Living Your Truth: Linda’s B-Corp Story featuring Linda Appel Lipsius, Teatulia Organic Teas
Gooder Podcast with Linda Appel Lipsius
Ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages is a category where consumers are continually demanding more from the brands they bring into their homes and lives — especially Gen Z. Features, benefits, and ingredients are table stakes, and as the natural products industry continues to become increasingly competitive, Brand has become more important. How a brand operates in relation to employees, environmental footprint, and business ethics that are paramount to this group.
Straight from the center of the naturals universe in Denver Colorado – join Linda Appel Lipsius (Co-Founder of Teatulia) and I as we cover everything people, planet, and profitability and how a B-Corp certification helps brands like Teatulia lean into their missions. Learn why Linda says “Gen Z will save the world.”
In this episode we learn:
- Linda’s journey and aha moment creating the Teatulia brand.
- What Gen Z and Millennials expect from brands and employers right now.
- That investment in company culture and employees can have a higher than expected ROI than other typical “benefit” investments.
- What a B-Corp is: It’s importance to and impact on business.
- How the tips and tools that B-Corp provides can help brands become better business leaders.
- About trends in beverage, functional ingredients, and innovation in powdered/crystalized beverages.
About Linda Appel Lipsius:
Linda Appel Lipsius is the Co-Founder of Teatulia Organic Teas. Since 2006, she’s been working with her partners in Bangladesh to bring premium, 100% Organic, direct-sourced teas & herbs to the United States. Teatulia produces innovative, delicious & award-winning hot teas, foodservice iced teas & canned RTD teas that are sold throughout the U.S in grocery, foodservice, and online. Lipsius has built a universally-respected brand known for doing things better. From the 3,000-acre regenerative tea garden itself to Teatulia’s stunningly sustainable packaging to the long list of awards Teatulia has received for quality and using business as a force for good. Named one of Food & Wine/ Fortune’s 20 Most Innovative Women in Food & Wine, one of Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business, and a frequent public speaker, she is a leading voice on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to sustainable business practices to the food & beverage industry in general.
In 2012, Linda also started the mama ‘hood,a resource for new & expecting moms & their families, and opened Teatulia Tea & Coffee Bar next door to Teatulia’s Denver Headquarters. Previously, Linda was VP International with Orange Glo International (OGI) – makers of OxiClean, Kaboom, Orange Glo and Orange Clean – and Account Manager for Young & Rubicam. A Denver Native, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Columbia University in New York City and her MBA in Finance from New York University before moving to Washington, DC, London, Los Angeles then back to Denver.
She currently lives in downtown Denver with her filmmaker husband and her two children. In her spare time, Linda hangs with her kiddos, escapes to the mountains, devours movies & books, runs, cycles and practices yoga to keep her head & heart clear.
Teatulia – Organic hot and ready-to-drink (RTD) teas and beverages. Teatulia’s single-garden direct, sustainably grown teas hail from our very own tea garden in the Tetulia region of Northern Bangladesh. We created a new tea-growing region, nestled between Assam and Darjeeling at the base of the Himalayas, which has introduced the unique flavor profile of Bangladesh teas to the rest of the world.B-Corp – Certification for businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.Athleta – Clothing that integrates performance and technical features for active women and girls. A division of the GAP.Jeni’s Ice Cream – An artisan ice cream company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Jeni’s has over 40 branded ‘scoop shops’, and retail distributors nationally.Built from the ground up with superlative ingredients.Wisdom Supply Co – Environmental office and school supplies. “We curate + design products that prevent waste, for good. Waste is a design flaw.”Patagonia – An American clothing company that markets and sells outdoor clothing. The company was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, and is based in Ventura, California.Kehe Distributors – With more than 5,500 employee-owners and a 16-distribution center network across North America, we’re one of the largest and most respected national fresh, natural & organic and specialty food distributors.Kroger – an American retail company founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the United States’ largest supermarket by revenue, and the second-largest general retailer, operating nearly 2,800 stores.Costco – An American multinational corporation that operates a chain of membership-only warehouse clubs. Everything you could want in but and a $1.50 hot dog!Rise Coffee – A New York-based nitro cold brew coffee company specializing in nitrogen-infused organic coffee and sourcing Fair Trade organic beans from Peru’s Chanchamayo Valley
Diana Fryc: Welcome to the Gooder podcast. I’m your host Diana Fryc. As partner and CMO of Retail Voodoo and award winning branding agency, I have met and worked with some of the most amazing women in the naturals industry, food, beverage, wellness, fitness. As such, I decided to create the Gooder podcast to interview these great people and subject matter experts and have them share their insights and expertise to help businesses all around the world become gooder. I’m super excited to introduce my guest today Linda Appel Lipsius, who is the co-founder of Teatulia Organic Teas. Since 2006 she has been working with her partners in Bangladesh to bring premium 100% organic direct source teas and herbs to the United States. Teatulia provides innovative, delicious and award winning hot teas and RTD teas. I hear we’re going to talk a little bit about today. Food Service iced teas out and we say it and canned RTD teas that are sold through the US in grocery, food service and online. Welcome, Linda. How are you today?
