, and I continue to pursue my education with the Institute.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I represented the USA tea industry at two world tea conferences in China because of my certification. It was truly an honor to be able to do this and to be respected and spoiled for my passion for tea.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I am still a one-woman show, so wearing all of the hats can be stressful sometimes, and it does not allow me to focus on some areas of my business that I should and would like to do more.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Set your goals and have a plan.
- Although you will have a plan be flexible for opportunities you did not plan and be flexible enough to pivot during unplanned things like COVID.
- Realize you will make mistakes and bad days. If you stay in the game, you will most likely rebound, hopefully, bigger and better.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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