Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Colin Hudon, Founder of Living Tea, located in Telluride, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Seeking to understand and honor the roots of tea in Eastern culture, Living Tea began traveling extensively throughout Asia in 2009. Over the past 13 years, Living Tea has established brand recognition for authenticity, integrity, education, and what many consider the finest tea in the West. We share the rituals of tea to support living a more mindful, meaningful, and healthy life.
Qualities that define a Living Tea and which distinguish them from other brands in the Western market are as follows:
- Seed propagation instead of grafted clippings.
- Trees have room to grow to full capacity.
- Biodiverse growing environments instead of clear-cut mountainsides.
- Chemical-free and organic.
- No irrigation, thus preserving soil and land health.
- Sustainable, supportive relationships between Living Tea, the farmers, and members of the supply line.
Our customers are interested in wellness, natural health, refined brand aesthetics, organic products, and brands that empower them to provide value to their communities via shared rituals.
Tell us about yourself
I am the Owner and founder and have developed Living Tea through my lifelong immersion in Tea and wellness. As a clinical herbalist, acupuncturist, and practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I discovered through the Tea ceremony a means of sharing the extraordinary depth of these Oriental Traditions in the West. My extensive training, which included seven years of full-time education in Chinese and Western Medicine, gives him unique insight into the ways Eastern and Western cultures can edify one another. The western world has learned of tea only as a beverage grown from small bushes on plantations rather than large, old-growth trees in wild forests containing potent medicinal properties. With a strong wish to learn more about the formal Tea ceremony and the traditions from which the Tea ceremony emerged, I traveled to Asia in 2010 in "search of Tea." After many months of travel, I discovered a living tradition and teachers throughout Asia who continue to evolve my education and ability to share tea in the West. Tea, in its most sublime expression, connected to its history and roots, offers a quiet revolution of social values.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Sticking with it. Not compromising my values for profit. Believing in the importance of my vision.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Too much to do and not enough time to do all of it. Thankfully, we are growing to the stage where we can build out our core team. As a business owner, I've had to play nearly every role in the company at some point. Holding that level of responsibility and keeping it all together, working well has been very challenging at times. The process of scaling a company is not for the faint of heart.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find trusted mentors and ask them good questions that are rooted in the actual realities of the business.
- Educate yourself. There are tons of great books and resources.
- Don't give up. Stay with it. Trust yourself. Know your vision and values.
That's more than 3. Oops.
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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