Linda Lipsius: I’m doing great. Thank you so much for having me.
Diana Fryc: You’re in Denver, right?
Linda Lipsius: I sure am, yeah.
Diana Fryc: And must be good weather today because you went on a hike?
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, it’s kind of always good weather in Denver. It’s very nice yes.
Diana Fryc: Rub it in.
Linda Lipsius: I know. It should be 90 degrees in October.
Diana Fryc: Oh, you’re kidding.
Linda Lipsius: It’s 90 today and tomorrow yeah.
Diana Fryc: Here in Seattle, we are typically when we enter this time of year, it gets a little damp but like in the sense of the word damp. And this last week, we’re having torrential rain, I would say like the South has it. It’s really uncommon and strange.
Linda Lipsius: Isn’t that how it should be?
Diana Fryc: No, in the last couple of years we’d have spurts of really heavy rain. It’s not common around here. Seattle is mostly like overcast and a little drizzly. Like we have 47 different words for rain but torrential rain is not common around here. So it’s okay. It’s making up and cleaning up all the smoke out of the air.
Linda Lipsius: Oh my Gosh, yes; absolutely!
Diana Fryc: Well, so first of all, I have to say I’m a huge tea fan, and mostly light, greens and whites and maybe a Roy Boys here and there. But typically, I’m a jasmine tea girl. So when you reached out to me about the Gooder podcast, I was really excited. And then the story of how you heard about it was just funny. You don’t have to tell the big story, but just the biking component and where you were, what you were doing. Maybe you could give us like a little high level on that because that was fun for me to hear.
Linda Lipsius: Oh, like when I was biking through?
Diana Fryc: Yes.
Linda Lipsius: So over the summer, when the kids camps were canceled, we decided to go and do all sorts of crazy adventures. So we biked across the state of Missouri and in preparation for that I was looking for great podcasts to keep me entertained, because part of what kept my family together was that we didn’t talk to each other while we were biking. We were all zones getting smarter. Yeah, and I found your podcast and so I was like hey, and then reached out and love all the stuff you’re doing and all the great people you’re talking to.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, the whole trip in and of itself and that you guys were like, “We’re going to be together, but we’re still going to be plugged into our own world,” was so fun to hear.
Linda Lipsius: Morning and evening. So though a friend just asked me yesterday, who’s from the area she’s like, “Why did you bike across Missouri in the middle of July?”
Diana Fryc: Because why not? I don’t know.
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, exactly.
Diana Fryc: Awesome. So let’s get back to Teatulia. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your brand, and maybe talk about what’s new right now?
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, Teatulia, we started the business in 2006. The foundation of the brands we make yet amazing, beautiful hundred percent organic teas. But the foundation of the brand comes from the fact or comes from our own 3000 acre regenerative Tea Garden in Bangladesh. So in the tea world, in the beverage world, we’re super unique.
And that we are vertically integrated. We have our own garden. So tea is a commodity essentially and goes through middlemen and brokers and very few when you ask someone where their tea comes from, people don’t really know. So we are really thrilled because we are both the farmer and the brand. So, that’s kind of the origin story of the whole brand. We produce teas and herbs and we process the tea into black, green, white and oolong. And then we also have ginger and boska and Tulsi, etcetera that we grow with the tea. In the States, the tea we do, we sell hot teas, we sell foodservice iced teas and then ready to drink can tea soda and ice tea in grocery food service online and then we also have an ingredient business.
Diana Fryc: And are you busy?
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, like why not?
Diana Fryc: Yeah I think you got a lot going on. So you’re kind of touching all sorts of beverage drinkers on the hot side and then also the ready to drink; with everybody kind of holed up at home for the last several months are you seeing either one of those lift more than the other unexpectedly?
Linda Lipsius: It’s just been pretty steady. Yeah, for sure; the food service piece of the business definitely has taken a while to open but both lines of business with the hot teas have been pretty solid, actually.
Diana Fryc: Well, so maybe let’s start with; because you and I’ve kind of bonded over this B Corp thing. Our firm just got our B Corp certification. It took four years to get there. I know, Oh, my Gosh, I feel like we ran a marathon and I’m just like, “Okay, I need a break.” But it’s just an ongoing process. But I want to kind of start with because I think B Corp came after the fact. So let’s talk a little bit about the genesis of Teatulia. Like, where does it come from? What was that aha moment for you where you decided this is something I want to do?
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, I got to give credit where credit’s due. So my business partners, it’s the family who started the tea gardens. So the garden came about; and these were friends of my husband of mine. The Bangladeshi family, they have other businesses in Bangladesh and around 2000. Before 2000, when the sons sort of came back home after spending some time in the States, they wanted to start a new business that was going to have the biggest impact on the land and the people biggest positive impact and they realized that they could do this with a tea garden. So they could both practice regenerative agriculture and literally regenerate and restore the land and the ecosystem, and provide jobs for thousands of women in the poorest part of one of the poorest countries in the world. So that’s the vision for the business. Where I come in as my background is in CPG and when they had a productive tea garden. So sort of I guess I started in 06’ so sort of 5, 6, 7 years down the road when they were producing and they wanted to bring the tea in the States. I got involved and offered to help them out. It’s my challenge really was to tell the story to find the market opportunity for the business and what the garden is about how its structured was absolutely in line with where the trends were. So tea was growing, organic was growing farm to table was growing. So this connection to source was suddenly interesting and much more interesting and surfaced in vogue. And so everything that we were doing was really fitting into where the market trends were. But we weren’t back fitting it. That was just how we were built. It was just lucky that it was sort of fitting in. B Corp came along; we became B Corp with third time certified. Same thing, just what we were doing the ethos of the company was just really aligned with it. So stainable regenerative AG, all of our packaging is minimal waste packaging, compostable and biodegradable. So we wanted to make sure that everything that we did on the consumer end was aligning with all the commitments that we’ve made at the garden.
Diana Fryc: Got you! So were you in Denver at the time when this all started, or were you somewhere else and you moved to Denver?
Linda Lipsius: So I was in LA actually for a couple years and then we moved back to Denver, I think two years into it.
Diana Fryc: Well, you’ve been with B Corp long enough now and it’s evolved since the very beginning. I guess I just wonder what part of the B. Corp?
Were you kind of B Corp like, and you found B Corp? Or was there something about B Corp, where you said, “Our brand really needs to not only support this, but we also want to kind of push our brand further into that direction.” Like, I guess what came first? I don’t know how to ask that differently.
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, all of it. So it ticked the boxes for us in a bunch of different ways. So for me, it’s sort of put structure to what we were doing, the beauty of certificates and certifications is that it’s an outward expression of what you’re doing in sort of a standardized way. So B Corp was great in that it sort of encompasses triple bottom line principles, looking at people planet, and sort of your business, and has a standard measurement and that was helpful, because yes, we’re organic, but we’re so much more. I like the pragmatic approach that the B Corp Certificate was a very appealing certification, it also wasn’t necessarily sort of screaming tree hugger, some of this one sided or whatever.
So, I like that it’s a community too, which was really great. So to be able to go to the champions retreat, or just see all of these B Corp on the shelf, and realize that we’re not the only ones doing this and so there is a movement afoot that’s really great. And then the third piece of it that’s been really helpful for us, is that you have to assess every two or three years, you’re probably closer to it than I am at this point. But you have to assess pretty frequently and it’s a lot of work. That sort of tool that they use is a wonder of nature. It’s pretty, pretty spectacular. We both not only use it to assess but we use it to learn. So as we go through the assessment, we find a way that we can get better and so we always come out of it with loads of action items, all the way from the HR side to how we work with our manufacturers that make us a better company every time post assessment. So just all around, it’s been a really valuable partnership for us.
Diana Fryc: Well, so when you say you learn things about yourself, or you learn how to do things better, is there any one particular thing that strikes you like I hadn’t even considered that and we learned about it through B Corp, now we’re doing it or we’re striving to do it. Is there an example of that?
Linda Lipsius: Yeah tons. The first time we did the reassessment, we didn’t have a company handbook; none of this is rocket science. We just had a note book, so we put the company in the Handbook, and we made sure that our maternity paternity policy was as gracious as it could be. We unlimited part time off, we implement that policy, and even today, people are like, and it’s a little different with work from home now. But people are like how do you trust your employees to do the work? Like, of course, you trust your employees to do the work, you have a working culture. And so this last time, we put in place a supplier scorecard. It was something that we had wanted to do, but it gave us the sort of structure and the way to go about it. So now we’re interacting with our suppliers in a more robust way, that’s guaranteeing that we’re all staying true to the mission and making them better because they’re thinking about things that they hadn’t done before. So that was a really the one big thing that we did this last time and I think we also did guaranteeing sort of days off or community service that I had in place this last assessment. So just a lot of neat things that you hopefully have already established a great place to work, but you can always be better or gooder.
Diana Fryc: Or Gooder! It’s so funny, because the way we’re talking about the B Corp is, it is hard work and I don’t want to steer anybody away from it, those people or those organizations that are considering it, and thinking, I just don’t have anything new to do. I think what ended up being for us, and the reason it was a long road for us is because there were just certain things that weren’t in place and it just took a while for those certain things to be put into place. But it wasn’t really hard. It was just like, finding the time to do it especially when you’re a smaller organization, right. Is that kind of your experience too?
Linda Lipsius: Yeah it’s a lot of documentation; it’s a lot of systematization, which is useful. So and in hindsight, you’re thrilled you did it, but it’s a pain when you’re trying to run a business and you’re trying to do everything else.
And B Corp isn’t in a way a nice to have. So I think that’s definitely the biggest thing is the resources to do it and the time that it takes to get to pull it together and it also kind of messes with your brain sometimes when you’re doing the assessment, you’re like, “I hadn’t even though about it.” It’s just so intense.
Diana Fryc: I know, there were a couple of things like, I’m not even sure how we count like, how do you do that? And it requires you to distinct differently, it really does and challenges you like, “Oh, I guess business doesn’t have to operate this way. There’s other ways to do it. Like that quite a bit.” Were there any things that you and your team struggled with, in regards to or were there any decisions where you’re like, “Oh, do I really need to do that,” or just was challenging because there was an expense associated with it that you weren’t sure was the right area to invest in? And your answer might be no, but I just thought I’d ask that.
Linda Lipsius: No, we were I guess lucky, we didn’t have to make any changes, even the first time we got certified. So any choices we made are just sort of natural evolutions. We didn’t have to make any big decisions or choices throughout the process.
Diana Fryc: Yeah. Tell me a little bit about we talked a little bit, I think, I remember in our dialogue, as we were preparing for this, we talked a little bit about Gen Z, and kind of creating this blue chain, and Gen Z and the younger Millennials specifically and their desire to see brands participate in initiatives like a B Corp, or at least have those B Corp tenants. You want to talk about that a little bit and what you’re seeing there?
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, Gen Z will save us, that is what we are thinking. Yeah I think there’s just a baked in awareness in that population of so many things that we’ve been sort of actively sort of aggressively promoting and teaching, they’re coming up with it. Sort of growing up with a lot of values and ethos and I think I had mentioned I had just been to a foodservice conference where these hardcore data geeks are looking at that population and restaurants and values and the environments number one, like number one, two and three, like it’s just so central to how they look at the world and then I think they’re placing in their responsibility, and which is a great thing. And I think for brands that are trying to do things better you have this population that is resonating with it in a much greater way.
Diana Fryc: So, I’m curious, one of the things that, as part of our B Corp process, we saw different ways of being a leader, or some of the ways decision making is made within organizations of a B Corp certification and I wonder from your past experience, because you come from a very conventional career, you have a conventional background before you came into the space, did you see a difference? Or were you bringing kind of what you had hoped or how you were leaning into this organization or did you see a shift? Did you need to make a shift yourself?
Linda Lipsius: Like moving over into this type of company?
Diana Fryc: Yeah, moving into something that’s a little bit more of B Corp; is very triple bottom line focus versus where you were before, which was very much charts and graphs dollars and cents?
Linda Lipsius: No, because I was really lucky. I worked in my family’s business that was in a conventional space, but the way that the business was run was right in line in terms of currency, high draft currency sort of pay equity, even the products as clean as they could be and interest in clean input really strong sort of respect. Well, it’s not necessarily up to us but respectful relationships with our buyers and our suppliers; the culture and even before that, I was in the agency world anyway, even though it was actually, it was okay, I think you can still be dollars and cents and still be respectful. And I think that I’ve had the good luck to work it. I don’t think I’d last very long in placement with a bad culture.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, some people try to be in those cultures because they want to be change agents and you can be a change agent in a big organization.
Or you can be a change agent and have external influence. So sounds like you’ve been in both.
Linda Lipsius: I also think you’re getting… it’s just a better investment. If you’re treating your employees well, you’re getting sort of 360 degrees of their capabilities and if you’re not, you know what, if people are in a defensive crouch most of the time, it’s not going to bear the fruit. So I think it is a standard business practice. Yeah, the other way doesn’t make any sense to me by fear or…
Diana Fryc: Ruling by fist.
Linda Lipsius: Yes, exactly. Must do?
Diana Fryc: Oh, yes. Well, so here you are, you’re kind of like this a natural innovator, and you’re a leader in naturals, which, since you started Teatulia, has become very competitive. There’s a lot of much bigger players in the market now than there used to be. How do you keep yourself and your team kind of on the stay the course, or keep your eye on the prize in regards to your B Corp, and then also profitability? Like are there certain things that you have in place in order to kind of keep everybody enrolled and excited about what they’re doing?
Linda Lipsius: I think they’re excited about what they’re doing, I think to work, and you kind of have to drink the Kool aid to work in a company like this. I think people are you got to be pretty bought into the mission, just to even come on board, because you can go work at a conventional company, and that’s fine to be in a challenger brand and to be working not maybe with all the resources you might have, you got to be willing to come on board, be excited about it. And then as far as just staying the course, its core to what we do. I also strongly believe that, especially on the hot tea side playing in a commodity category, if we didn’t hang on to this stuff; why? Why would you ever buy us, you know what I mean, like, just go in with, just buy the standard thing you’ve always drank, and there’s no way to distinguish it. So it’s both sticking to what brought us but also understanding that that’s what gives us a right to be here because it’s the story, and it’s the unique angle as the authenticity, especially in a commodity category, even on the RTD side. I think there’s also some commodity stuff in that category as well. But I think it’s just critical to what we do and I think if we start to lose the sort of foundational business practices. Why? Why bother? It’s cost savings for sure, you always want to look for that, but I do think that can still find those with it while staying in the lane.
Diana Fryc: For sure. So tell us a little bit about maybe what initiatives are the most important for you right now, like, we talked about biodegradable packaging, ingredient sourcing the tea garden in Bangladesh, is there any one place that because of COVID, you guys might be kind of putting your resources more towards supporting than maybe you were a year ago?
Linda Lipsius: A year ago, food service was a big thing. I mean, that’s a big shift to the company, the biggest impact of COVID. But I think really, our focus right now is we just launched a line of new RTDs. And that, of course, launched in March, great time to launch product.
Diana Fryc: Expo. Well, it didn’t happen. That’s what a lot of people didn’t.
Linda Lipsius: Yeah. So that’s where we’re still focused. And I think it’s maybe more than just a product launch, at least to me, the appeal and the sort of the market size of ice tea is bigger than hot teas and being an impact business. I sort of figure as many miles as we can get this product into, the better because people will be reading the can and they’ll understand that it’s organic, and they’ll understand about what’s in a bag. And so, going into that space with a product like that is something that, as a company, we’re just so excited about just because it’s going to end the idea of immediate consumption, when a can versus you still have to take your hot tea and put up, which is great and has a place but sort of everything about the RTD Space. And I know, it’s super challenging, and I know it’s super competitive. And they kind of all are, I get that, but it does open up a universe to us that we’re excited about.
Diana Fryc: Yeah. Well, let’s be honest, there’s no any one category that isn’t competitive. I was going to crackup whenever it is like, this is a really competitive category.
I’m like, everything’s competitive right now and the internet allows people to take a good idea and create it 47 different ways. And that’s really, why brand is so Paramount because you could sell features and ingredients and benefits till you’re blue in the face. But if you don’t stand for anything, those things become commoditized. And who wants to be competing over one cent? Let’s face it, we’re all in business to make money. Yes, we want to have a positive impact, but nobody wants to be sweating bullets all the time. So you want a nice margin. So equity and brand, this brand positioning, and having something that you stand for, like in your case, or in our case, B Corp is the thing that we’re going to stand on. But it doesn’t have to be B Corp, it could be any number of things that people can move forward with. So I get that.
So when we’re talking about B Corp certification, we’re talking about consumers now, one of the things that I was wondering to myself is B Corp is still seems to be predominantly more known, well, not 100%, but predominantly more well known in food and beverage, definitely like a b2b initiative. I wonder how are you addressing the B Corp education to consumers? Or what do you think we could be doing better so that people understand what that little bug is in a little corner? We are not we’re not all athletics, with a zillion dollar budgets. So how does smaller organizations like us help raise the awareness with consumers?
Linda Lipsius: By encouraging companies like Athleta to do a lot of camping as much as possible. The hardest piece of this is the consumer awareness, and probably the most frustrating because we’ve all invested a lot in it and believe strongly in it. But I think consumer awareness is still pretty low. And so, it’s all over our packaging, of course, got the baton back, as everyone does. And we talked about it on our website and post about it. I mean, I think the smaller brands just posting regularly about it. Something that I also think is really neat is posting about other B Corp because I think for the consumer to understand that this is actually a big community is pretty helpful to know that we’re part of a club that’s not just us, and then one day maybe there’ll be lots of opportunity to do it big, public awareness campaign with B Corps. So waiting for that.
Diana Fryc: Yes. I’m seeing it more and more in here in the Seattle area. I’m seeing restaurants having put B Corp in there, which is really, really great. But again, I mean, that’s really great for somebody like me, that awareness. I can’t remember, there’s some supply company, the name escapes me right now but their awareness campaign is just on fire right now. And I’ll have to send you a link of that. And in any case, are there any B Corps outside of yourself that you are like inspired by?
Linda Lipsius: Oh, gosh, so many, my favorite, Jenny’s ice cream. Just because it’s probably the one I frequent the most of anything. Oh, gosh, now I’m on the spot. I just all of them and I definitely tried to support the B Corp.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, I love the Jenny, love piece and Jenny’s. I’m also a Patagonia fan, but Patagonia gets my win for every reason that they exist.
Linda Lipsius: Yeah. I know. They do a good work.
Diana Fryc: So quick question. And one of the things that I talked about when you and I were talking about this show was, this bridge between conventional brands and nutrition and kind of better for you and naturals brand and kind of trying to create a bridge so that people who are quote unquote, stuck in this conventional space mostly because of price, kind of building that bridge because we want to start bringing those people like, it takes a lot to bring somebody from a standard CSD to say something natural, like a tea that’s an RTD that’s natural and organic, just like yours. Do you think it’s possible? Like we talked about Athleta, encouraging them, but do you think it’s possible for somebody like Kroger or a Costco to be a B Corp and be able to keep their pricing just because they have so much influence on a different demographic, on the larger demographics than maybe the ones that were traditionally talking to?
It’s kind of an out of field left question. This always kind of speculating, hypothesizing here. But do you think that’s a possibility? Or do you think that, I’m not sure.
Linda Lipsius: I don’t know. I do. I mean, I think it’s obviously got to be at the highest levels, that commitment. What I mean, he’s a B Corp. And that’s a big deal. And didn’t know the biggest B Corp. So, I mean, big companies are doing it if it is there, and I don’t know that it’s necessarily and especially a company’s operating at that kind of scale, I don’t know that it’s a price play, because they’ve got the purchasing power already. And that’s not going to go away. And the other thing that I don’t know that people understand about B Corp is there’s so many categories where you can get points. So, even if maybe your raw materials or your suppliers or you’re working on it, you can still over-perform on your HR and your compensation measures and things like that. So, there’s many, many levers to pull. And the eternal optimist, I totally, I think if the leadership is interested, they can make it happen. And it’d be tremendous to get, especially one of the leading retailers, or restaurant chains, or something very high profile and customer facing to become a B Corp.
Diana Fryc: Maybe that’s a campaign I can start in my spare time.
Linda Lipsius: Please, please do.
Diana Fryc: Oh, my goodness. So you’re a lot you are spending a lot of your time in teas and beverages. What kind of trends are you keeping your eye on in beverage or maybe outside of beverage? It could be in naturals, it could be in fitness and wellness. But are there any trends or brands that you’re like, “Oh, these guys are awesome. I love what they’re doing.”
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, the one that I’m really excited about in beverage, do you know that Rise coffee?
Diana Fryc: Yes.
Linda Lipsius: They’re just so cool. I was actually just talking to my team yesterday about that, like, their marketing is great. And they’re not frivolous. They’re solid and everyone I’ve met from that company is just so cool. I think they’re where you are, are they from Seattle or Portland?
Diana Fryc: I don’t think they’re in Seattle. I think they might be in Portland. I could be wrong.
Linda Lipsius: Anyway, but yeah, so those guys definitely struck me, all the kombucha companies, I certainly enjoy the kombucha and the ingredients. And the thing that I get excited about, and we actually supply a lot of tea for a lot of Kombucha companies, which is pretty neat. But I’d love people discover kombucha, I was just on this whole group like, they bought kombucha for everyone. And people are like, “Oh, my gosh, this is the neatest thing I’ve ever had.” And I granted some people can’t stand it, but I feel like it’s a real journey of discovery and experience that is kind of waking people up to the potential of beverage. So I think in that space, that’s where I at least I get pretty excited. And just the functional ingredients in RTD that are showing up, it’s really neat, it’s like you’re saying can you bring people over from conventional sodas. I feel like it’s a little bit of like a spa opportunity assemblies products, which is great and certainly cheaper than a spa. Really clean beverages.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, some of it is price point. If you’re able to buy two liters for a buck 50 it’s making that jump to a three or four dollar Single Serve RTD is a stretch particularly if people are buying it because there are cost conscious so there’s some barriers there. I’m hoping to start to see incremental decrease in costs on one side and a little bit more desire for adoption on the other side, especially with Gen Z because we know that Gen Z will go, “Okay, well instead of getting two coffees, I’ll get one blank.” And so just make a choice, more choice or decision. We’ll see that a lot with that particular audience which is fun and exciting.
Linda Lipsius: Oh and another interesting innovation, the coffee anti, instant products are showing up that are actually shock. And I don’t know what the status is of some of these companies…
Diana Fryc: You’re alienating a bunch of people. I’m joking.
Linda Lipsius: I was just backpacking for eight days like, thank goodness for instant coffee and thank goodness like good. So there’s some really like nice stuff using much more evolved technology than Folgers. So, that’s just always makes me giggle a little bit.
Diana Fryc: Well, so I got to ask what is it about Rise Coffee that has your attention?
Linda Lipsius: I like their small can size. Actually, that’s something that’s really interesting, too, is the brands that have decided to go with the smaller cans.
Diana Fryc: I think it’s brilliant.
Linda Lipsius: Rowdy Mermaid, I think they have smaller Rise does. There’s someone else was talking to looking at like smaller bar size. I’m like, please like, especially with the single serve stuff because like, I always want to drink and figs. So I think that I’m always just grateful. I like the old milk in it. That’s just a really nice thing. And just the tone of voice with the marketing is just nice. Like I say it’s classy, and cheeky, but not frivolous.
Diana Fryc: What I think is so crazy, those smaller single serves, I think are influenced by coke. Coke started taking their eight ounce and they started creating the six or four ounces in their CSD several years ago. And now I’m starting to see other people go, “Oh, you get a little bit more margin for that smaller size.” Manage your calorie intake for those people that are doing that sort of thing. So I liked seeing it translate into the natural world a little bit more. That’s great.
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, I agree, it’s kind of win, win because, even though maybe your unit cost is higher, you’re out of pockets a little lower, and you’re not feeling like you’re obligated to consume more than you want.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, let’s kind of do a little non sequitur, I would love to hear more about mama hood and what is it and how does it tie in with Teatulia?
Linda Lipsius: Well, so because I didn’t have enough to do when I started Teatulia 14 years ago, eight years ago, I started another business. And so it’s called the mama hood. And so I’m actually in our building here in Denver in Teatulia offices. And then next door is the mama hood. So, it’s a resource for new and expecting moms and their families. I got the idea for the mama had, I had my first baby, actually, exactly when I started Teatulia 14 years ago. So, had Dorothy out in Los Angeles. And there was a couple of businesses out there that even though my family wasn’t there, I was really kind of on my own with my husband. There was great breastfeeding support, there was great yoga there, like I had community and I had support. And so things went pretty well, because I was able to get what I need.
And then, I had my second kid when I moved back to Denver and didn’t find any of it. So I was like, “Okay, let’s build it.” And I had a really good luck to me, my incredible partners. And so, right now it’s a shop with some online components. Right now we’re actually looking to and bringing a lot more that online we’re doing in our community, but it’s really about helping families find joy in the parenting process. There’s so much pressure, there’s so much fear, and this is a time of your life that couldn’t be, should be much more extraordinary than I think it is for a lot of folks. So, it’s a super fun business, and we have really cute clothing.
Diana Fryc: So is it kind of like PEPS? Do you know what PEPS is?
Linda Lipsius: No.
Diana Fryc: Oh, maybe PEPS is just Washington State. PEPS is a nonprofit organization that kind of pulls expectant families together that all are liking families of maybe eight to 10 or 12. And they’ve kind of do it by zip code. It’s rent in the hospitals kind of promote it and go, “Hey, this is a parenting or moms group.” And so all of the parents have, in this zip code, basically have kids within, I think, six to eight weeks of each other, so everybody’s kind of going through similar milestones. Anyway, so it’s pretty prevalent here in the Seattle area, Washington State area, I could send you a link if it’s not in your area. There might be some learnings there. I don’t know.
Linda Lipsius: Yeah. I think we’re probably a little different. We’re just kind of a shop and people come to us and we do groups, consults, classes and then we have a shop with products and into.
And we have a studio and a cup of coffee yams here.
Diana Fryc: Nice. It’s perfect.
Linda Lipsius: So it’s all about community. It’s all about keeping your sanity and enjoying the ride.
Diana Fryc: Keeping sanity enjoying the ride? Absolutely. Speaking of how are you keeping yourself sane and centered these days? What are you doing personally?
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, it’s funny, I was actually I was talking to another business owner a couple days ago. And we’re both like, this period, it’s been weird. And it’s not getting any less weird. But like, the pause and the sort of distillation of what’s important, and the good stuff has actually been kind of extraordinary. I’ve always been a pretty, not fanatical, just committed runner, and always so in the mornings. I workout every morning, just really largely to make sure I don’t have to go in bed.
And during this, I picked up cycling, which has been amazing. And something I’ve always wanted to do. So, started to do that, over the summer, we did that wacky bike trip. That was magical and amazing. I actually just did a week long Knowles backpacking trip, something I’ve looked at doing for 20 years. And I was like, okay, now’s the time. Why not? So really, I think being a lot more present certainly with my family. We have a cabin, just being outside. We’ve explored from Colorado, we’ve done road trips all over the place. I’ve seen parts of my home state that I’ve never seen before, kind of being here doing maybe smaller, closer to home things. And then the time with the family’s been amazing. I mean, with my kids 24/7 for like five months. Incredible. So now they’re back at school.
Diana Fryc: Back in school and they are in school or are they physically in the classroom?
Linda Lipsius: In school, in person full time? It’s great.
Diana Fryc: I can imagine, we don’t have that here in Washington state right now. It’s hard. It’s tough.
Linda Lipsius: It is. It’s crazy and it’s different everywhere.
Diana Fryc: Well, thank you so much for sharing all of this. I have a couple of last questions. One of them is I always love it when a guest kind of shares kind of an interesting factoid something to share over social media or social drinker that type of thing. Something maybe about the tea industry or about maybe even about you, something that people listening can go, “Did you know that?” Do you have anything fun to share?
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, I’ve got just a fun tea fact that it always makes me laugh because people, this is like a super simple kind of tea one of one that no one seems to know. So, all tea comes from the same plant. So it all comes from the camellia sinensis plant. What makes the difference between green tea, black tea, white, Pu’er and Oolong is how it’s processed. So it’s all the same plant. So the green tea you enjoy is the same tea as the oolong but I love. Your green tea is steamed or pan fried. My oolong is dried and roasted and weathered. The white tea is just the bud of the tea plant, air dried. So it’s all the same plants. And your herbal teas are not tea because they don’t come from the camellia sinensis plant. The herbal teas are tea Sainz or herbal infusion so they’re not technically tea even though a brewer and infusion can be considered a tea. But yeah, so that’s just my basic one on one fun fact about tea. Did you know that?
Diana Fryc: No, I didn’t know that and here I am all snobby about my jasmine tea, and it turns out that it’s not any different than an earl grey.
Linda Lipsius: Ever so slightly.
Diana Fryc: Do I ever so slightly? Oh my goodness. Well, we’re at kind of at the end of the show, as I like to say. If people were wanting to connect with you, what’s your preferred method? Is it through LinkedIn or how would you like people to connect with you?
Linda Lipsius: Yeah, I mean, LinkedIn is fine, or Linda@teatulia.com.
Diana Fryc: Okay, that’s awesome.
Linda Lipsius: All good.
Diana Fryc: That’s a good one. Well, that’s the end of our time. Linda, thank you so much for reaching out to me. I really enjoyed our time. I’m hoping that we get to connect again, especially as you continue doing your hiking and I turn 50 next year, and I had always committed to never run a full marathon. I’ve done many half marathons, but that’s on my 50 year old checklist and have just started the process of doing that. So wish me luck.
Linda Lipsius: Did you see that movie? Was it Bridget runs a marathon?
Diana Fryc: No, but you are not the first person that has told me I should check that out. So that’s a movie?
Linda Lipsius: It’s a movie. I can’t remember what her name is. Bridget runs a marathon or something like that, nine months ago. It’s delightful. And I’ve run marathons and it’s a good one.
Diana Fryc: Yeah. Okay. And it’s on prime, right?
Linda Lipsius: I don’t know.
Diana Fryc: Or it’s on one of those?
Linda Lipsius: Yeah. It’s that movies in theaters.
Diana Fryc: Well, I’ll have to check that out. Thank you so much for your time today.
Linda Lipsius: Thank you.
Diana Fryc: And I’ll talk to you again soon.
Linda Lipsius: All right. Thanks.
Diana Fryc: All right. Bye.